Adventures In Stupidity

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done of these type of posts, however, as of today, I have been hard-pressed not to write an entire book, let alone article, on what I’ve come to experience from a company whose product I not only sing the praises of, but highly recommend.

That product is my office chair made by, Humanscale™.

There is probably no more important component to an office that entails both form and function, as well as inflicting (yes – inflicting!) a quality of life that is either pleasant, bearable, or down right sadistic, than that which can be dealt out by a poorly constructed or non-ergonomic chair. Especially when one considers the amount of time to be spent in one.

Yes, I’m fully aware that stand up desks are all the rage currently. But standing at a desk is nothing new.

Let’s veer off here, for just a moment into some background on all this “new” insight when it comes to standing.

When I began my career in the meat industry I was struck to notice that most, if not all, stood at a counter (with no chairs) in the sales office. Everyone stood either facing each-other at a counter or, were propped up against a long shelf that looked more like an easel stand fixed to the wall, only it was over 60 contiguous feet in length wrapping around the office.

You had an “area” or “space” on that wall next to everyone else and that was your combination sales desk/office. It consisted of a phone attached to wall, and a few shelves underneath for storage, and all open, no doors, locks, or drawers.

It was easy to infer that standing had been the norm since about the beginning of time by looking at the age on the desk and floor. So standing all day, every day, had been a part of my career for years.

Here’s what I know via decades of experience of sitting vs standing:

If you stand – it’s all about the quality of mat you stand on.

If you sit – it’s all about the quality of chair.

Taking regular interval breaks with either (e.g., stand if you’re sitting or, sit if you’ve been standing) is the key.

It is my experience both (e.g., standing vs sitting) are the same in the end. (again, my opinion, but it’s via experience)

Either one can make you feel better or, make your life miserable depending on those few key, yet, small differences.

I know I can hear all the “But, But, But….!” new devotees of/on either side now going into convulsions to say I’m wrong and don’t know what I’m talking about. (I’ll also garner they’re either recent converts to the “new idea” of stand up desk or, just spent what seemed like buku-bucks on some name brand over-stuffed leather chair.)

If whatever you’re doing is working for you? Good for you, and fair enough. However, I have decades of experience in both and I’m just parting my personal observations and experience, nothing more. And I only add it for context for its germane to the story, as you will see.

Now back to our regularly scheduled dialogue….

I’ve had my chair going on 8 years. I spend on average 8 to 10 hours a day with gusts as high as 15 regularly. There is no other piece of furniture I interact with more, and yes, even my bed.

There was a time I had issues when sitting for any long periods (before I retired I actually sat much less) and have gone through many an “ergo-chair” of varying degrees and price ranges. It wasn’t until I found my current chair did I finally understand the price to value proposition meaningful. Why?

The price for my chair isn’t just at the top of the price scale, but to my thinking back then, was literally – off the charts orbiting around the planet insanity. i.e., When the term “thousands” can be used in the same sentence as the price for an office chair? I’m sorry, I still have an issue with it even as I’m trying to type it today as my eye begins to twitch.

So now you’re probably saying, “So what’s this all about?” And here’s why I felt the need to share, because it’s directly related to business and something you yourself may be doing to different degrees and not be fully aware.

On my chair there is a handle, so when you want to move the chair around the office, this is where you grab. For what ever the reason it broke right where it screws in. It’s not a structural thing or even that cosmetic. And no one would ever be the wiser – but I know. And I can be a little, shall we say, “orifice-retentive” when it comes to certain things. So I decided to see if I could order the part. And this is where the adventure into stupidity began.

I went to the website and used their “contact” form. I received a “confirmation” that my email had been received and would receive a return email promptly. Three days later – I was still waiting for that reply.

I repeated the process thinking it may have been lost in the ether. To my delight, I got a reply for what appeared to be a “happy to help representative.”

I replied back with my request – that “happy representative” seemed to now be happier not answering my request, for it went unanswered – for days.

I tried the process again, result? Re-read first line, when you get back here do it one more time, for that’s precisely what happened to me.

Then, in a one last-ditch effort, I sent what I felt was a strongly worded (yet polite) request that someone should get in contact with me, even if it were to tell me they couldn’t help me and maybe could direct me to a vendor that could.

I got a reply!

A great reply at that. It told me that this nice gentleman was sorry for the delay, they had the part, its cost, and all they needed was my approval that I would pay the required shipping and they would ship it out. Just fill in my address and confirmation and it would be resolved.

I felt relieved and almost vindicated for my tenacity in trying one last time.

Did you catch the key word there? Hint: “almost.” Why? Take a guess.

I replied back enthusiastically, told him how thankful I was that someone took the time to finally take my request and follow through.

And I haven’t heard back since. It’s now been well over a month

I was damned if I would start this process again in any way – shape – manner – or form. I was (am still) thoroughly ticked off.

Could I call? Probably, for there is a number listed. But I’m so mad (still!) if I couldn’t get the Sales Manager themselves on the phone – I would be even more irate.

This happens when people in management, e.g.., Sales managers, General managers, COO’s, CEO’s et al. don’t shop their own venues.

The Sales Manger in charge of instituting this type of “customer service” interaction should, at the least, be reprimanded if not, fired outright, for I can not be the only person that has had this type of interaction with them.

This is what happens when you don’t shop your own store and leave it up to others. For if a “manager” has so many things on their plate that they can’t make sure all their customer interfaces, as well as interactions aren’t up to par with the product? (and price!) Somethings wrong. Period. And: It may not be long before everyone has far too much time, because all these problems get resolved via the most bludgeoning fixing tool known to business and management. e.g., No sales.

Now some of you may be thinking, “Well, yeah, but you are just one person, one chair, and you haven’t purchased another in years. So it’s really not that big of a deal.” And that may be a fair point, or it may not. And here’s why:

I may have only purchased one, but it is the people I both talk with, as well as give advice to, that purchase office chairs, sometimes, by the dozens.

Do you think I’m going to tell this story again should the circumstance arise?

That’s why things like this are so important to understand. But better yet, not allowed to happen in your own business. It’s up to you to make sure. It’s a requisite, regardless if you’re a CEO of a global concern or, own a tattoo parlor. And it never ends or goes away. And those that think it does or, is something that’s now beneath their “pay grade” are usually the first to find out the hard way, aka: bankruptcy.

Disregard its importance at your own peril.

Oh, and I almost forgot: what was the price of the handle replacement that caused all this to begin with?

$7.50 (not a typo)

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr