Deal or No Deal? (The Office Chair Dilemma)

Something annoying/AWESOME happened this weekend and I think you’ll appreciate it :) Especially the part where I debate back and forth with myself for hours on which chair I should buy, only to come away with none! Damn analysis paralysis

It all started with my mom coming to visit a few weeks back and telling me I needed to get a better desk chair before my back goes out. “Mom, I’m fine – I’ve been sitting on this thing for over 5 years now and haven’t had any problems so far. But thanks.” “Well, all I’m saying is it can’t be comfortable. It’s a kitchen chair for crying out loud, just get yourself an office one and make your mom happy.” “Okay, fine… I’ll look into it (lie)… ” “That’s all I ask… I just want you to be comfortable.” “Okay, well I’m comfortable now, but fine… ”

And then, 5 hours later, I $hit you not – my back starts hurting.

What are the freakin’ odds?? 5 years *nothing* and now, the one time someone mentions I need a new chair, it starts acting up? At first I tell myself it’s just all in my head like one of those mental things, and go about my business as if all is fine. The next morning I feel much better, go downstairs and start blogging my heart away as usual, and for the first few hours I’m back to my normal pain-free self. Until lunch hits and it starts aching again. Damnit!

This goes back and forth for a good week – the mornings feeling great, and then the evenings like I just played a 5 hour game of soccer – and eventually I realize I better do something about it or else I’m screwed both physically and financially, considering my livelihood depends on sitting at a computer every day. I decide to swap chairs with the one we have upstairs at our main level’s desk ( a “proper” one, as my mom would say) and magically I start feeling better again! It was like night and day! So so strange, but I concede that my mom must have been right. Though I have yet to tell her so ;)

And this is where the (financial) dilemma comes in.

With anything less than $50 I don’t usually like to do much research, just cuz I know how far I can take it and will waste hours of unnecessary time and energy making a decision, but unfortunately these chairs are different. One, because they can cost way more than $50 (or even $400 depending on the type!), and two – I’m freaked out now about my back. Specifically with all the slouching I do (It’s so hard to sit up straight for hours on end!).

I start looking at Target, TJ Maxx, Staples, (I don’t dare go on Amazon yet cuz I need to be able to test them out first), and eventually land on two that I really REALLY like. Both from Staples (and only Staples :(), and both with its own set of pros and cons. But mainly a $40 price difference.

  • Option #1: The Roncer — Black and alien-looking like (the one on the left of that pic up above), and also the more expensive one at a cool $99.99. It didn’t look all that comfortable at first glance, but WOW did that thing force me to sit up! And not only that, it was super cozy feeling! It kinda wraps around your back, in a weird but good way.
  • Option #2: The Turcotte Luxura — A MUCH better style and design, and almost at half the price of the Roncer coming in at $59.99. The only problem? The second I sit and melt away into the cushions I’m back to slouching again… But it’s just so much cheaper and NICER looking!!!

There’s one other major difference between the two too: The Turcotte is discounted down from $149.99, while the Roncer is full price :( So not only is the nicer looking one cheaper than the weird alien-type one, but it’s more than 50% off the original price too!! Arghhh….

And that’s what freezes me in my spot. I’m not good at paying full-price for something when a seemingly *better* item is not only discounted down like crazy, but also gets much better reviews too. I forgot to tell you that part, didn’t I? The Roncer comes in at 3 and 1/2 stars out of 5 from 30 reviewers, and the Turcotte hails with 4.5 stars out of 200+ reviews! So what’s a blogger to do?

Well, I’ll tell you what he TRIED to do ;) He tried to go back to Staples a number of times to see if the one he wanted deep down (The Roncer) would magically go on sale while there (it didn’t), and eventually decided to just suck it up and buy the dang thing full price. Only it wouldn’t fit in his car the day he was finally prepared to buy it…

Then, I kid you not, the next day (yesterday) as I’m checking out to grab links/images for this post to get your opinion on which I should buy, something magical happens: THE RONCER GOES ON SALE!!! By 40-freakin’ percent!! Woohoo!

And just like that I have myself a new office chair at $59.99 :) (The Turcotte is back to $149.99, btw). I still have to concede to my mother that she was right this whole time, but I’m glad to have both my back and mind free up again after weeks of dumb worrying… But you can relate, right?

