Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I have found the perfect chair for Cate

Cate spends an enormous amount of time sitting in office chairs. She starts work about 8:30 AM – gets a home about 7:00 PM – has a very quick dinner and usually works until midnight or 1:00 AM in her office upstairs in the apartment.

Her office chair seems to be OK but the one at home gives her enormous problems and she gets excruciating back pain.  This can only be alleviated by one masseuse in Vienna – and that selfish woman got herself pregnant and has not been available for months.

So I took on the task of finding Cate an ergonomic office chair to see if this could help solve the problem. William got one online and I investigated this possibility but I really needed something a bit different with a head rest and other widgets – and I could not find what I wanted - and I really needed to test-sit it.

Cate spends most of her time on the telephone on conference calls which can go for (and I am not making this up) three and four hours. Sometimes she will emerge from her office at home talking and I will think she is talking to me - but then I will realize that it is just incomprehensible burble and she is on a call and is just heading to the fridge for a glass of wine to keep her alive during the call.

Mind you when she talks to me about other things it can also be incomprehensible burble so I do have to pay attention because it is my job to attend to her needs. After all - it is she that keeps me in such immense comfort and up to my ears in Macs. 

Cate is one of those women who when they want to say something to their partner just says it wherever she is.

She will be in her bathroom using her hair dryer and I will be in the cat’s bathroom having a shower and she will ask me a question. When I emerge ten minutes later I will be accused of not answering her question. What question? The question I asked you ten minutes ago. You mean when I was in the shower? I don’t know where you were. Well there was not much point in asking me a question if you didn’t  know where I was. I don’t have time to go looking for you I am getting ready for work.

Anyway she needs back support and neck support and head support – and potentially psychiatric help but that is another matter entirely.

So I researched chairs available locally and the morning Cate left for Saudi Arabia I set forth for Berggasse to the place I found on the Internet. The address shown on the Internet was a mattress shop but as soon as I mentioned office chairs a young man was produced and he led me 100 meters around the corner to the chair shop and to his fine range of ergonomic chairs.  

I found the perfect chair - with absolutely everything adjustable – height – seat - headrest - lumbar support – arms - brilliant. The man was a board certified expert in ergonomics and demonstrated all the gadgets on the chair and what marvelous benefits they would have for Cate – he knew all about bad backs - I was beginning to think he knew Cate.  

I said it was brilliant and now came the excruciating part. Knowing what the outcome was likely to be I took a firm stance, gripped the arm of the chair in which I was so interested and enquired – as casually as possible – how much he was asking for this exquisite piece of modern ergonomic design.

Him: €960

Me: Really?

Examining my finger nails and curling my toes and thinking ‘Oh my sainted aunt how could a fershlugginer office chair cost so much? Is it made by teams of highly paid Elves in the black forest laboring over hot anvils and then shipped first class in it’s own seat to Austria by Lufthansa?’

Me: That sounds like a very reasonable price – is it on special for some reason – it’s not faulty is it?

Him: Oh no sir – it is in perfect working order.

Me: Well then I certainly hope it is not (shudder – nose wrinkle) made somewhere outside Europe?

Him: Oh no of course the main parts are German made - but there are parts that come from…..

Me: Don’t tell me they come from (another nose wrinkle) China!

Him: Oh no certainly not - they come from Italy and Spain but perhaps there might be maybe a tiny teensy weensy little piece that comes from………er…… Asia

Me: Well as long it is only a tiny teensy weensy little piece and will not affect the overall European-ness of the chair. We Europeans must after all protect our heritage. 

Him: No of course not - the important mechanical parts are German precision made and will last at least 1,000 years – and are guaranteed for 12 months.

I think he was impressed by my stoic performance and carried the chair to the car for me. He did this because I told him about my broken ribs but also because It will take a while before my toes uncurl and I can walk properly.  Even after this length of time here the prices still astound me.

Before we came to Vienna it is absolutely inconceivable that we would pay prices like we do for the things that we do. It is one of the most expensive cities on the planet – and I buy everything that I can online from Amazon.

The other weird thing about Vienna is that you have to pay cash for almost everything. Almost no one takes credit cards and limit for Bankomat – bank cash cards - is €1,100. I love that no matter how much you have in your bank account you can only spend €1,100 – that is just so Austrian.

So if you want to buy furniture for €3,000, as we did recently – you have to go to the bank and get cash out and take it to the stores. In Australia if you carry that much cash around you are probably a drug courier. In Austria you are just a furniture shopper.


  1. wow that sucks :/ my bank only allows me to pull out about $300 a day...note I am a college student but still. its weird

  2. Good guy for getting the chair. Chops to you.

    We also feel like drug couriers, have to carry all the cash to the bank to send the money to the bank, WTF?

  3. If that chair is fitted with a Satnav, you might have got a bargain.

    The reason they limit the amount taken out per day is for security. If you lost your card, you might be glad that the thief could not drain your funds by more than the limit.

    Talking of which, my ex-wife's credit card was once stolen. I did not report it because the thief was spending less on it than she was.

  4. HAHAHA! we definitely know a little something about this. A/ people are allergic to credit cards here, even though the saturn will have a cash machine in the store so that you can pay cash for your flat screen TV; B/we've actually had a store refuse to sell us a chair they had in the window because "the general director likes this chair very much" (???) and C/sometimes stores take credit cards technically but when you try to use them you get the "But Ve prefer cash" line - to which I reply "But I prefer credit cards".

  5. Maalie, you've trumped the Badger's blog!

    Badger, we eagerly await a report on Cate's road test of the new chair :-)

  6. lol @ maalie - your comment about your ex-wife had me off my seat :P

    Can't wait to hear what Cate thought of your purchase :)

  7. I'd say the next step is an Eames lounge chair cum ottoman . Double beauty: the most comfortable chair ever, and it can be ordered from with credit card! Only the best for Cate! :-)

    I remember my first days here. Utter chaos. Desperately trying to purchase a €400+ Swedish vaccum cleaner from Mediamarkt. First, the €400 limit, to the bank, new limit at 1.000 something, back to Mediamarkt. Still not working. Back to bank. Closed (they have few and far between hours offering hands-on customer service). Somehow I managed to get ahold of the cash. People looked at me suspiciously when I showed up with it: There is that strange woman again, the one who has no money in her account and takes three days to bundle together €400 - or worse. I don't even want to know what the customers behind me in line were thinking back then!

    I don't even want to start talking about the €1 coin you need to disengage the iron chain of shopping carts! In my desperation I once went around with armfuls of groceries, unloading them at the conveyor belt of a closed checkout (at least those are abundant) and run for more, only to find that my first load was already back on the shelves. Talk about elves! ;-)

  8. whatalindsey: Oh you texans have lots of cash! Nothing is too weird for Austria. Remember Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    fmcgmcclic: It's to let you know who's in charge. It's not you.

    Maalie: That is not the reason. The thief can go the cash machine and get more. And that joke is almost as old as you are.

    TNDW: I have had people ask me not you use Bankomat but to go and get 'real cash' instead.

    Annie: I have to teach her how to use it first.

    notforeverybody: I shall provide a full report.

    Merisi: It's a terrifying place when you don't know how it works.

  9. I've been wondering why €960 is a lot to pay for a chair when you paid €135 to sleep for 4 hours in Dubai. Or have I missed something?

  10. Annie: It's not supposed to make sense! Cate was tired.

  11. Do like this long narrow Picasa display. (And it goes without saying that I enjoyed the chair story. And I hope Cate will enjoy the chair.)