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Archive for November 30, 2019

Nov. 30, 2019 — Finding a needle on Black Friday

If you have been watching our Final Third broadcasts this year, you may have noticed a couple of times when I’ve been a little fidgety in the seat. That’s because the chairs that I have been using developed a degree of discomfort because of the angle of the seat padding. You may have noticed that, during one broadcast, I had to replace the seat cushion in mid-corner.

Well, I’ve been on a bit of a journey this year to find a chair with a tall-enough pneumatic tube, a wide and thick seat, and with good back support. But instead of buying an expensive model at an office supply store, we took the adjustable backless barstool we’ve been using this year, but planned to add a cushy seat to it.

As with all things worth doing, this was not easy. The office chair we decided on for the seat was designed differently from the barstool. Whereas the barstool’s seat was attached to the pneumatic adjustable bottom with four bolts, the office chair comes in three pieces: the back, the seat, and an integrated bottom of the chair and a crossmember on which the other pieces are bolted.

What we needed was a piece of sheet metal that would handle the weight as well as be big enough to reach the bolt holes in the seat.

I spent a good part of Black Friday looking through a couple of the large warehouse-sized hardware superstores, dodging the displays featuring fake trees, tool boxes, and other doodads.

Oddly, one of the store chains showed on their website that there were four pieces of sheet metal that would fit my needs, but there were none on the showroom floor at either my local store or the one about five miles down the road. Indeed, it seemed as though there was little accountability for the incorrect entry on the website.

But I went to the chain’s main competitor, which showed three pieces of the sheet metal that I needed. And wouldn’t you know, there were actually three 16-gauge pieces of sheet metal of the measurement I needed?

As retail is getting more and more computerized, either through online shopping or with companies using metrics to try to anticipate consumer needs, I’m flummoxed at the diametrically opposing ways that two major hardware companies account for their inventory.

Then again, perhaps it isn’t all that surprising, given the pressure that brick-and-mortar entities are under from the likes of Amazon.