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Aeron Chairs As Stupidity Barometers 340

McSpew writes: "This article at Salon describes how much startup venture money went to buying $700 Aeron chairs. Personally, I think Aerons suck. I'm sitting in one now and my back is killing me--I can never get this damn chair adjusted right, or to get it to stay in a configuration close to comfortable for very long. The wonderful high-tech mesh fabric acts like sandpaper and wears holes in my pants. I honestly miss the boring chair I had at my last job. Am I the only person who hates Aerons?" Aerons are stylish, but not everyone finds them the comfortable work chairs they're supposed to be. Here's one that looks truly comfortable.
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Aeron Chairs As Stupidity Barometers

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  • You'll be begging for your Aeron back in 20 minutes. It's a good chair but if some people need to attach blame to inanimate objects for their losses in the stock market then sure, blame the chairs. I've worked for years in the industry and the chairs in offices are usually uncomfortable. It may surprise you to know that some of those uncomfortable chairs costs your company upwards of $500. I paid $650 for our Aerons and everyone in the office was begging for one. And to the comments about being unable to adjust it properly...RTFM.
  • Lets assume that you are paying the person 60k per year. If his chair helped him/her work 10 minutes more per day, how many days would it take for the chair to pay for itself. Less then you think. I leave the math as a take home exercise.
  • I saw a show on either Food TV or the Travel Channel about a dot com's office. I was a totally renovated warehouse with opulant solid stainless steel garage doors used to separate a party room into a conference room, they had a kitchen that THE COMPANY, not the employees, stocked with everything you needed. Peanut Butter and Jelly, Cavier, cappucino, steaks, bakery style cookies, every kind of pop imagineable, penguin mints, spaghetti....basically a fully stocked kitchen with everyhing under the sun. Honestly when have you EVER been able to do much more cooking then warming up something in the microwave on a lunch break just due to time contraints alone!? They employees would come in when they pleased, they had a room full of arcade games, air hockey, pool and foosball. It was stupid! where was the server room? I bet they had MEGA ridiculous sized server's with no regard for budgetary concerns. They made the small project that we are undergoing here look cheap! Most DotComs were smaller then ONE building on our campus, yet we have a yearly budget much less then the total they spent! I am finally getting a new chair (not an Aeron). The chair I am currently sitting on it probably about 15-20 years old. Not only did most Dot Coms have a LOUSY business plan, they spent money like Microsoft yet they didn't have Microsoft style money. I'd expect to see this kind of stuff at Microsoft because they can afford it, but at a START UP??!?!?!?
  • A little Aeron Chair [pvponline.com] humor for everyone... it goes on for about of week of comics...
  • by Storm Damage ( 133732 ) <st0rmd@hotmail.PASCALcom minus language> on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @08:20AM (#2110731)
    Some people don't like the Aeron, some people love it. I've sat in one and found it somewhat comfortable, but was more impressed that anyone would actually pay so much for an office chair, especially since the office I was in (a successful CLEC, which is still operating) had several hundred if not thousand of them.

    It occurred to me though that a management staff who found that their workforce likes the chairs can probably eke quite a bit of extra hours out of their employees by providing simple luxuries like this. I haven't used one long-term, so I can't address the "sandpaper" issue, but I did find that my back wasn't sore after sitting in one for a day.

    Also it should be noted that with all the formerly VC-saturated companies going out of business lately, the average going price for an Aeron on Ebay [ebay.com] is around $3-400

    • I'm sorry to disagree.

      No amount of nice furniture at work can suffice for sucky management and purposeless tasks.

      Give me a job where I feel like I can make a difference, am contributing to the company, and am recognized for that contribution and I'll stand-up to work.

      Chairs mean nothing.

  • new invention! (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by austad ( 22163 )
    Sometimes, when using my RealDoll [realdoll.com], I get repetitive motion injuries. I wonder if Herman Miller could combine the Aeron design with the RealDoll... Maybe then it would be OSHA certified. I don't want to have to sue RealDoll for my injuries, the jury might think I'm a weirdo or something, even though they would probably all be secretly wishing for some private time with the RealDoll.
  • Wow a chair.....Wow a $700 chair....I have a chair, its a Zeus Ultra 500 Kitchen Chair (yes I made that up) it has great features, like a spot to park your ass in and a high tech back support to lean against. Really who spends that much money on a chair? For $700 you could get a Tyan Dual Athlon mother board and two 1.4Ghtz AMD Athon T-Bird (and yes, you can use them with the dual athlon board, no matter what Tyan and AMD say).
    • Re:ummmm (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tuffy ( 10202 )
      Really who spends that much money on a chair? For $700 you could get a Tyan Dual Athlon mother board and two 1.4Ghtz AMD Athon T-Bird

      You could. But the chair will have a longer useful life than the dual Athlons. In fact, one really good chair might last several computer lifespans before it needs replacing, so I consider an Aeron to be a bargain by comparison.