Am I the only one who has a hard time buying something large-ish without a discount? Especially when there’s a more comparable one at 60% off?? I know I obsess about stuff like this, but I really feel like this one’s a bit of a tricky situation… and one my “real life” friends wouldn’t care to discuss ;) But you guys are different, so let me know your thoughts!

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  1. Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle March 12, 2013 at 6:29 AM

    I stand all day at work but there is a payroll office that I go in to occasionally when they forget to pay me for a day. They have a space age chair like the one you bought and when I get to sit in it I never want to leave. It is an amazing experience.

    Of course I work for a major corporation so the chair was $500 (I asked).

    I let things go because they are not a value or a bargain. I have a mental limit I can spend and when I have been forced to make a purchase that is not on sale I keep the receipt stuck to the fridge and watch the flyer for a sale so I can get a refund with in the 30 days.

    Many people don’t go back for the sale price refund but I am sure you do.

    1. J. Money March 12, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      I saw some tempur pedics for like $600 too at Staples – weren’t as comfortable as you might think?

  2. AverageJoe March 12, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    Hilarious. I stare at whatever the item is that I want for DAYS before buying. My wife wants to push me out a window by the end….. Analysis paralysis or just Joe being cheap, I’m not sure which it is…..

    1. J. Money March 12, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      haha, glad to see I’m not the only one!

  3. Lance @ Money Life and More March 12, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    I probably would have looked for an online coupon and then used my business credit card that gets me 5% cash back at office supply stores. I think I probably could have found a $20 off $100 purchase coupon at least, so I’d be at 25% off which wouldn’t have been that bad.

  4. jestjack March 12, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    I seem to remember a quote from somewhere…”good things come to those who wait” …seems to apply in this case.

  5. John S @ Frugal Rules March 12, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    Don’t you hate it when Mom’s are right?! ;) I know my Mom and I have had conversations just like this in the past. I am like Joe, my wife usually wants to throw me out the window because I analyze purchase decisions so much. Oh, and it’s probably just a bit of cheapness too. ;)

  6. Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce March 12, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Thanks for the review! And, really, who hasn’t been in this position… Great post.

  7. Johnny Moneyseed March 12, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    We have those “Roncers” at work and they might seem great.. But then you go to re-adjust yourself, by holding on to the armrests and SNAP they break off. Easily. I would recommend returning it, it was the cheaper option for a reason!

    1. J. Money March 12, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      Oh, great… well it’s already ordered and being shipped so I’ll have to see what it’s like when I put it together and then never re-adjust again, haha… I rarely do anyways though, but good tip. I’ll watch out for it!

      1. Chantel March 20, 2013 at 11:05 AM

        I think what Johnny means is if you’re just adjusting yourself, not the chair.. :-)

        1. J. Money March 20, 2013 at 7:41 PM

          oh, haha… well then yeah – that’s bad! though i’m sitting in it right now and so far so good?

  8. Jim March 12, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Funny you should mention the chair dilemna – I was using the same (kitchen chair), then saw some attractive cheap mesh workstation chairs at WalMart – marked down to $19.99 (from $39.99). I was thinking about buying at full price but when they came on sale… bought two – one for me and one for the wife!

    In short: discounts rock!

    1. J. Money March 12, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      Nice! Way to go :)

  9. Brian @ Luke1428 March 12, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    This is great! My kids love the new desk chair shopping trips. While I’m looking and in a heated debate with myself, they test out every one in the store by spinning around in them. It’s like a carnival ride.

  10. Money Beagle March 12, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    I’m with you but often times what will happen, especially if it’s something I’m looking on Amazon for, is that the price will go UP, then I’ll wish that it would go down to the price that it was in the first place.

    1. J. Money March 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      That does happen!!!! A LOT, actually – hate it :( It’s even worse when it happens in middle of checking out for airline tickets, ugh… I swear they do it on purpose knowing you’re not gonna start your search all over again once you found the perfect times and what not ;)

      1. slinky April 8, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        Actually, that’s because most of those sites cache the prices and then do a last minute check for changes when you are ready to book. They could be from days ago. Sites that end in do this check after you select the flight or hotel, but before you checkout.

        Bonus tip: search, wait for it to load and search again. Repeat until no more results come back. There’s often a cut of for how long to wait for replies, but more may get cached for the next person on the background.

        1. J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:33 AM

          Interesting – never knew that!

  11. Bobbi March 12, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    As someone that spends their life in front of a computer (I work at home also) I have learned to never skimp on the chair. Get the most comfortable well made chair you can afford. I also find that the most comfortable chairs are not the most attractive ones necessarily. When I am aching after a long day the thought of saving a few bucks will not make me feel better. But that is funny how that worked out with your mom.

    1. J. Money March 12, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      Good points! Makes me feel better about getting the less attractive one :) It really fits me so much better.

  12. David Hunter March 12, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Of course your back hurt after your mom said you need a new chair before your back starts hurting. She put it in your head so you started thinking about it.

    STOP IT! Stop thinking about it. Problem solved!

    Now send me $25 because I just saved you from spending money on a new chair. :-)

    1. J. Money March 12, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      That’s what I thought too in the beginning, but days later when I could barely stand up I realized something was DEF wrong w/ the picture – was no longer just “in my head.” And would have never thought it was due to the chair either so I’m glad my mom brought it up in the end! I hate going to doctors, haha…

  13. Julie March 12, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    I was told by our office’s interior decorator not to look at the reviews of office chairs when choosing one. She said that each person’s body type is so much different that one person may love a chair, but the next person may find that it doesn’t support them enough (much like what you found when you tried them.)

    Congrats on the new chair!

  14. The Happy Homeowner March 12, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    Hahaha…my BF and I are currently going through this same thing…we have this beautiful new office (I built the desk from scratch!) but we still sit on the bar stools at the kitchen counter because neither of us can make a choice about which office chair to buy… :)

    1. J. Money March 12, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      maybe you need to make the chairs too? haha…. that’s awesome btw :)

  15. Leah March 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    I have a hard time spending big bucks if there’s a virtually comparable item for less! I can see myself playing out the exact scenario you just talked about!!

    I agree with some of the other readers too, though. Never skimp on a good chair!

  16. Brian March 12, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Your mom jinxed you J Money, simple as that! She put the idea in your head.

    It’s good that you’re getting a new chair but you really should think about doing some more exercise. Maybe some yoga or something. The chair is only going to do so much for you, you’ve gotta get the muscles in better condition! If you’re sitting all day, they’re just wasting away. It’s no good.

    1. J. Money March 13, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      It’s true, I do need to exercise more, especially during Winter with no soccer or football leagues open :(

  17. Retire By 40 March 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    Good job getting the chair that works for you. Try to get up and move around once in a while too. My old chair at the office was ergonomically correct and all that, but my back still felt like crap after 8 hours. Now that I’m at home, I sit in a cheap office chair or hard library chairs and I still feel a lot better.

    1. J. Money March 13, 2013 at 11:54 PM

      HAH! Good to know :) Though I do get up a lot already :(

  18. Akiyo @ KitchenPenguin March 12, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    I have one of those exercise ball chairs both at work and at home. I messed up my S1 in 2007 and managed to convince my boss that I needed a better chair. After free shipping and coupons it was under $100 so he approved it and I liked it so much that I bought one for home. Yes, you can just buy an exercise ball and sit on it but the chair has wheels and a base for stability so I don’t accidentally roll feet over head when I reach to get something on the copier behind me. It’s comfy, it forces you to have good posture, and it’s a conversation piece.

    1. J. Money March 13, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      I REALLY want to try one of those one day – they look freakin’ comfortable!!

  19. Nick @ March 12, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Haha J this scenario seems oddly familiar to me. My wife is always trying make me get a new chair because I use a crappy hard plastic chair from Costco that definitely was not made to have someone in it for hours at a time. I have yet to make a purchase yet because I can’t find a deal I like. :)

    1. J. Money March 13, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      maybe this post will jinx you too then ;)

  20. Kyle Petzinger March 12, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    I switched to a standing desk last week and I’ve been loving it! I highly recommend at least giving it a try for a few days. If it’s not an option for you, I totally understand, but the benefits of standing overshadow any benefits even the nicest chair can offer.

    1. J. Money March 13, 2013 at 11:58 PM

      I would totally try that if someone brought it over and set it up for me :) That, and the treadmill desk! Man I could do some serious work on that.

  21. Matt @ My Coin Blog March 12, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Glad to know I’m not the only one that suffers from analysis paralysis. Glad it worked out in the end!

  22. Midwest March 12, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Definitely a first world problem.

    1. J. Money March 13, 2013 at 11:58 PM

      yup, but nonetheless a problem.

  23. Grayson @ Debt Roundup March 12, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    I enjoy a good office chair as I sit in them all day long. I would have done the same thing as you and I have a very hard time paying full price for something without taking my time to research prices. Looks like you came out on top.

