Sofa beds remain a weighty matter

A news release about sofa beds normally wouldn't catch my eye. The exception to the rule, however, arrived not long ago from a furniture manufacturer.

It hailed something called a Slumber Air mattress system as a revolutionary breakthrough.

Noticing that word "air," I had one question buzzing in my head: Would this make sofa beds lighter? Many summers ago, I had a job delivering new furniture, and later as a driver's helper with a national moving-van company.

Weight and bulk define the work of the lifters and hoisters of home furnishings, and certainly a lighter sleeper sofa would be good news for the unsung members of the grunt brigade.

A narrower and less weighty Hide-A-Bed would have made my life much easier the day a co-worker and I had to squeeze a hefty vinyl-covered sofa bed down a shaftlike stairwell into a basement.

Unfortunately, a small tear to the beast's vinyl arm caused the customer to refuse to accept it, so we had to wrestle the sofa bed back up the stairs and hope that some other crew got the job of taking a second one back.

Against a backdrop of such recollections, the possibility of a lighter, airier sleep-sofa sounded wonderful. So, being curious, I called La-Z-Boy.

No, I was told, the sofas were not shedding any of their 200 or so pounds. Instead, they have a 5-inch inflatable mattress attached on top of the regular mattress.

I was disappointed, as I know movers and furniture deliverers will be. We can only hope that some inventor is working on the problem.

In the meantime, remember this rule of thumb: Tie down the bed frame before moving a sofa bed, or risk the consequences.

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