  • The wonderful high-tech mesh fabric acts like sandpaper and wears holes in my pants.

    I can honestly say that this is not been a problem I've ever had with my Aeron. I just don't think I want to know what you're doing with the chair to cause that.

    I love my Aeron, but only when it's properly adjusted - which is pretty much most of the time, unless someone else uses it, and messes it all up. Same thing happens every time someone drives my car, and it takes me 2 days to get the seat ajustments 'just right' again.

  • by johnjones ( 14274 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @08:24AM (#2111338) Homepage Journal
    ironic dont you think that it was posted by tim

    wasnt he the man who bought slashdot and took it public

    hmm investors

    dont like them but their money buys lots of sweet toys like cowboyneals chair (-;


    john jones
    • And all along I thought they traded them for advertising.
    • Tim did not buy Slashdot and take it public. I think you've got Tim confused with Andover.Net. As a company we only bought two of these chairs as part of our trade show exhibit booth for Slashdot, IIRC Rob and Jeff requested them since they had to sit at the booth for extended periods of time. So two Areons per 60 employees, maybe we have a chance to redeem ourselves.
  • If you spend $700 per year to keep an employee happy it is money well spent. Unless you are paying them absolutly every dollar they deserve.

    When it comes to the .com I bet most employees were being paid far more than their true worth to the company.

    No offence.

    A web designer is only worth $50000/year if they bring in atleast $150000/year.

    And I don't mean as a team.

    • *how* is this flamebait? Apparently somebody thinks being a liability to their company is normal. <clue>Business exists to make money</clue>

      It's pretty clear to me that if your business involves people sitting at a computer for long periods it is in your best interest to ensure that they are not distracted by an uncomfortable seat. Whether or not the Aeron is really comfortable seems debatable.

  • I have lower back problems, and I'm a contractor, which means if I don't work, I don't eat. With "normal" office chairs I used to have at least 1 or 2 episodes/year of pain so bad I couldn't work for a couple of days. Since I bought my Aeron 3 years ago I have not had a single episode. True, they are the current trendy status symbol, but they work, and AFAIC they're worth it.
  • Obviously I joined the wrong company. MY company never had fancy Aeromajiggy chairs... although I do think we really needed them cause we were too busy sitting on our Futon playing on our Playstation. True story.
  • For large people, chairs and work surfaces get to be really important issues.

    After a lot of comparison shopping, I recently got a BodyBilt chair. The range of adjustability is great, the memory foam is terrific, but the large, shaped pommel of the seat, the waterfall seat edge, the large padded swivel arms, and the "relaxed/alert" natural seating position make this the most comfortable long term seating I've ever had. About 50% more than an Aeron, but a really terrific chair. http://www.bodybilt.com

    When I die, I'm getting buried in this thing!
  • As discussed on slashdot a little over 2 years ago (I still want one):

    http://www.snowcrash.se/products/netsurfer/ [snowcrash.se]
  • [Dundie Accent ON] You call that a Chair? That's not a chair. Now this [poetictech.com] is a chair.
  • The Aeron chair definately appears nice, but I've had the same huge old comfortable office chair for years and my butt would miss it, even if my mind didn't ;)

    I think the keys to stick with, in chair buying, are:
    - a metal main structure (base/leg[s]/armrests)
    - a very comfortable and cushy fabric for any part of the chair that touches the body.
    - no problem swiveling, tilting, and comfortably laying all the way back or sitting totally, for lack of a better word, "erect".

    I guess what it comes down to is, at least your not on the floor.

    [FYI] another Aeron chair link:
    http://www.comfortliving.com/aeron.htm [comfortliving.com]
  • Well, there seems to be a decent amount of people who disapprove of the Aeron chairs.

    I would like to offer a solution. To help us po' college boys who cant afford a $700 chair, but have to sit in a chair for 12 hours a day trying to code to finish while skipping all meals (well, mac and cheese is TECHNICALLY a meal). *takes another deep breath* I would be willing to offer to take the chairs off people hands ;) Of course i'll pay shipping! And us poor fools who can barely afford the $35,000 a year tuition (yes, we got a $360 million dollar grant, and they hike tuition anyway), can have one of these chairs. (Lets not go into how much books costs!)

    For the bunch of us who dont like to go into the fancy management rooms and steal them (I know ppl who have done that), we are sitting on what might as well be concrete.

