Saturday, March 22, 2008

Recommended Usage Level: Moderate (3-5 hours daily)

I bought a new chair today. For some of you that will come as a terrible but not unwelcome shock; the rest of you will have no idea what the big deal is. To the latter, let me explain what distinguishes you from the former: you have never at any point in your life found yourself clinging for dear life to the desk in my apartment while trying to figure out how to disentangle yourself in a dignified manner from a chair that was apparently strongly disinclined to be sat upon. To the former, let me offer you this comfort, such as it is: you weren't the only one it happened to.

For myself, I would just like to say that it wasn't entirely my fault. The three wheels broke entirely of their own accord (one completely off, two only partially), and I am so used to it by now that I completely forget to warn guests. The fact that the chair broke in June, 2005 is completely irrelevant. I tried twice in those two and a half years to replace the chair, and I blame OfficeMax, Office Depot and Target for my failure to find a suitable replacement.

Today, however, I drove past the new Office Depot by my apartment, saw that they had finally opened for business, and decided to give them one last chance. As I looked at each of the chairs I noticed that each of them had in their attached list of features a line for "Recommended Usage Level." The majority were marked "Moderate (3-5 hours daily)", and all of the chairs over $500 were marked "Intensive (6+ hours daily)". Thinking that surely the rating couldn't be based on price alone, but on some determination of ergonomic comfort, I became increasingly curious to see what sort of chair would rate below "Moderate." I understood when finally I found it, the lone example, a poor pathetic thing diplomatically rated "Casual (0-3 hours daily)". I did not actually sit in it (a usage level that apparently falls within the manufacturer's recommended range), but I will describe it for you: it was copper. Half copper vinyl, half glittery copper-colored nylon mesh, with copper-colored metal accents and supports. I tried not to stare.

Much like shopping for baby toys, it didn't take me long after that to narrow down the set of chairs to the two (both rated "Moderate") that had any hope at all of being purchased, and I knew I had a winner when I sat in the second and apparently sat for so long without realizing it that a salesperson came and offered his help. I am pleased to say that twice tonight I have sat in this chair without unconsciously searching with my foot to rotate the missing wheel to the front. I definitely should have thought of this sooner.



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