Buying a new chair…

Chairs. Yeah I know…not the most exciting subject, and the chances of finding a group of people talking excitedly about chairs probably rhymes with Nero. But, as most of you reading this will be sitting in a chair it is at least somewhat relevant.

I’ve had the same swivel chair for about 10 years now, and the arms are literally falling off, so I have to buy a new one, and soon. Time is ticking. If I sit in it for any length of time it gradually deflates and loses height, leaving me feeling like I’m sitting in one of those emergency Christmas chairs your mum brings out if theres a lot of people round to eat…

Not a good look for power meetings between myself and err, myself. The one I’ve got now has served me well. It was quite expensive when I bought it, compared to those standard ‘cheap’ swivel chairs. About 170 quid ( * ) I think. At the time you could get the cheap ones for more like 40 quid. But even back then, I had realised that buying the cheap ones was a false economy. One chair lasted 4 months, then the last one about 2 days before breaking. “You been had, mate”, I said to myself at the time.

So, this current chair has kind of worked out quite nicely: 170 quid over 10 years is not much at all, can’t be bothered to work it out right now, but it’s not much. Considering for my job I’m sitting in it for 8-12 hours every day. It’s a tough job aswell, I sure wouldn’t like to be under my fat arse for even a few minutes, let alone all day for 10 years.

So, I thought to myself, if that ‘mid range’ chair worked out so well, and I’m sitting in it all the time, why not go up to the more expensive ones, and reach the lofty heights of Chairvana, arse and wallet in perfect harmony?

Most of the real expensive ones come with 12 year guarantees aswell. Can’t argue with that. Unless you’re from the Monty Python department of arguments…

So, after narrowing down the list to these:

  • Herman Miller Aeron
  • Steelcase Think
  • Steelcase Gesture
  • Steelcase Leap

… I set about finding showrooms so I could test ’em out. First one to strike off the list was the Aeron. Back in the day, it was bought by every new silicon valley startup as soon as they got funding, and I was looking forward to trying it out. Dreams of me and the Aeron spending quality time together every day soon faded after I sat in one. God damn it was not good, cutting into my legs and back. This can’t be right I thought, but apparently it was. I was very disappointed, especially after travelling about 2 hours to the showroom. It was like sitting in a deck chair that you could recline and move around on wheels. With someone jamming nails into your back. Cheers then. “That will be a grand please”… err yeah I’ll get back to you on that.

Also tried their “Embody” chair, which looked the part but was just so-so, not even as good as my current chair and about 6 times more expensive.

So that just left the steelcase ones. I did sit in a steelcase leap about a year ago, and I vaguely remember it being pretty good…but it was about a grand, so I kind of balked at that. I heard on the grapevine recently (well ok, google) that you might be able to pick them up for 700 quid, which is still a ludicrous amount of money for a chair, but over 12 years its only…. 2 times 5, carry the 1, add the 10… yep 58 quid a year, or about a pound a week. Hmm, maybe…

Going to the showroom in the next few days (you know somethings expensive when it’s in a showroom) so will report back.

(to be continued…)

( * ) a slang UK term meaning a pound… oh come on, get with the program!

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