Most helpful critical review
228 of 234 people found the following review helpful
Inconsistent Quality (and manufacturing changes - for the worse)
on June 10, 2011
Having now ordered three of these mats, I see why the reviews are vastly different: the mats are vastly different.
I ordered my first TriFold mat here on Amazon in January 2011. I was pleasantly surprised: the foam was semi-firm yet comfortable; the outer covering, although lacking a zipper, was a heavy canvas material, the stitching was nice, and the three segments both folded and unfolded together nicely (a nice, tight fit).
Six months later, I decided I'd like two or three more of these for my loft, my office, camping. Having been burnt on Amazon before by companies who, for whatever reason, change their materials and entire design but do not update their Amazon ads, I proceeded with caution and ordered only one additional mat.
This second mat arrived June 7, 2011. The first thing I thought when I touched the mat was "they sent the wrong item." I looked though, and this mat was marked as being the same product. Yet, this second mat had an outer covering that was a thin, stretchy cotton (vs the original thicker canvas material). The actual padding inside was stiff--as stiff as that foam they pack around LCD monitors. Yes, we're talking crazy stiff. However, this TriFold mat had a zipper: three zippers, in fact; one for each of the three pads. Okay, I had to admit zippers were nice, and perhaps the outer covering had to be "stretchy" so the foam pieces could be removed (in order to wash the covering). But this TriFold was significantly different from the one I ordered in January. Did zippers really cost so much that the manufacturer had to reduce a nice mat to something I wouldn't pay $20 for?
I called Amazon about a return. The fellow I talked to was very pleasant. He suggested the company might have several different TriFold mats, and perhaps the packer inadvertently slipped the wrong mat into the package. The Amazon rep suggested I allow them to send a replacement mat to try. I agreed.
The replacement mat arrived June 9, 2011. To my disappointment, it still had the horrible thin, stretchy outer covering. To my surprise, the foam material inside was vastly different from the material in the mat I received only two days earlier. The foam in the mat from June 7 was so firm I could barely compress it between my index and thumb (with the outer covering off); the foam in this mat from June 9 was so squishy I could totally collapse it between index and thumb. Not only did the foam feel different, it looked different, and it was a slightly different thickness. I also noticed that the tags on each mat were labeled "prototype" and contained a code for that prototype. Prototype? Really?
Then I realized what this company was doing: they were using scrap filler material. What genius! Yes, make an outer covering with zippers and then stuff that material with whatever foam scraps were left over from other manufacturers (or their own manufacturing processes). That should make for a winning product! Ummm . . . no.
This stroke of manufacturing genius reminded me of another company (or perhaps the same company?) who took waste foam--yes, actual waste with debris from the floor--and stuffed it into their bean bags. These bean bags came to fondly be known by those who bought them as "trash bags." And so, I'd spent over $80 on a "trash mat" to compliment my hideously expensive "trash bag."
In short, I'd suggest saying "no" to American Furniture Alliance and its furniture debris. Both mats from June are going back.
So why did I even bother giving this product two stars? Well, the first mat was at least a four star product. It was a mat I would recommend to a friend. The second two mats, however, deserved one star each. If I average the four, the one, and the one, I get a two. This product is a two star product.
I took some photos of the two mats from June, and I will post the images when I have time. Unfortunately, I did not have the first mat in my house to photograph side-by-side with these two inferior mats. I will, however, take photos of it individually and post it for reference.
What would I recommend? Are you feeling lucky? Are you really? Do you know what a pain it is to haul two TriFold mats to UPS for return? Okay, so you're not feeling lucky? Then drop by your Costco and buy an equally inferior mat for half the price. Or find a nice furniture store and buy a quality mat, even if you must drop a Benjamin or two on it.
If someone could assure me I'd receive the same mat I ordered in January, I'd honestly buy several more. Having just gone through two duds though (and the hassle of two returns), I think I'll cut my losses and drive to a local furniture store for my next mat.