Pricey but hip — feds snap up Aeron chairs (with related video)
An investigation by The Daily shows that federal government agencies bought 1,002 ergonomic chairs from 2005 to 2011. All but 194 of them were Aerons. The agencies spent at least $497,494 on Aeron models.
The agencies with the most Aeron chairs were the State Department with 493, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with 272 and the U.S. Army with 75.
The federal government does not pay retail for Aerons, which sell for $750 to $1,150, says a spokesman at the manufacturer, Zeeland,Mich.-based Herman Miller Co.
Comments on the FedSmith.com site show opinions are mixed on federal bureaucrats’ addiction to the trendy Aerons, that some describe as “throne-like.”
wrote: “You can choose to spend $500 on an ergonomic chair or you can spend millions (over the lifetime) on a workers’ compensation claim…YOU PICK….The level of stupidity never ceases to amaze me…..and it should.”
A commenter with screen name VA EMS Manager (Retired) wrote:
“As a manager who was responsible for purchasing furniture for two medical centers during my VA career, I can certainly attest to the prevalence of the federal fiscal end-of-year spending frenzy. I got calls from the Chief of Fiscal Service throughout the month of September asking me “how much” I could spend, as she swept other operating accounts and tried to come out at zero balance in the overall budget at the end of a fiscal year. I tried to use reasonable judgment and to buy ahead for next-year’s requirements of furniture and furnishings, but often a high-ticket item off of a GSA contract would be requested by someone in “authority” and the end of the year was the most opportune time to buy such items. There was waste involved in the process, but even more waste in not properly evaluating budgetary requirements across the entire medical center and making realistic budget requests for subsequent years.”
Commenter FAAFed wrote, “So what is a reasonable price for a decent chair that will last as long? Sure, you could buy an office chair for $150 but you get what you pay for, and you will be buying a new chair within a year or two max. Good quality chairs will last 10 plus years…$50 a year for a chair…not bad when you break it down.”
A commenter with screen name DOD White Collar Welfare wrote:
“I have one. They are comfortable and $500 is little pricey, but it is MADE IN AMERICA, and compared to $250 for a CHINESE piece of junk, it wins hands-down.”
What do you think?
Please post your comments on this important topic.
Are Aeron chairs too extravagant for the government office? Share Your Perspective!