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When I was but a wee lad, I learned that no carefully selected perfume or anti-aging cream could deliver Mother's Day joy like a breakfast in bed. Sure, the toast was probably burned, and there were shells in her eggs, but the luxury of sleeping in while your kids quietly destroy the house is a rare treat indeed. This year, I've come up with a gift that I hope will replicate some of that restful luxury each and every day.
I've ordered a Tempur-Pedic (NYSE: TPX ) mattress set for her. Given the current economic trends, this isn't the ideal timing for a big-ticket purchase. The company has been experiencing sleep apnea, too. Bracing for the results from Tempur-Pedic and its rivals Sealy (NYSE: ZZ ) and Select Comfort (Nasdaq: SCSS ) has, in fact, become a nightmare for investors. With the economy in a slump, mattresses are about the last item on consumers' shopping lists.
But I turned a profit from the stock a few years back, so that pads a portion of the sticker shock. And perhaps my purchase is in part an atonement for singling out Tempur-Pedic last month, when I said it was a prime example of how big-ticket discretionary items provide a glimpse into how strapped the American consumer is. I stand by my assessment, but I can't help wishing the company well, because my Tempur-Pedic pillow works wonders on my neck every night.
As one of those American consumers, though, I must insert a cautionary note. If you're like me, the thought of interest-free installments for four years makes a pretty enticing sales pitch. Don't skim through the fine print, though. In my case, if I'm late twice on my payments, I get assessed a steep finance charge on the entire purchase price, not just the remaining balance. Tough times for lenders mean that consumers need to remain very alert to credit terms.
So get a Tempur-Pedic mattress set for Mom, but as for the shares, well, they're just not Mother's Day gift-worthy. The mattress maker produces a quality product, so I have faith that the company will one day rebound -- when the rest of the economy does. For now, though, I'll let the bed bugs bite investors and just wish my mom sweet dreams on her new mattress.
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