    For all those who sponser a po' boy, you will recieve a photo with your new donation, as well as a life story ;) So act now and help save a poor suffing boy's behind.
  • The wonderful high-tech mesh fabric acts like sandpaper and wears holes in my pants.

    The reason that your company is going under isn't the expensive chairs. The world just isn't ready for www.WoodPants.com right now.
  • You can find very nice old fashionned wood swivel chairs at Pottery Barn and the like - most comfortable thing I have ever sat in. And it creaks when you lean back - don't get that in an Aeron.

  • Sit on a Physioball instead of a chair - it's better for your body, posture and strength.
  • by MeowMeow Jones ( 233640 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @08:28AM (#2141296)
    The Office Depot/Ikea chairs don't qualify as being 'ergonomically correct' You cant find a real office chair for under $500 and those are the barebones models.
    • I dunno -- my favorite chairs are the office chairs built in the 50s and 60s. They're comfortable and sturdy, and I can sit for many hours in them. They go for between $5-10 at any flea market or thrift store.

      (Also, 20-30 year old drafting stools are much better than the $60 POS they sell in Office Depot for all you amateur architects and engineers out there)

      • I agree. I used to have this 30+ year old ugly green chair at work. I loved it. It was comfortable and had a real high back which was great for a 6'6" person. I had that in front of my folding table (you know the ones that every place has - the two legs that collapse underneath). Everything was perfect.

        Then a new boss came in. She bought cubicle furniture to put in the offices (which wasted tons of space) and got these "wonderful" new chairs. I have been in pain ever since.

        Though Sam's Club has a nice $70 chair that I love.
        • Oddly enough (or maybe not...) that's my favorite working situation as well. A $40 folding table and a $10, 50-60 year old desk chair.

          Makes you really wonder about those dot-dummies, how many of them were really all that smart.

    • Actually, decent office chairs (ie. secretary's chairs) with good adjustability/movement (adjustable arms in 3-axes, back-rest in 2-axes, seat in 2-axes, etc.) can be had for about $3-400. You pay 700 for a chair, and you're paying ~$300 to have the chair look nifty. Granted, if ya got the cash, it's not a big deal.

      I'll stick with my POS $90 OfficeMAX special and pay two months rent instead of buying one of these chairs.

    • We've got Herman Miller Reaction (TM) Highly Adjustable models here, and we paid ~$350 for them, IIRC. They are quite good.
  • The company I work for has SOME Aerons around - The .com division has them, as well as some others, so I've gotten to try them, and I don't like them, FOR ME.

    Back when I was working from home, I went out and looked at chairs - LOTS of chairs. I don't remember the brand I bought, but for about $300 I got a chair that fits ME, which is all that counts

  • I've been sitting on one since the beginning of June and to be perfectly honest you have to spend a pretty large amount of time learning how to use it. I spent a lot of time fiddling around, reading the documentation and trying different configs until I found the one that worked best for me. Sound like a familiar concept?

    This is the best chair I have ever sat on. My Office Depot $150 special at home that I used to love, I can barely stand.

    F*cked company sells a mousepad [fuckedcompany.com] that sums up my opinion quite handily.

  • I don't know what type of chairs we use here at the office, but they aren't cheap. The boss has a very simply philosophy regardng equipment: get very good ergonomic chairs (~$1000), good computers with large hi-res monitors, and save money on eveything else. Hell, the boss's main desk is a folding buffet table like you can buy at Sam's Club. Spend the money on the important things, keeping the staff healthy and productive, rather than on status symbols like fancy desks or "designer" chairs.
  • from the letter to the editor:

    Compared to the ridiculous business models of many of these companies, the decision to order Aeron chairs looks like the Marshall Plan

    I've sat in my friend's Aeron, and it rules. You have to adjust it to YOU, the person whose buttocks will be ruling the seat of power.

    If you're going to be sitting in a chair for up to 10 hours a day for a couple of years, isn't a measly $700 a fantastic investment?! And not just from a user's POV: what sane manager wouldn't want to make his geeks happy and comfortable?

    • I'm presently working at a high-tech startup. I'm paid well, by startup standards. But we're sitting in cubes. I get about two solid hours of distraction-free time each day, and the rest of the time is full of the verdammt laserprinter starting up, or one of the nearest ten phones ringing, or somebody starting a conversation with my neighbor while walking up from fifteen yards away, or my other neighbor fighting with his wife on the phone, or...

      Now, what good is that big paycheck doing? I can't go out and *buy* better working conditions.

      Thanks, I'd rather have a pleasant work environment than a big paycheck.
    • If you're going to be sitting in a chair for up to 10 hours a day for a couple of years, isn't a measly $700 a fantastic investment?! And not just from a user's POV: what sane manager wouldn't want to make his geeks happy and comfortable?

