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ARGOS - Budget Gas Lift
from Argos www.argos.co.uk
There's an old saying "You get what you pay for" which implies that if you buy something that's cheap then you can expect it to fail and not be very good. Well here's a case where that old saying appears not to be true! Here we have a cheap office chair which was bought from Argos for £9.99*, described as "Budget Gas Lift Chair", Argos Cat number 617/9942, Made in China. This is a cheap office chair, but I was happy to buy this because I know from personal experience that Argos look after their customers and if the product fails they give them their money back or replace the item without any fuss!
If you're wondering whether to buy a cheap cut-price Chinese office chair such as this, you might at first wonder whether the chair is going to be strong enough to take the weight of a person who eats plenty of good meals. It's all very well for me, because I don't weigh much, but what about folk who weigh closer to the top end of a bathroom scale's limit? You might suppose, looking at the slender style of the chair, that it would collapse. Well, I've seen several quite heavy people use an Argos budget office chair with no problem at all. Plus, even though the seat looks small, it's quite comfortable. You can adjust the height with the gas spring lever, and manoeuvre the chair around the floor, and the five wheels roll easily over network cables, phone connections, and other stuff that's on the floor without any trouble.
I've seen such a chair which was in use almost every day for about nine months before anything went wrong with it at all. Then one day I noticed the back-rest was just a bit further laid-back than usual. Now remember, this was after many months of use, so the chair was already doing quite well. I was on the computer and on the phone, and then, slowly the seat began to give way sideways and while I was still holding a business conversation with the person on the other end of the line, I found I was conducting business from the floor. It was a quite graceful collapse, and there was no need for any fuss. After the call I inspected the chair closely and found that metal fatigue had completely detached the centre of the bracket from the surrounding plate.
I picked up the two halves of the chair, and, knowing how good Argos are about replacing such things, I prepared to return the pieces and get a replacement. There is a slight complication, however, which I'll explain:
In the assembly instructions for the budget gas lift office chair, there's one section that says something like "after you have attached the seat to the gas spring, it can not be disassembled". Plus, in the Argos guarantee it states that the customer MUST return the product in the box! Clearly there's a bit of a snag with that, and besides I had long since recycled most of the box, and I couldn't find the actual receipt. However, I knew precisely what day I'd bought the chair, and I found a ticket that said "this is not a receipt". So I had a talk to the friendly people at Argos, and then I went along there with the two halves of the chair, the remaining piece of the cardboard box, and the piece of paper that said "this is not a receipt".
The staff of Argos were very good about it and within a few minutes they got me a new chair from the warehouse, an exact replacement, brand new, in a box, and soon I was carrying it home in a bag. These office chairs are so light that even I can carry one, whether in two pieces, or as a kit of parts in a box. (If I'd ordered it online it would probably have arrived in the post).
Of course I had to assemble the new chair myself, but this isn't difficult, and when running your own company it's typical of the type of thing you have to do, like making cups of tea. Assembly of furniture from a kit of parts is easy if you follow the instructions step-by-step and don't worry about the fact that the thing isn't finished yet!
So, yet again, from my own personal experience I can recommend Argos as a place you can buy from and have confidence that if anything goes wrong they'll be happy to sort it out. In the case of this office chair they went further than the call of duty as I'd not kept the actual receipt where I could find it, and yet, everything was all sorted out well. As Monday morning came, there was a new office chair there in front of the "helm of the ship" operator's console, ready to be sat upon and swivelled on and generally put to use for months to come.
So, another success story. Well Done to Argos!
Also, I think it's pretty good that the manufacturers in China can make a chair as good as that for whatever the cost price is (less than £9.99). If you put a box that big in the post it would cost more than that in stamps to send it.
Other points: The ticket on the chair in the photo is the notice that comes with furniture as required by UK law regarding the fire risks. Flammable furniture is branded a hazard to health! This particular model of office chair is classed as fire-resistant or non-inflammable, which means that it probably wouldn't burn even if you put a match to it. However, as per usual, we are warned not to put a cigarette on it.
Other warnings on the chair include a cautious warning not to stand on the chair or to use it as a step-ladder, and also it is said that only one person shall sit on the seat at any one time. It's a wonder there isn't a warning label somewhere on the chair disclaiming any loss of dinner by anyone using the chair as an aid to astronaut-training by spinning round and round and round on the swivel axis for too long.
If you have an office chair that's lasted over a year and it's become a "let down", ie it starts to lower you after a while and won't stay up, here's a page on how to mend an office chair. Office chairs can last for years, but sooner or later the gas-lift types develop a leak, and then they let you down. But not to worry, because you can now mend them.
Meanwhile, for new office chairs and for a very large range of other stuff which you can order online, see Argos
Update 2010: The replacement Argos cheap budget gas-lift chair lasted about 18 months and finally collapsed. Considering how long it had lasted, and how much sitting-on and swivelling-about it had gone through during that time, it was pretty good value! The back rest went first, and then shortly after, the wheels started coming off, and finally the 5-sided base lost one of its sections, rendering the chair rather awkward to sit on at a slight slope to the vertical. This was well past the guarantee period so there was no point in trying to get a free replacement. However, I resolved to buy a new chair of the same type from Argos, as the previous one had been such good value.
I don't make any representations on the constancy of the price, and it had gone up in price from £9.99 to £13.99, but it's still a bargain. I know there is a joke that gas lift chairs go down, but this chair had gone up. Also, the design had changed slightly and had allen-key bolts, but then again it included an allen key in the pack, so who's grumbling? The new chair was assembled in a few minutes while making a cup of tea and was in use in the office the very next day.
More about this sort of thing at Argos
Now, having read this honest article about an Argos office chair, what do you think? I heard that someone thought it didn't show Argos in a very good light. In fact, it appears Zyra's website has been suspended from the Argos affiliate program!
Now look, this is an independent review, by a customer and affiliate. It's not sales hype, so don't expect it to be all glossy. It's the truth, and I think it makes Argos look quite good. No-one should pretend the products are perfect, because they are not. What they are is GOOD VALUE. And, Argos are very decent about exchanging things, and that is to their credit. For this reason you can buy from Argos with confidence.
I suggest you write to me and tell me what you think about this review. In the meantime, while Argos are suspending the affiliate from the affiliate program for writing a true story which is actually quite good about the place, I am going to bung up the Argos page.