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A Whole New Seat

Posted on Friday, March 4th, 2022

Dave!Now that I'm working at home so much (quieter and with a better computer), I need something more than my IKEA dining room chair with a thin pad on it. I can only sit for an hour because my butt and back are aching so bad that I can't concentrate. Because it's so important to get something quality, I set a budget for a whopping $250 and started looking.

And saw an absurd number of options... each being declared either "the best chair ever" or "the worst chair ever." So I asked friends on Facebook (many of whom work from home) and got some incredible options (including gaming chairs, which I had never even considered, but making perfect sense given how people sit for hours on end playing video games).

Ultimately I needed something thusly:

  • Not too big... it needs to easily wheel between my office (where my studio is) to my hall desk (where my computer is). A massive chair with a huge bag will be tough to wheel back-and-forth through the doorway.
  • Can't have fixed arm rests... I need to be able to drop the arm rests down so the chair can fit under my desk and drafting table when not in use. Also, there are times I need them out of the way when I am painting or inking.
  • Can't be too squishy... As much as I love the idea of a nice, squishy seat for my boney ass, that's actually worse for me in the long run because it puts stress on my back. I want comfy, but without being too hard or too soft.
  • Must be at least partially ergonimic... These flat seats and straight backs aren't overly uncomfortable to me, but they're nothing I am dying to spend a lot of time in either. I'd like it to be form-fitting enough that I am comfortable and supported, but not so form-fitting that it restricts movement while I'm drawing.
  • Has to be adjustable... I'm tall. I have long legs. If the seat can't be moved back-and-forth so I can get into the butt-groove, I might as well stick to the hard chair I'm in now. And, while I know most people just love some lumbar support, I always feel that I'm being pushed out of the chair, and would prefer to be able to get rid of it or have it be able to move in and out.
  • Has to be quality... I cannot afford to buy a new chair every year because I spent a chunk of money for something that falls apart.

Little did I know that $250 to get all of the above is an absurd fantasy that will never happen. Sure I can get some impressive chairs, but they are either cheap or missing something that's critical to me. At one point I thought it might be less expensive to buy separate chairs for my desk and drafting table, but decided I'd rather put all my money into something that works for both so I can get better quality.

And so I thought that I could probably justify a $500 chair if it was worth it and did everything I need. I'll be sitting in it a lot, so it's probably worth spending the money.

A friend highly recommended Steelcase, and they had a nimble chair that looked like it might be perfect for my needs: The Steelcase Series 1 for $486.

Great, right?

Nope. After a consultation, I found out the best Steelcase for me was the Amia (I ruled out the Amia Air with the mesh back because I figured my cats would have an absolute field day with it)... FOR SEVEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTY DOLLARS... EIGHT HUNDRED AND SEVENTY DOLLARS IF I WANTED ADJUSTABLE ARMS AND HARDWOOD FLOOR CASTERS!

Way out of my budget.

But... I could make it work if I supplemented my pending tax refund with some of my savings. And it seemed a wise move for something that will make it easier sitting for work for hours and hours.

So I went to order. But couldn't. Because Steelcase's website "has a problem with Safari web browsers" according to the customer service agent I spoke with. Well, fuck you. Safari is a web-compliant browser, and having a website that doesn't work for the most popular Mac web browser is a slap in the face.

So I started looking at office supply stores. But eventually found the chair I needed on the Steelcase Amazon storefront... for $716.00. Which is cheaper than even the baseline model when purchased directly from Steelcase, which makes no sense because Amazon takes a big cut of the money they make. The only downside is that it had a grey frame instead of the black frame I wanted... but for $154 savings, I can deal with it. Plus I had $90.31 in Amazon Card reward points, which made the Steelcase Amia Chair with Platinum Base & Hard Floor Casters, in Graphite even cheaper...

I congratulated myself on my bargain find (despite being way past what I wanted to spend) and waited for the chair to show up.

Which it did.

And it was very nice.

Except it had carpet casters (rock-hard) instead of hard floor casters (soft). So I called Steelcase. They had me call Amazon. Amazon said that if there's a problem to be resolved I needed to talk to Steelcase because it's their storefront, and all they could do was accept a return or exchange. I called back to Steelcase and was getting the same run-around when eventually I got ahold of a guy who gave me an email address to try. Long-story-less-long... she asked for photos and determined that this was an error on their part. Then she set up a case with customer service to have the proper casters sent to me so I don't have to return the whole chair.

And so now I'm waiting for my new wheels so I'm not scraping up the hardwood.

Overall I'm happy with the chair. Once I got it configured it's quite comfortable, and the size is only slightly larger than I was imagining (would be nice if it were an inch or two narrower). Would also be nice if the seat could be moved forward another inch for people with long legs, but there's still plenty of support, and my butt is situated into the actual groove of the seat instead of on the hump (which happens in so many "ergonomic" chairs I've used over the years).

The only thing I don't like about The Amia model I got is the "4-Way Adjustable Arm Rests," which are shit. They do go up and down so I can move them out of the way and slide the chair under my desk. No problem there. The issue is that you can only lock the height in place. The left/right and in/out and swivel cannot be locked in place. Which means every time you use the arm rests to get in or out of the chair, they are sliding all over. WTF? Hugely annoying. I thought adjustability would be a good thing, but it's actually terrible. I wish that I had just gotten the fixed arm rests that go up and down only. Would have been less hassle than having to adjust them back to where they were every damn time I sit down. What I might see if I can do is get them to where I want them, then glue-and-screw them so they won't fucking slop around the arms any more. I am still stunned that you can't lock adjustments into place.

In all seriousness... who in the hell dreams up stupid shit like this? FOR A SEVEN-HUNDRED DOLLAR CHAIR?!

And apparently the movement only gets worse over time. There are literally videos on YouTube how to tighten everything back up!

The good news is that there's plenty of places I can permanently lock-down the movement where it won't be seen! I can't believe that people actually pay SEVENTY-TWO DOLLARS EXTRA for these shitty fucking arm rests.

Because it's always something with me, isn't it?

Oh well. At least now I can work for ten hours straight without having to worry about my ass falling asleep.

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