      Precisely. Compared to the cost of hiring a programmer, $700 is a piss in the ocean - if they really are significantly better than the competition. It's like fast computers and big monitors - if it helps people be happier and more productive, it's cheap at the price.

  • by micromoog ( 206608 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @08:46AM (#2148138)
    I sit in an Aeron at work, and it's great! Truly comfortable for sitting on one's ass for many hours straight.

    Of course, there's no way in hell I'd pay the $700 for one of these at home . . . but the laid-off VP whose office I lifted this one from doesn't seem to mind.

    • that's how we get everything at my workplace...as soon as someone gets laid off, scavenge their office for anything of value, and replace your stuff with it.
      that's how i got my scroll mouse, 19" monitor and speakers.
      i realize those things are piddley compared to a $700 chair, but over here the "dot-com" days are definitely over.
    • I sit in an Aeron at work, and it's great! Truly comfortable for sitting on one's ass for many hours straight.

      Of course, there's no way in hell I'd pay the $700 for one of these at home . . . but the laid-off VP whose office I lifted this one from doesn't seem to mind.

      I just bought one new for my dorm room, and in my mind, at least, it makes perfect sense. I spend a lot of time sitting at my computer, whether making money, working on programming assignments, or just reading the web. Given the amount of time spent in it, it's easy to justify paying $731 (after tax and leather armrests) for one, just like I justified a $600 monitor last summer.

      Someone with a full time job would probably have a tougher time justifying one for home, but I'm sure you can do it if you work hard enough :)
  • There is only one True Chair Vendor: Lay-Z-Boy While it may not always be practical, NOTHING compares to a Lay-Z-Boy. Period. The armrests work great as optical mouse pads, you can sleep in it if necessary/desired, you will never, ever have back problems. Granted, they are a little expensive and require a creative solution to monitor positioning, but they're still a good deal cheaper than an Aeron.
    • Tell that to my wife. Not a week goes by without her telling me to get rid of it. Just because it's 25+ years old, orange and has a '70's fabric texture. For 25+ years old, it's in great shape (not even a shred of duct tape yet), and is comfortable as hell.
  • Wonder which one they could be talking about?
  • I would just like to saybrag that I have had sex with five different women in my chair. I got the chair in 1986. It has a plush bottom and back, with metallic arm rests that are the perfect width & position for a lady to comfortably spread her legs for a nice bout of cunnilingus. It is wide, it is stained, is is comfortable, and it has many memories attached to it. It has seen me through DOS 3.0 on up to Mandrake 8.0.

    My wife wants me to give it up but it just ain't gonna happen. I love you honey, but damn you just can't replace those memories.

    In fact, one girl lost her virginity in that chair. Ain't no chair in the world that can make up for that, baby. Not an Aeron, not Python's Comfy Chair, not nothin.

    Just wanted to share.

  • so, what they're saying is the only company to actually make money on the dot economy last year was Herman Miller [hermanmiller.com]?

    cool. we've got a slew of aerons here, as well as their Resolve system [hermanmiller.com]. it's so sweet... replace cubicles with honeycombs...

    i'd just hate to see the company that made our office system go out of business, just when i had my eye on a bunch of cool accessories
  • by detritus. ( 46421 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @06:52PM (#2149258)

    As a former Herman Miller employee up until recently, I have worked on the Aeron [hermanmillerred.com] and Equa II [hermanmillerred.com] (most customizable and my personal fav.) line. You would be surprised to know how much workmanship and hard work is put into these chairs. Every single chair is assembled, customized, and inspected by a person. No robots, no automation.

    You would be surprised how much attention is given to a perfect chair. Not one chair leaves the plant unless it's absolutely perfect. Not even the tiniest scratch or ripple in fabric is acceptable. They don't "touch up" their chairs if something is found, it's totally disassembled and the effected part is disposed of. No touch-up paint, no stain removers.

    My point is, you pay for the quality, workmanship, and sweat put into making the chairs absolutely perfect. Herman Miller isn't a company that screws around when it comes to doing it right. And believe me, it drove me nuts the first few weeks working there at their high standards of workmanship; but now I truly understand why.

    - Dan
    • As a former Herman Miller employee up until recently, I have worked on the Aeron and Equa II (most customizable and my personal fav.) line.

      When talking with a local Herman Miller sales representative here in Toronto, he disclosed that the employee discount is 65%. So for that C$1000 Aeron chair with all the options, he gets it for C$350.

      I smiled when handing over my Visa.
  • A chair is a chair.

    The Aeron chairs I've tried have not been adjustable enough (arm-rest height is critical; I need to have my elbows way up). That nylon burlap they use is a disaster. And the damped, geared cantilevering doesn't allow for a comforting rocking motion during pensive moments.

