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After Warren Buffett 'Promoted' to Mattress Salesman, Nervous Nellie Sales 'Pretty Good'

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Nebraska Furniture Mart

Each year, the thousands of people crammed into Omaha's Qwest Center for the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting are shown a humorous video before Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger start their marathon question-and-answer session.

This year's edition featured a sequence in which Buffett has been "promoted" from Chairman to a mattress salesman on the floor of Berkshire subsidiary Nebraska Furniture Mart. (It's the board's response to Berkshire's falling stock price.)

He sells one customer a "Nervous Nellie," calling it a "best seller ever since the Dow fell below 10,000." Buffett demonstrates its defining feature: a hidden compartment for stashing valuables like cash, stocks, and old Playboy magazines.

It's a joke, of course, but not entirely.

Nebraska Furniture Mart really is selling a "Nervous Nellie" mattress, complete with the "Night Depository - a secret pocket to hide all your flat valuables - built right into the foundation of the mattress."

There's a Buffett quotation featured prominently on the Nellie's web page: "Wake up with exactly what you had the night before."

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Nebraska Furniture Mart

Online prices range from $700 for twin-size to $1100 for king-size.

NFM Executive Vice President Bob Batt tells the Kansas City Star that sales of the Nervous Nellie have been "pretty good," thanks in part to Buffett's role as pitchman on the website and in print ads. The retailer also posted the shareholders video clip on YouTube. (1,327 views as of this morning.)

"We wanted to create a buzz, and what better way than with someone instantly recognizable with instant credibility? If you want to sell a product, he's the guy."

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