How A Black Friday Office Chair Deal Turns Into A Bad Dream: The Illusion Of Apparent Quality

Picture this, it’s Thursday night the Thanksgiving meal was great but you’ve eaten far too much and you're dozing in front of the TV. You start drifting off to sleep and before you know it you're dreaming about all those Black Friday bargains.

You're wandering around this giant big box retailer taking in all these irresistible offers and as you turn the corner into the next aisle, there it is! A beautiful gleaming office chair, in black leather too and the chrome base glistens invitingly at you.

“Man this looks great.” you say, so you take a seat in it, “Wow this is really comfortable.” you tell yourself as you slowly sink into its welcoming arms and gently recline back.

You pull a few of the levers just to see what they do and you start thinking about your own computer chair and all the pain and discomfort it’s been giving you lately. This is just so much better you reason and the price is a steal at only $99.99, so you buy it.

Then this dream of an office chair takes a turn for the worse, in fact it ends up being a complete nightmare. It’s 2 months on and you still haven’t found a really comfortable setting as you continue to experiment with all those levers.

You're thinking it would help if there was an instruction sheet telling you what they all do. And as you pull the rear lever on the right it throws you right back in the chair again and you lose all your settings, damn!

And now you start thinking and you realize this new chair is no more comfortable than the old one. It seemed really comfortable when you first tried it on Black Friday and yet it’s all gone lumpy and hard now. Even the leather has lost its luster and is becoming dull and brittle and you begin to regret ever setting eyes on it.

Suddenly you wake up as some old movie is blaring out and you realize you fell asleep and better get to bed. And you're real glad the new office chair was just a bad dream and you vow to resist any shiny new seats when you're out shopping tomorrow.

Unfortunately many will make the mistakes our Thanksgiving dreamer did, only for real. Here's why these deals are too good to be true.

Any chair around the $100 mark will always be based on apparent quality and not true quality. What is apparent quality? It’s making all the exterior parts look top dollar, so you get the leather upholstery, the glossy chromed base and an array of adjustment levers.

And so, it’s the bits you don’t see that where all the corners get cut. The cheap crappy mechanism based on 25 year old technology and made from low grade steel. The padding usually made from packing grade foam or even bulked up with clay to make it seem dense, little wonder it soon goes as flat as pancake.

The only thing on the seller’s mind is price and how they can keep the cost of the product down, kind of scary when you figure out after the retailer’s cut less than half the chair’s cost went into the parts. And that’s not allowing for any labor costs – as the old saying goes “if it seems too good to be true then it probably is.”

So, how can you avoid buying another of these bad dream seating disasters?

It’s crucial to make sure any office seat includes 5 vital functions, to enable you to get it properly adjusted for your needs and support, you can read all about them here.

Don’t be fooled into thinking because the label says it’s an ergonomic office chair it must be fit for purpose. The term ergonomic when related to office chairs has no exact definition, it merely becomes the hype used to sell you an inferior product when placed in the hands of less scrupulous marketing men.

Always check the warranty, anything less than 2 years almost certainly means it’s a poor quality chair. After all, if you make a product the warranty represents the confidence you have in the product and you are hardly likely to offer a multi-year guarantee if you know that certain parts will only last 12 months.

Let the guarantee period act as an indicator of the likely life span of the chair, Humanscale offers 15 year warranty on its seating, there's confidence for you.

Realize you cannot be sure a chair will be comfortable by sitting in it for a few minutes in a warehouse or showroom and pulling a couple of levers. To truly know if it is right for you will take days as you fine tune and alter settings to suit you, it’s a personal thing.

Insist on a decent return period whether you buy from a retailer or through an online store, typically look for 30 days because if it isn't working for you after a month you will need to return it.

Lastly, if the thought of spending more than $100 on a new chair is hard to accept think about how long you spend in one each day. Chances are it’s not far off the time you spend in your bed and I bet you spent more than a $100 on that.

And so, look on it as an investment in your health, comfort and productivity and avoid those bad dream chairs. Here's a quick summary of some quality office chairs which will serve you for many years to come.


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One Response to “How A Black Friday Office Chair Deal Turns Into A Bad Dream: The Illusion Of Apparent Quality”

  1. Very informative. This is really helpful since I’ve just started at the office and I need a really good chair.

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