    $700 was retarded enough for the lesser models; the most adjustable ones went for upwards of $1500.

    I got a $199 Global at Staples or Office Depot or OfficeMax or somewhere.

    Simple, well-padded cloth seat, adjustable back-height with lumbar bulge, and armrests that adjust in-out, up-down, and front-back tilt.

    I've spent over 24 hours straight in that chair (modulo bathroom and fridge breaks) and had only stiff knees.

    $700 Aerons, $500k Silicon Valley houses, and $40/hr Java "talent" really were the biggest boondoggles of the Internet boom.

  • The first time I heard about the price of Aerons I flipped out. Later on while on a consulting gig I was assigned a cubicle with an Aeron chair. Sat down, adjusted it, didn't feel any difference. So I just got on with my work.

    Only twelve hours later did I realize that I was still sitting in the chair and that my buttocks didn't hurt. I had not twitched or slouched once in the whole session.

    But you are right, Aeron chairs are a stupidity test. It tests those who think that just because they are expensive they cannot be worth the money.

  • by jgaynor ( 205453 ) <jon@@@gaynor...org> on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @08:25AM (#2150648) Homepage

    Everytime an Aeron story comes out Im reminded of how much FREEKIN cooler these [poetictech.com] chairs are. Sure they're almost as expensive as a luxury car, but a Mercedes doesn't have inetrnal fiber ports or room for four moniitors!

    www.poetittech.com [poetictech.com]

  • 700? (Score:3, Informative)

    by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @02:46PM (#2150667)
    "$700 Aeron chairs."

    Try $1200. My last employer (The now bankrupt consulting firm marchFIRST.) had 10,000 of them in a Chicago warehouse, because there was never enough money to send them out.

    The real loser in this is Herman-Miller, maker of the chairs. When Herman-Miller and its vendors sold these chairs in bulk to all the dotcoms, they sold on credit with NO SECURITY. That means there is no collateral, including the chairs themselves. Now the chairs are being sold out of bankruptcy to other firms for pennies on the dollar, hampering further sales.

    • Remember that Herman-Miller is not a finance company and most likely wasn't financing the transactions.

    • I just bought one brand new for my dorm room. $731 after all the options, leather armrests, my choice of color, and tax.

      So the price has dropped, thankfully.
  • Ergonomics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pemerson ( 179241 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @08:28AM (#2150705)
    My Aeron is fantastic. As another poster pointed out, you can't just sit down and expect miracles. You've got to adjust it to your own body. Not that I'm claiming they will work for everybody. I just know that my whole office has one, and everybody seems to like them.

    If you've got ergonomic issues, it's critical that you get the problems fixed. Otherwise you're looking at life changing permanent damage to your back, hands, or whatever. I've just been through hand therapy, and believe me, nothing scares me more than the thought of losing the use of my hands. I'm a programmer, systems administrator, and piano player. My hands are a critical part of my livelyhood. Plus I want to be able to pick up my kids someday!

    Check out www.tifaq.org [tifaq.org]. It's a great resource on general ergonomics, as well as a central place to find things like chairs and keyboards and pointing devices.
  • Somehow, it seems fitting that salon [salon.com] would have a story like this. How much venture capital did salon manage to piss away again? Much as I love reading some of the authors on salon (such as the talented Camille Paglia), in my mind, the site stands as a symbol of the .com's hubris and subsequent reality check as any other site on the net. Thankfully, they're still around and I genuinely hope that they eventually turn a profit. But until then, excuse me while I politely snicker... :-)

    Oh yeah, and anyone who spends 700 fucking dollars on a chair deserves to go broke. IMHFO. For that price it had better massage my back, do my taxes, and wipe my ass automatically. :-)

  • A motto to live by. These companies seem to have blown a lot of money on flashy toys & executive playthings, but left too little to run their company. While it may be a good thing to have seats that your programmers can sit in for 10 hours without "Nether region sweat", if you don't have enough work for them to do for 10 hours it's not really a worthwhile investment.

    Sounds like these companies spent tens of thousands on Chairs, when they should have spent it on...Oh I don't know....Maybe Advertising?

    Disclaimer - IANSWLMP - I am not someone who likes marketing people

    OTOH, the author has described the chairs as a symbol of decline, not the actual reason (Although it seems to imply one follows the other). Maybe they all failed because of poor business models to begin with, not misspending after setup. Anyone have any idea how many companies bought N amount of Aeron chairs to start with then succeeded?

