As r/mechanicalkeyboards is aware, there’s a lot of people out there (myself included) who get excited about ergonomic accessories - at the very least, because if they don’t, they experience pain. I find that chairs do not get nearly as much attention, despite being, in my opinion, an equally big part of the “comfortable workspace” pie.
With that, let me share with you my tales of woe.
So, a little while back, a friend of mine dug up a sweet promo code for a huge discount on Herman Miller chairs and distributed it far and wide.
Pretty happy with my existing chair, a well-used second-hand Mirra that's seen better days, I still jumped at the chance to get my hands on a cheap Embody. That thing is the got-dang CADILLAC of booty cradles. It wasn't going to even ship until January, though, so the soft embrace of a fine new chair would have to wait.
A few days later, the worst happened: the strain of my great ponderous backside finally proved too much for the mesh of my poor battered Mirra to handle, and I drove my rear straight through the chair's weave like John Henry smashing a rail spike.
Unfortunate. Even more unfortunate that this was the second time this exact thing had happened to me with a used Mirra - only my top-quality rump could expose a chair's design flaws so plainly.
Even worse: I had just ordered an expensive new chair, one that presumably wouldn't arrive until January. Gotta kill some time until then.
First, I tried duct tape. Which immediately failed the ol' stress test.
Then, I tried a deck chair at my computer. It was... extremely bad. These deck chairs are not a comfortable place to park for the greater part of a workday.
Finally, I tried Plan C: cramming a little pillow and some T-shirts under the mesh. Which has proven to be lumpy and uncomfortable, but... it's worked. More or less. Until I can find some way to repair or replace this chair.
The stresses of the VRChat+ launch were only made more stressful from sitting many, many hours a day on a mangled pile of lumpy laundry.
Replacement Part Shopping
Finding a replacement part seems like the thing to do here - ultimately, this is a pretty expensive chair, even if it was pretty beaten up when I bought it, used, even if I've worn holes in the padding.
I mean, out of a desire to do the ethically responsible thing and not create more garbage, I should repair this chair if it is at all possible, right? Even if I have a new chair coming, I should fix this chair and gift it to someone in my family who's transitioned to working from home and needs a high end buttock chalice.
Ho, boy, Herman Miller replacement parts are not cheap - the replacement seat-bucket for the Mirra goes for about $200 USD - and (and this is worse) I haven't been able to find a single supplier on the internet willing to ship to Canada. In order to actually repair these chairs I need a drop-shipper?
Well, okay, I found one group, with a couple of different websites, each of which looks like they were built in 1998 and haven’t been updated since… I ... I think I'm going to try it anyways?
At least this easily-25-year-old order form connects to Paypal, so I don't need to send my credit card number to what is very obviously a Windows 98 server…
Ha ha, of course that didn’t work.
Anyways, they’ve resolved that the cost of shipping this part to the Frozen North would be another $100USD, taking the full cost of this chair component to an eye-watering $391CAD, almost double what I paid for this used chair in the first place.
You know what, chair, I think I'm just going to think of myself as an added step between you and the dump.
Let’s Check on That Embody I Ordered
So, let's check on that Herman Miller chair order. Surely the Embody must be ... I don't know, slightly closer to shipping? How much longer do I have to sit on what amounts to being “mostly laundry”?
Ugh. I’d say that this lost them a customer for life, but let’s be honest - I was never going to pay full price for a Herman Miller chair anyways.
Time to buy a new chair.
That’s how I got this Mirra in the first place — and now is the best possible time for Office Liquidations, on account of how society is collapsing.
That being said, having gone through the Craigslist / Auction angle before, I know that navigating this particular game, while a road to tremendous bargians, is also a game of patience and human interaction, and I’m really not feeling up for either of those things at the moment.
Picking Out A New Chair Brand Entirely
Okay, what's next?
Okay, if you browse these, you'll quickly come across a Problem.
A lot of these chairs don't have Chair Dealerships in Canada, so the only way to get them is to either pay an exorbitant price through a reseller, or pay their original, "new" also-exorbitant pricing and then pay on top of that to get whatever chair they’re selling shipped to Canada.
The Steelcase Gesture costs almost $2000, that's moped money.
Instead of starting from the chair and working backwards, it seems I have to start with “places that will supply me with a chair” and then work forwards.
I guess there's... Amazon, Staples, or Ikea?
nope, nope, nope
end-to-end cheap knockoff chairs from no-name brands like HUE HUE VXRACER PLUS GAMING CHAIR FOR GAMING AND SEAT (Amazon Recommended).
Ikea. I've spent hours trying to pick out the "most comfortable office chair" at the Ikea and I can confirm that such a chair does not exist. The best I've found so far is the MARKUS:
Which, let's be honest, is _okay_. It does the trick. It's not a great chair. It's just a ... chair. My impression of the Markus, from an all-Markus-office, was that it was comfortable enough, but cheap and flimsy feeling. At least one of the Markus’s gave up the ghost in the first year of operation, and swapping around chairs to try not to get stuck with the increasing stock of “bad ones” became a thing.
I'm a little curious about the hilariously unpronounceable Jaervfjaellet, which looks like an update to the Markus line, but, uh, are you okay, Ikea? It sounds like you choked on a hot dog for a second there.
Awful lotta store-brand knockoff chairs in this pile. Am I to trust my tuchus to the store brand?!?
I'm not really one to go for the absolutely ridiculous GAMING CHAIR product category. Am I a F1 racer? Will I need to strap myself in to my office chair to reduce Gs? No, I probably will not need these things. I like breathable meshes and adjustable lumbars - not some silly little back pillow that gets lost in the first week and clammy, sticky, flaky polyurethane-leather.
... but, I'm not having a lot of luck in my search for a high-quality office chair.
Let's pretend that we are down with the E-Sport scene and browse the GAMING CHAIR SPACE.
And, oddly, it seems like the Gaming Chair Space is way more accessible to Canadians than the Office Chair Space. Is it because it’s more of a consumer good? I’m reminded of the time that my favorite ergo-keyboard company decided that there was more money to be made chasing gamers than people-with-fucked-up-wrists. Getting a Kinesis Advantage in Canada involves calling a single retailer in Saskatchewan on the phone and reading out your credit card number to them - high-end ergo stuff is just not as popular as gaming stuff.
Heck, there are even local chairspersons in the game, selling… what appear to be a Ctrl-C Ctrl-V of the DXRacer line.
Reviews of this beast call out that it’s basically a middle-of-the-road ergonomic chair with a little bit of minimal gamer frosting on top, which is exactly what I would’ve hoped for. It’s got an adjustable lumbar, adjustable arms, and it’s covered in fabric, not PU-leather. And, best of all, most importantly, it will arrive sometime before January.
Goodbye, uncomfortable lumpy laundry chair! Merry Christmas, my own butt!