Four days ago, mattress maker Select Comfort
In one of my pre-Motley Fool careers, I was a news assignment editor for a local TV station (that was right after I'd been the sports director/weekday anchor, and right before I ran a print shop at a horse racing track). So I know a little bit about what makes for a newsworthy story.
I watched the mattress story from the link provided on our Hidden Gems Select Comfort discussion board. When the KSTP-TV reporter was about to peel back the adjustable air-chamber mattress top in order to reveal the mold, it was a dramatic moment. I was expecting to see something out of a Stephen King horror novel... some kind of hairy, grotesque monstrosity that would send the reporter running out of the house, screaming. Something so terrible you wouldn't know whether to shoot it or mow it.
Now, I must admit I watched this video on a computer monitor, and the resolution wasn't great. But I couldn't see anything -- maybe just some discoloration, but that was it. Unless I couldn't see because of the poor quality, this was one of the most laughable things I've ever witnessed on a big-market TV station. If a reporter had brought this video back and showed it to me when I was an assignment editor, I would have killed the story before she wasted her time putting it together.
Select Comfort's management pointed out the next day that mold is not a significant problem and affects only the tiniest fraction of its customer base. Indeed, its mattresses are likely to be a benefit in a mold-friendly home, because the tops can be unzipped, peeled back, and cleaned.
It's telling that this story was not picked up by any other news outlet (except for a couple of Minneapolis-St. Paul publications, where Select Comfort is based). Unless there's something else going on here -- beyond the small amount of discoloration shown in the TV report -- this is essentially a non-story. Is it news if someone finds a small amount of mold in a Dell
If indeed Select Comfort's products are no more affected by mold than traditional mattresses -- if they're actually better in helping fight mold -- then this is just an undeserved, short-term blip in the company's stock price.
Despite Select Comfort's mold-induced pounding, Tom Gardner is still handily beating the market with his Hidden Gems selections. Find out more about a no-risk, no obligation free trial.
Rex Moore sends a big hello to his friends at KLFY-TV in Lafayette, La. He owns no companies mentioned in this story.