I Bought a $1,400 Office Chair for Only $525!

I bought an office chair!

I know, I know. It’s just a chair. Who cares?

Well, apparently my back and butt and legs care very much.

Ever since I started this blog a few months ago, I’ve been spending much more time in my super high-quality office chair that I purchased over 20 years ago from Office Max for $139.

I know it’s super high quality because it comes with such features as:

  • a seat
  • a back
  • plastic armrests
  • and rolly wheels (I’m sure rolly wheels are the official high-quality name of these plastic wheels.)
The 20-year-old bargain basement chair from Office Max.

So, clearly, I made a good choice over 20 years ago at a time when I would never sit in this chair for more than 30 or 40 minutes at a time.

But things have changed here in the year of our Lord two-thousand-and-twenty. (Massive understatement, I know.)

I find myself sitting in this chair so much more often, and for significantly longer periods of time.

For nearly two months now my back and shoulders and butt and legs have been trying to communicate their need for a better solution, but thus far, I’ve been able to quell their insubordinate rebellion.

But no more.

I find that my ability to function when not sitting in the chair is starting to become compromised, and that is simply not acceptable. It would appear my body parts have organized a walkout in protest of my bargain-basement chair and I was left little choice but to cave to their demands.

Finding a New Chair

The hunt for an actual high-quality chair began in haste.

I chose to skip over chairs comparable to my current torture device and jumped straight to real-world office chairs that I had become so accustomed to in my previous life in corporate America.

I began my search by visiting a handful of office furniture review websites and quickly discovered that the Herman Miller Aeron office chair was as close to the creme of the crop in the office chair community as one could find.

Herman Miller Aeron Office Chair

But wait! $1,495 FOR A CHAIR!!! Who the what?!?

Suddenly it seemed as if I was shopping for a Bengal Tiger, not some cushy fabric to holster my butt for a few hours.

Needless to say, I was quickly humbled by my office chair research.

Who pays over $1,000 for a chair? Certainly not me.

Bargain Hunting

It became clear that I needed to establish a budget for the chair I was going to procure. I knew that $1,000 was NOT acceptable, but how high was I willing to go.

Based on some more research, it appeared that some decent chairs could be had for as “little” as $500, so I decided that would be my high price point. I would only pay up to $500 and get the absolute best chair I could find for that price.

Unfortunately, review site after review site – each chock full of recommendations from chiropractors and doctors and chair-sitting professionals – was touting the incredible long-term benefits of the $1,000+ chairs…most notably the fully customizable Herman Miller Aeron chair.

They weren’t touting just benefits like comfort and reliability but were more focused on benefits like being able to walk at age 50 and not requiring herniated disc surgery within 5 years.

Sure, it could all be a giant marketing scam perpetrated by the high-end office chair cartel, but was I willing to herniate a disc or two to find out?

Not likely.

Used Car Shopping All Over Again

But then I wondered, for a piece of office equipment as expensive as $1,500, surely there was a used market for these things, right?

A place where you could find a model that’s a few years old with maybe a few dings here and there, but possibly low butt mileage and selling for half the price.

So I shifted my internet gaze onto the used office furniture scene, and sure enough, such a marketplace did exist.

It turns out office chairs really are like used cars. Each year there’s a new model with slightly different tweaks and improvements, but if you’re willing to accept a model that’s 2 or 3 years old, a discount is very possible.

The challenge is that most places don’t sell used office furniture in one’s and two’s. They are priced and sold in batches of 20’s and 30’s and 100’s, catering to enterprises with employee counts larger than one.

I, obviously, was not in need of 20 or 30 or 100 used office chairs.

I suppose if I found the most perfect office chair ever made and wanted to use it unconditionally for the next 100 years, I could scoop up a batch of 20 and when one wore out I could simply swap it out for a new one.

That insane thought actually crossed my mind, but so did the vision of my wife’s face as every chair in our home suddenly turned into an office chair overnight.

It wasn’t a glamorous vision.

Also, seeing as I balked at the price of $1,495 for a single chair, I couldn’t fathom paying over $12,000 for a batch of 20 chairs.

So I had to keep hunting.

Finding the Pot ‘o Gold

And then, as if jettisoned from an internet wormhole, I found the site seatingmind.com who dealt in used office chairs – and would sell in singles!

Unfortunately, much like wandering around a sketchy used car dealership, it took quite a bit of poking around to find the good stuff.

And even then, it took an extra bit of sleuthing to separate the 6-year-old models from the 2-year-old models as they weren’t exactly forthcoming with the age of the chairs. (Sketchy used chair dealers!)

And also like used cars, not every model had every option available for that generation of chair.

Some had adjustable armrests but some only offered fixed.

Some had an adjustable back support tensioner while others did not.

Some had the crucial lumbar support mechanism. Others were without.

It was like searching through a dozen different Pottery Barn catalogs discovered in distinctly different sections of a local garbage dump.

But then, as if fate had connected us through the power of my resiliency combined with the pain in my lower back, I found my chair.

A fully featured Herman Miller Aeron chair with all the latest and greatest features.

  • breathable mesh backrest and seat
  • pneumatic lift
  • 4-way adjustable armrests
  • backrest tilt tensioner
  • 4-way adjustable seat
  • posture fit lumbar support mechanism

And here was the kicker – it was the previous generation model, but it was BRAND NEW.

That’s like finding a 3-year-old car for sale with only 4 miles on the odometer, but it’s being sold like it’s a 3-year-old used car. That would be a great deal.

And so was this chair.

The total price for the chair including shipping was just $525.

That’s right. Just $525 for a fully-featured Herman Miller Aeron chair that, as configured, retails for nearly $1,400.

My back and butt and legs have never been so happy for me to spend so much time in my bargain-basement chair searching the Internet.

Ok, so here’s an actual picture of my new chair.

The chair I’m sitting in right now.

This one’s for you, body parts.

Have you ever bought anything at a great discount? What was it and how did you get such a great deal? Leave me a comment about your fantastic find.

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  1. Jon
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