Okay folks, I’ve decided: chairs should not have wheels.
Wheels belong on cars, bicycles, and baby carriages.
What a wonderful invention: the wheel. A beautiful, perfect circle, having frictioned contact with a horizontal surface. Wheels are great for making things move at really high speeds, like infants in baby carriages being pushed through crowds by mothers who are trying to catch a bus.
Chairs are things that people put their asses on in order to do work, rest, or eat dinner. Chairs function well when they remain in a single place. While eating dinner, one expects not to move to another part of the room (unless the mustard needs to be retrieved from the fridge). While participating in a meeting, one can achieve optimal results by remaining in a specific place. In short, chairs work best when they are not in motion.
Hyperactivity + Chair + Wheels = Disaster
Perhaps I despise wheeled chairs because I’m a fidgety person. I can never stay still. So, if you put me in a chair that thinks it’s a vehicle, there is a strong likelihood that I will end up on the other side of the room within five minutes. If it is one of those chairs that spins, I am likely to end up rotating against my will. This happens often when I stretch my feet out to look at my shoes: I notice a slight dizzy feeling, and then when I look up, I m surprised to be looking at a wall, instead of the faces of the other people in the room.
The Dreaded Ergonomics “Expert”
I once worked in a company that was flush from the dot.com bubble. They hired an ergonomics expert to recommend chairs for all the employees. We’re talking expensive chairs here: chairs that have levers for changing height and incline, high-tech wheels, and adjustable arm-rests. These chairs were absolutely frightening.
The ergonomics expert and I had a heated argument about what kind of chair I “needed”. I was trying to convince her to get me a chair similar to the one shown in the illustration at right. She was not having any of it. She was convinced that I would be better served by being buckled into an absolute monster. I told her that I could easily get my fingers caught in the complicated machinery, or that my computer power chord would get tangled up in the wheels, of which there were FIVE.
Somehow, I was able to get rid of her, and I think it is because she began to fear me. After the other employees got their fancy chairs, it took them a while to get used to seeing me sitting on a piece of plywood supported by cinderblocks. Eventually they got used to it. And I was able to get a lot of work done.