    • While some of these companies seem to have gone overboard on items of little legitimate business value, I wonder if stuff like the Aereon maybe doesn't represent an attempt to move to a new work paradigm, ie, don't stuff your employees into the cheapest furniture you can find. Give them comfortable, pleasant surroundings and they'll be more productive. I'm wondering if there weren't at least a couple of "new economy" principals who thought "new economy, new work paradigm" etc etc.
  • aerons are great... (Score:5, Informative)

    by dhamsaic ( 410174 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @08:16AM (#2151088)
    once you get them adjusted properly.

    i use and aeron at home. when i first got it, i spend a considerable amount of time getting it adjusted to suit me perfectly. that means setting the height so your feet rest on the ground, setting up the lumbar support properly, getting the correct tilt both forward and backward, getting the armrest height set properly, etc. it can be a chore, but if you take the time to do it, it truly is one of the most comfortable chairs.

    one thing i've always hated about being a computer geek was what we here at work refer to as sweaty-ass . you know - you've been sitting in the same chair for 6 hours coding or browsing or quaking or whatever and the heat and humidity make for a relatively uncomfortable rear. the aerson's mesh works wonders for this - i can sit in that chair for an hour or two or ten and not have any trouble whatsoever. and i've never had any problem with it wearing out my clothes or anything. i'd guess that the poster doesn't have the chair set up correctly and therefore fidgets quite a bit, meaning extra wear on the clothes.

    anyway, if you can invest the time and money, you can have a comfortable and healthy chair with the aeron.

    • 1 use and aeron at home. when i first got it, i spend a considerable amount of time getting it adjusted to suit me perfectly. that means setting the height so your feet rest on the ground, setting up the lumbar support properly, getting the correct tilt both forward and backward, getting the armrest height set properly, etc. it can be a chore, but if you take the time to do it, it truly is one of the most comfortable chairs.

      Setting up Linux is less trouble than this. I can have a box up and running in an hour if not less fully configured before i'd get this cjair set just right for me!...but it does look cool.

      • I'm 6'3 and I love my Aeron. Of course, I bought a large (you know, of course, they come in small, medium, large...) Most companies buy mediums, which can be a bit tight, and the smalls dig into my shoulder blades, too.
      • by dhamsaic ( 410174 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @08:53AM (#2148190)
        it really doesn't take that long. you need to know what you want going into it. i'd say maybe 25 minutes tops. the problem is, however, most people a) aren't sure of what they need and b) don't want to spend the time to do it. some tips:

        • chair height - your feet should rest flat on the ground. if your desk is too high to permit this, get a footrest of some type. your legs should not be hanging off the chair. the weight of your legs pulls your knees down against the chair, restricting blood flow.
        • arm height - your arms should be beside you, hanging naturally, but resting on the arm rests. there also should not be any stress on your shoulders, but they shouldn't be pushed up either. a relaxed position is best. this goes hand in hand with chair height - your arms should be parallel to the desk surface.
        • lumbar support - this is a bit trickier, but really, you need to find something that makes you feel relaxed in an upright position.
        • tilt - i prefer none for most tasks, because it means i'm sitting properly and not ruining my back (something i do here at work with the shitty chairs). tilt is *very* easily adjustable on the aeron though, so don't worry about this too much. you can change it in seconds.

        anyway, it really isn't as bothersome as i originally made it out to be. it takes a little time, but it's well worth it.

        hope this helps, should you ever have the chance to sit in one.

        • Steel Case makes a chair with even more adjustments that cost the same or less. Leap [steelcase.com] You might also check out their please and poundcake chairs.

          Disclaimer: My wife drafts for a local dealership. She's going to quit, but the propaganda is strong.

    • i'd guess that the poster doesn't have the chair set up correctly and therefore fidgets quite a bit

      Why is it so difficult to believe that other people's experience is different than your own?

      I've never in my life experienced anything remotely like "sweaty ass". Perhaps you had all your previous chairs adjusted wrong?

      I doubt it. More likely, you have a very different body type and behavior from me. I'm tallish (6'3"), and the back of the Aeron bit into my shoulder blades, for example. It gives no neck support whatsoever, so is tiring over long periods, and the armrests didn't come up high enough that I could rest both elbows on them without slumping my shoulders, stressing the muscles in my upper back. You can't sit cross-legged in the damn things without a cushion - that sandpaper material shreds your ankles. Do you get the idea? I'm different from you, and no amount of fiddling with ergonomic levers will change that.

