Tear the Tags Off the Mattress Day
annually on May 9th
As the joke goes, when you tear a tag off a mattress (or a pillow), you're guilty of a crime—and today's devious holiday encourages everyone to tear them off. In reality, if you purchase a mattress—if you own a mattress, if it's the mattress you sleep on at night—it's perfectly legal to tear the tags off it. There is a law against tearing tags off mattresses, however, but it is only in effect until a mattress is purchased and delivered, and thus applies only to the likes of manufacturers and retailers, not consumers.
The requirement for the tag to remain is not there so that consumers will get locked up, but to protect them. It assures them that their mattress is new and that they know what its contents are. It is for their safety, so they know if the mattress contains flammable contents or contents they may be allergic to.
The mattress tag came about in the early twentieth century, with the rise of consumer protection regulations. What was being stuffed into mattresses back then? Horsehair, newspapers, corn husks, and even old rags and food waste were used on the regular. Those who used these unsavory fillings didn't want consumers to know what they were buying, and started tearing off the tags: manufacturers tore them off before shipping to retailers, and retailers tore them off before selling to consumers. The government then added a do-not-remove requirement to the tags, but it initially didn't specify that the consumer was exempt, so it turned into a joke. Today tags are more explicit in saying that consumers can remove them—but the joke—and thus Tear the Tags Off the Mattress Day, remain.
How to Observe Tear the Tags Off the Mattress Day
Tear the tags off your mattresses—there's nothing illicit about it! While you're at it, read the tag and see what's inside the mattress. If you are feeling extra devious, tear the tags off mattresses in stores. We don't condone this, though, because it's not legal.