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The conclusion of the office chair saga: I bought a...
In my last post here, I asked for recommendations for an office chair and was rather surprised by the unanimity of the responses I got pointing to either the Herman Miller Aeron chair or the Herman Miller Mirra chair. I did have one person who suggested the Chadwick chair from Knoll. I had another friend who wondered at the ROI (Return on Investment) of the price of an Aeron and suggested that you could buy a new chair from Staples each year over 10 years and still not hit the price of the Aeron.

However, of the probably 25+ responses I received in various channels, everyone raved over the Aeron and Mirra chairs from Hermann Miller. Given the raves for both chairs, I really wanted to try them out before buying and was somewhat surprised that there wasn't really a Hermann Miller supplier in New Hampshire. There is one over in Manchester, NH, but they turned out to primarily sell to businesses and do corporate office design. They had a showroom where I could have gone to try the chairs, but I got the sense from the person on the phone that they'd need to order the chair I wanted. Seeking immediate gratification, I sought elsewhere.

We wound up driving about 1.5 hours in the opposite direction over to Manchester Center, Vermont, where we met the guys at Circa50 and I had a chance to try out both chairs.

I did wind up ultimately buying an Aeron chair. It's definitely more money than I've ever spent on a chair in my life, but I can't argue with the fact that since I sit in that chair for at least 8-10 hours a day (and sometimes more) each work day and sometimes on weekends, I do need a solid chair. The Circa50 guys also gave me a great deal that more than compensated for the fact that I was driving from sales-tax-free New Hampshire over to Vermont. They were great to work with (and they sell online as well) and I took the chair home with me. (had some great Mexican food in Manchester Center, too!)

My reasons for choosing the Aeron over the Mirra came down to really two:


  • TILTING FORWARD - In this process of searching for a chair, I've discovered something about my own posture during the work day. Sometimes during the day, I tilt my body forward and almost sit on the edge of the chair. The Aeron has the ability to tilt forward a few degrees while the Mirra doesn't. For me and the way I sit sometimes, this made sense to support.


  • THE MESH - I sat in both for some time... moved around in them... tried to pretend I was working at a desk. In the end, I just liked the mesh back of the Aeron better than the plastic back of the Mirra. The Mirra was definitely comfortable, and I think it would have been a perfectly fine office chair to have... I just happened to like the feel of the Aeron better. Your mileage may vary.

One thing I did like about the Mirra was that it was simpler to change the configuration. The Aeron has a few more knobs and levers than I really feel are necessary... but I've now got it adjusted so it does feel good.

So that's the story... many thanks to all the people who replied back via all the various channels: replies to the blog post, twitter messages, private email, IM, etc.

The cheap Yankee in me still wonders about the ROI, but I can't deny that it's a VERY comfortable chair in which to sit!

Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 25th, 2008 09:53 am (UTC) (Permanent Link)
Dear Dan,

What you are facing is Cognitive dissonance- Marketeers round the world need to tackle this especially for high value performance products. In psychology, cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling or stress caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.(price paid vs comfort experienced)

By the way,to add to that discomfort (not with any malice though!).....there are several products that are as comfortable and feature packed as an Aeron. However, Aeron was a design feat and has got itself an undisputable edge in mindshare due to this.

In other parts of the world like China & India, from where i am writing this reply, you could get a comparable product at 1/20th the cost.

But thats another story..enjoy the Aeron experience.

Regards

Arun Kuruvila
Godrej Seating Business, India.
visit us at www.godrej.com

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