      • Why is it so difficult to believe that other people's experience is different than your own? - it's not difficult to believe. i never said that *everybody* could sit comfortably in an aeron. i said "i'd guess that the poster doesn't have the chair set up correctly" - not "he obviously doesn't have it set up right like the retard he is." i said "i'd guess".

        regardless, the aeron will work for people who are 1) of average size, 2) select the right size of aeron (there are three - maybe you should look into the large version?), 3) want to maintain proper posture while being comfortable and 4) will put the time and effort into adjusting it. i never said it was the end-all be-all of good chairs.

        the "sweaty-ass" is a product of sitting in a warmish room in a well cushioned chair for far too long. not sitting on my legs or feet - just sitting. i know people of all different body shapes that experience it. it seems to be a factor of the environment, the chair and the way you sit. obviously, if you're giving your skin some room to breath (like, for example, sitting on the aeron's mesh), you shouldn't have any trouble. if it's parked in a cushion and can't get air too easily, it's more of a problem.

        anyway, yes, i know that people are different. that's why the aeron is such a good chair - you can customize it to fit you. yes, it won't work for everybody. but with proper time and effort, it can work for a majority i'm sure. i'd venture to say that more people would find a properly adjusted aeron comfortable than would your standard $70 office chair.

      • "Why is it so difficult to believe that other people's experience is different than your own?"

        Making no judgement whatsoever about whoever that is that you're replying to, people in general are opposed to anything and anyone different.

        I think it's because they can't get past the idea that different doesn't necessarily mean better or worse, so, since *they* couldn't possibly be inferior, that which is different must be, that not to denounce the different is tantamount to admitting inferiority.

      • I certainly will admit that people's reactions are different. Every person should definitely try one out before forming an opinion.

        There are three sizes of Aerons. That might be a sizable part of your problems. I have no problems with the largest size and I'm a bit taller than you.

        I have no idea why one sits cross-legged in a productive environment, buy hey, I'll admit it's difficult.

        I do sweat a lot, I usually try to wear loose, thin clothing and an Aeron does help a lot. Actually it helps me in cold rooms too, with a small heater behind me, I get the heat direct to me but without the trapped moisture. On one hot day I've even sat in it bare-bottomed without abrasion problems.

        I've worn a lot of different kinds of clothes and I haven't noticed accelerated wear attributable to the pellicle. I did work for the maker - Herman Miller and I did hear of feedback suggesting that the material does wear clothes faster. My particular chair is not abrasive that I can tell (and I work with abrasives daily, dangit), but I've been using it daily for four years or so, so maybe it's "broken in".

        The biggest down side I've had is that they Aerons squeak too much for my tastes, and one of the adjusters did go weird once or twice.

        For you, I would suggest a high back Ergon chair. Very comfortable, cheaper to boot, and it uses the standard iso foam cushioning that you prefer. I would still have one if I had the room to keep it when space was tight.

        Note, I don't work for HM any more. Nice company for the most part, very good for the size, I don't normally like working for very large companies.
        • I have no idea why one sits cross-legged in a productive environment, buy hey, I'll admit it's difficult.

          I do it because it's comfortable for me, and easy, given a chair that doesn't shred my ankles. As I said, try imagining that other people may be different from you.

          I used to use an Obus Forme chair, before the Aeron, and now I use a Humanscale Freedom. Either blow the Aeron away - the Aeron was just plain unacceptable and unergonomic, for me. The Aeron I had was the large size. I gave it away.

    • I agree with this to a certain extent. At work, we have these chairs. The mesh is GREAT in the sense that you don't get the sweaty-ass (tm!?) and sweaty-back. My last job involved about 4 hours of sweaty-ass/back daily.

      But $700!? I work at a start-up SIPS company, and we have about 120 of these in the office. Now I wonder how much the DESK costed... and I wonder why those in the corporate group that only use Word and Excel have the same $4000 laptops running W2KPro as us consultants... Yes, there are about 120 of these laptops that come standard with the desk, in addition to whatever other computers us "consultants" REALLY need.

      Honestly, I love the chair, I love the desk, I love the fancy designer lamp on my desk, and I love the laptop (minus the OS). But this article sort of makes me worried over what I'll be doing in a year or so....

      But back to the point. I like the chair. It's a pain in the ass to adjust, sort of, but honestly speaking, how many of us just loved to play around with all the adjustments for the first week or so after we got them? Within that first week of tinkering with it, I got my settings right. ;-)
    • I am the proud owner of two Freedom Chairs [humanscale.com] from HumanScale.

      This is the best and most expensive ergonomic chair you can buy, period.

      • Right on! I bought an Aeron C size, but the damn thing wobbled side-to-side a bit, which was REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING. (I think it's only the C ones that did that, but my legs were too long for a B--and my big fat ass didn't fit! :-)

        So I returned it and bought a Freedom chair (the one with the headrest, it kicks ass) from the nearest place in the bay area I could find [galvins.com]. It makes the Aeron look cheap (it's more than $1000 USD with the headrest), but it's just amazing. I was in a car accident a year ago and after it I was having problems sitting and coding for hours and hours on end, but with this chair (and chiropractic :-) I can do that again happily.

