Using the bedroom mattress as a springboard to the stars is a quintessential childhood pastime. So much so, that the classic nursery song Five Little Monkeys has over 68 million hits on YouTube).?As a career path for adults, however, mattress jumping “is not a game,” according to Reuben Reynoso, a professional “mattress filler” who has made a career out of jumping on high-end mattresses for McRoskey Mattress Company in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill.?
(Photo Credit: Steven Guzzardi/Flickr)
Smaller specialty mattress companies like McRoskey, whose handmade mattresses go for as much as $2,750 a pop, staff quick-footed employees like Reynoso to jump up and down on each mattress before it’s sold, a process McRoskey calls “walking out the mattress.”
Why? To compress the dozens of layers of cotton batting inside of each mattress and ensure that it’s free of lumps and other imperfections.
According to McRoskey, “This unusual but very necessary step happens after a mattress is filled with layers and layers of cotton, polyester or wool batting but before it is tufted.”
Not All Fun and Games
“It’s work,” Reynoso once told the San Francisco Chronicle, adding that he tests around three mattresses a day. “There is a right way and a wrong way to do it.” The “right” way is to strive not for height but rather surface area, and to nail the precise number of bounces for ideal compression (roughly 100 bounces per side).
Technique is also key. Reynoso follows a strategic “checkerboard pattern,” according to McRoskey, which entails walking/jumping “up and down the length of the mattress and back and forth across its width.” The entire process takes around five minutes per side, and Reynoso compares the experience to “walking in sand.”
(The Making of a McRoskey Mattress from McRoskey on Vimeo.)
How Much Do Mattress Jumpers Earn?
While specific salary data for a mattress jumper isn’t readily available, the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies mattress fillers under the general category of “assemblers and fabricators,” which describes those who “assemble both finished products and the parts that go into them.”
As of 2012, there were 1,755,200 assemblers and fabricators in the U.S., with a reported median pay of $28,580 per year or $13.74 per hour.
To give a more specific example, a Sleepy’s “Snooze Director,” whose job responsibilities include mattress testing, is paid $10 an hour.
Although the data that’s out there suggests that mattress jumping isn’t an especially profitable career choice, for jumpers like Reynoso, the job is rewarding independent of compensation.
“It just feels good to make one of these,” he explained. “Sleep is so important. Everybody in the world has to do it. I like being a part of that.”
(Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed | Video Credit: Flickbox Kids Songs and Rhymes | YouTube)
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