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The Battle of Impulse Purchases: Sucky Pillow Edition

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I have a pillow thing. I wrote about my pillow thing long ago. I wanted a pillow for my dainty head that wasn’t too soft, or wasn’t too firm, and didn’t give me headaches or neck kinks. I had a coupon for a big box home store, and I drove out to the goddamn suburbs and I spent an hour hugging and fondling the pillow section.

After struggling for what felt like an eternity, I found a pillow that I liked. It was a feather pillow, the small, standard size that fits in pillow cases, and it was about $50. With the coupon, it was closer to $40. It was more than I had spent on my “pillow issue” in a long time. I don’t know if that is expensive or not. I know that good quality pillows can cost $100 or more. I was used to spending $20 or so on cheap pillows that invariably disappointed me.

I got the pillow home and I slept with it. I liked it. I liked that I could squeeze and mold feather pillows to fit all my wild sleeping contortions. This little pillow also didn’t seem to shed little feathers or poke me with feather spines. It did have the aroma of smelly socks in the beginning. But, meh, all feather pillows have that. I liked this pillow.

Except. Months went by, and all was good, except…this pillow was just slightly too small. It was pliable and had the perfect softness/firmness, but the standard size was just a little too small for my heavy noggin. I could be resting comfortably, but the pillow was so small, and the cold slab of mattress underneath so perilously and hauntingly close. The mattress was like a barren plain of concrete, waiting for my sweet, dainty head to fall off its feathery soft cloud.

Okay? I got issues. So that slight, tiny, little dissatisfaction initiated my latent pillow obsession. Again. Do I need this? No. Do I have disposable income? No. Do I have a job? No.

But I was in a discount store a couple weeks ago, and I was looking for cloth napkins so we can stop wasting paper towels with our meals. And the store had a goddamned pillow aisle. So I casually strolled through. They had giant king sized feather pillows! Enormous! Bigger than me! And they were only $10! You bet your ass I bought one!

I got it home and it had that feather pillow/stinky socks smell. Whatev. This pillow was so big, it didn’t fit in my little standard sized pillow cases. I have plenty of pillow cases, so I could use two, no biggie. I slept with the new king sized pillow. I expected all my naughty pillow fantasies to come true.

It sucked! It was too heavy! The feathers were poking out and stinking me in the neck. It was too firm and unwieldy and I couldn’t fluff it up and make it cozy for my dainty goddamned head. And it was too damned big. Goddammit.

However, I spent $10 on this fucking pillow and I was going to give it a fair trial. Maybe it was just a matter of getting used to it. Maybe the feathers were coming out because it was new and it just needed to get “settled.” And further, if the pillow sucked, I’m usually asleep while using it. So I decided to just toughen up and go to sleep and pretend I didn’t notice how much my new pillow sucked.

The sucky pillow never stopped sucking. If anything, it sucked harder. The feathers inside were stiff and crinkly. As I pulled the feathers out, I was accumulating a snowy pile of down on the floor next to my side of the bed. It continued to stink like feet, even though I have linen spray and I kept the window above our bed open to get a fresh breeze. Night after night I went to sleep, and my frustration lost its focus, but I always felt a little grumbly and disappointed to have to wrestle with this suck ass pillow.

This penance lasted for a couple weeks. A few days ago, I was putting away laundry and I saw my old feather pillow on a shelf. And like a bolt of lightning, I thought, “What the fuck am I doing?” I switched out the giant sucky pillow for the older, smaller pillow. It fit perfectly in the pillow case. That night I went to bed and it was like sleeping on a happy, floating cloud. It was smaller, but it fluffed up perfectly, it didn’t spit scratchy feathers at me, and it didn’t smell like Dave’s feet. Heaven.

I kept the sucky king sized pillow. We needed guest pillows anyway.


  1. “The mattress was like a barren plain of concrete, waiting for my sweet, dainty head to fall off its feathery soft cloud.”
    Love this! Thanks Heather!

  2. There are other ways to discourage guests. Your sucky king sized pillow may need a home at the local shelter.

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