        I know that spending more than $1000 USD for a chair (which is more than $1500 CAD, so it seemed even worse for me since I'm Canadian, eh) seems insane, but think of how many hours you spend in your office chair, and then think of how many hours you spend in your car (even with a long commute). So which do you think you get more benefit out of having extra comfort with?

        If anyone here is thinking of buying an Aeron, at least sit in a Freedom chair first...
    • I had an Aeron for about a month. By that time, the mesh was sagging enough that it felt like I was sitting on a friggin toilet. I guess they're OK for 100lb dweebs, but for a fat-assed bubba like me, they suck.

      As far as price goes, Aerons aren't even at the high end of office chairs! The one I'm sitting on now (Body-Built) cost about $1,200US, and is worth every penny. It's a *lot* cheaper than back surgery. Anyone that is a cheapskate with the tools they use to make a living, has gotta be an idiot.
  • The real deal... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Stokke! [stokke-furniture.no]

    I use a Thatsit at home and it's the only chair I've ever been able to sit in for more than 4 hours without it causing be back/ass pain.

    • Re:The real deal... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tet ( 2721 )

      Many many years ago, there used to be a shop near my University that sold these. They had one of the fully reclining balans chairs (which, from looking at the web site, they don't seem to do any more). It's the wierdest sensation to sit in a chair and throw your weight backwards until the chair tips onto the next rail, and keep going until you end up nearly horizontal. You have to have blind faith that the chair is going to take it, and you won't end up landing on your head. But once you get there, it's the most comfortable chair you'll ever sit on.

    • I think I would like this chair way more than my current office Aeron - but at $915 there's no way I (or my employer) would spring for one. I would sure love one for my home office though...
    • Re:The real deal... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Pim ( 140414 )

      Second. If you're in the Boston area, there's a shop called Back Care Basics [backcarebasics.com] that sells them. Very hard to find in the US. Expensive, but worth trying out.

  • by michael_cain ( 66650 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @01:06PM (#2151237) Journal
    They come (or at least when my company bought them they came) in three different sizes. If you have the wrong size, it's impossible to adjust it to be comfortable. I use the large -- with the small or the medium, the front edge of the seat hits the back of my thighs at an uncomfortable place. I'm only 5'10" (177 cm) and my legs aren't particularly long -- I suspect that tall people might have a problem all the sizes.
  • I own an Aeron chair, and the Pellicle fabric is silky-smooth to the touch. The only way it would wear holes in ANYTHING is if your pants are made of tissue paper!

    My Aeron is sooooo comfortable, even after literally 8 to 10 straight hours of sitting. It's like floating on air. Even better, I can kick back, put my feet up, and catch a few Z's in it quite comfortably if needed.
  • The whole three pages on Salon can be summerised as Lewis' Law on the probability of Dot-Com failure.

    The probability of a Dot-Com failing is directly proportional to the ratio of Aerons Chairs:)


    • The probability of a Dot-Com failing is directly proportional to the ratio of Aerons Chairs.

      Actually, this is just one more metric in a convincing series: Guy Kawasaki says in his talks that there is a perfect 1:1 correspondence between people that exhibit the following four traits and those that will lose all of your money (Remember, Guy is a VC himself these days...):

      1. They drive German cars.
      2. They have goatees.
      3. They wear too much cologne.
      4. They wear anything by Prada.

      Remember, these aren't a causality, but do exhibit perfect 1:1 correlation :-)

      Seriously, though, Aerons are good, but not the best of chairs, but they are indeed predictors of dotcom dain bramage. I knew it was time to get out of a company I worked for a couple of years ago when they outfitted the whole main conference room with a doxen and a half Aerons (separated by a floor-to-ceiling glass wall from the reception area, where it was absolutely useless for any sort of strategic planning or discussion of confidential client data (pretty much everything) making the entire room just a showpiece of the dotcom mentality...) Gee, that sentence was bad. Too bad...
  • Not expensive (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crucini ( 98210 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @10:24PM (#2169198)
    The article implies that Aeron chairs are terribly expensive and contributed to the death of some companies. This is silly. According to the article,
    1. Quokka had "hundreds" of Aerons.
    2. Quokka burned through $200 million.
    If we round "hundreds" up to 1000, we have $700,000 investment in chairs, or roughly 1/3 of 1% of $200 million. Two days of a programmer's salary cost more than his chair. Cubicles cost vastly more than chairs.
    Many things contributed to the dot com failures. Expensive chairs did not.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"