  24. Johnny @ Our Freaking Budget March 12, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Like a bed, a good office chair is an “investment” purchase, meaning I’d be willing to spend a little more there than most things. Figure between the office chair and bed, I’m spending 75% of my day… *sad trombone*. That needs to change.

    But to your point, I can’t remember the last thing I bought full price, especially online. I will spend an hour trying every online store, coupon code, etc. And if nothing pans out, I’m happy to wait. For Christmas a year ago, I decided I’d get a Playstation 3. So I waited for a good deal. And three months later, a palatable enough deal came along and Santa delivered it in February. :)

    1. J. Money March 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM

      haha… I’m surprised you lasted 3 months! that’s very good for you, sometimes I can’t wait 3 days ;) then others I wait like 3 years and just give up *double sad trombone*

  25. Stephanie March 12, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    I tend to be the same way. It’s the deal-hunter in me. But ultimately I try to overcome that and go with whatever suits my needs better, and sometimes that actually is the less expensive (based on original price) item. And in this case, since the less expensive one forced you to have better posture, I think it would have been a better deal than fancier chair, even if it hadn’t gone on sale the next day!

  26. Cherron March 13, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    I totally agonize over buying on sale and not paying full price + researching, coupon codes, etc. for every purchase! – – this is exactly why JC Penny’s now failed “low prices everyday” and no sales was a huge flop!

    1. J. Money March 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM

      Oh man, I didn’t even know they tried that! Ouch.

  27. Samantha March 13, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    I do this too… but its pretty much for everything. And I know why. You must read the Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz: it totally gave me insight into why its so easy for my husband to make a decision and why it takes me forever. Its because I’m a “maximizer”.

    1. J. Money March 14, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      haha okay – I’ll try and give it a scanning one day :)

  28. J Wolf March 13, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    I buy used, or on sale… and if it ends up being a dud, then I don’t care because I didn’t pay full price – and then I either freecycle it, or donate it to a charity.

    I’m glad you got a chair you liked!

  29. Eva Smith March 14, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    My friend wanted to buy a washing machine. Her husband had a connection that would get him a discount on a fancier washing machine. She said she only wanted the non fancy anyway and it would cost lest so they’d be spending less. But her husband went ahead and got the more expensive one simply because it had a discount so it was worth more. But they spent more money!!

    I can see both sides. What do you think about it?

  30. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    haha… I see both sides of it myself, and really just comes down to personal preference and what the item in question is. for bigger things I’d probably go with the better quality one so it lasts longer (if more money DOES equal better quality, btw – it’s not always the case!), but on smaller items I usually choose the cheaper ones…

  31. Apurva S. July 28, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    Not only do I do this as well, but I’m having the same exact dilemma you had. I’m also trying to choose between the Roncer and Turcotte; they’re currently both selling for $60. I purchased the Turcotte yesterday, but it’s definitely not ergonomic and my behind is already hurting on this chair. I’m strongly considering exchanging it either for the Roncer or the Lorell Executive High-Back Chair on Amazon for $100 more. What has been your experience with the Roncer? Would you recommend it after having used it? The website says it’s rated for 3 hours of daily use, which is far less than I would be using it.

  32. J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Hah! Well you’ve come to the right spot :) Though I must say I rarely even think about it anymore and the chair has just become a part of the office… I can tell you that my back hasn’t hurt an ounce since getting it though? But that could be because my old chair sucked and the Turcotte could be fine too… Though a small part of me now wishes I got that one just cuz it looks so much better and I’d probably have gotten used to it anyways…

    If I were you I’d think about buying the Roncer and trying it out for a few days, and then just return the one that you didn’t like. (If you can front the money for a bit). Though not sure about putting it all together and then taking apart/etc – might be too much of a pain.

    Oh, to answer your question RE: hours – I sit in the Roncer anywhere from 5-8 hours a day. Feels the same whether I’m in there for 20 mins or 8 hours so I think it’s fine. I could have sworn it was much more comfortable in the store though ;) (mine also doesn’t lean back AT ALL like it did in the store – not sure if that was cuz I didn’t put together right (a high possibility) or cuz i’m imagining things and it doesn’t go back at all. Just something to consider though)

  33. Apurva S. July 29, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    You can definitely fix that! Make sure the tilt lock isn’t on and loosen the tilt tension.

    1. J. Money July 31, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      Tried all kinds of different ways – never works for me :(