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MY HON-EY: A Costco Odyssey

Some 30 years ago, I bought a Hon office chair from Costco, one with a gray, cloth fabric that I could sit on after a sweaty workout without my skin sticking to it. Its tension-control knob allowed me to lean back and put my feet up on my tech-frustration-battered desk

It has accompanied me on eight residential changes, surviving trips in U-Haul trucks without so much as a tear or a loosened caster. I’ve spent 12 to 14 hours a day in that chair, dealing with 300 to 350 emails – many related to management of a stock portfolio and self-education on health and nutrition – and tending to various and sundry other items, such as payment of bills, which I leave to last. I also ghost-wrote a short memoir and authored a collection of short stories – The Way We Were: Short Stories and Tall Tales – and three novels: Breaking Out, Murder in Palm Beach: The Homicide That Never Died and, most recently, Blood on Their Hands. A book of creative nonfiction is underway: The Little Rag Doll.

About five years ago, the fabric on the seat, permeated with sweat and grime, wore through to the foam in one spot. No problem. I bought a packet of iron-on patches from a Jo-Ann Fabrics store, and covered the worn place in no time. The patch didn’t match the chair, but hey, I’m not trying to make a fashion statement.

Alas, another worn spot developed not long afterward. Several patches remained in the packet, and I

Would Costco still carry that same Hon model? I knew that wasn’t plausible, but thought something similar might be in stock. No luck. So I searched on the store website, and found a model that appeared suitable. It arrived in a big rectangular box, and I put it together. Too small, and not very comfortable. I didn’t have to take it apart – just wheeled it into my local store, or warehouse, as they prefer to call their big boxes full of grocery, household and apparel items, etc.

A Wayfair ad ran on TV, and I did an intensive website search, at last settling on a specimen that seemed to fit the bill. Eagerly, I applied the Allen wrench to the assortment of screws, and had it assembled in – squelch the guffaws, please – 75 minutes. Okay, 90 – so I’m not mechanical. I sat, and leaned back, but couldn’t go very far. The tension, adjusted to maximum looseness, was too tight.

Wayfair refunded my money and didn’t even require a return, so – with a slight pang of guilt – I sold it to a friend for $25. He asked if it

Another Wayfair brand followed, and it, too, failed to measure up to my beloved Hon. Back it went, and Wayfair didn’t even make me pay the shipping cost.

Two more chairs followed – in-store models from Staples and Office Depot – and were returned. The problem in these instances was that the tension in the floor models was looser than the ones that came in a box. In fact, I avoided purchase of one chair because the two floor models, one brown and the other black, had different tension levels.

I decided to take my tattered, filthy Hon to the stores and compare its comfort with that of the floor models. Wheeling it into the Office Depot, I deadpanned to the young lady, “I want to return this chair. It’s obviously defective.” I felt like I was John Cleese with the dead parrot in the Monty Python scene.

She gazed at it, her face full of concern, and asked, “How old is this chair?” “Oh,” I answered, “about 30 years,” and broke out laughing.

As I write this, I’m trying to become accustomed to the new chair, which is No. 6 in the series. Leaning back in it, I suddenly realized what it was about the Hon that so endeared me: the lack of tension, the same as in all relationships. But it also occurred to me that I would have to work at it.

In fact, I’m so determined to make a go of this chair that I wheeled the Hon into the spare bedroom. I can’t quite bid a final goodbye to my daylong, close companion of three decades, but know that the day soon will come when I stare at it and solemnly intone, “It’s time.”


Speaking of Costco, a few months ago I lamented in this space the policy at my store in Lantana, Florida, of closing some of the self-checkout stations and having employees scan customers’ items so as to prevent any touching of the checkout equipment. I complained to the regional manager, pointing out that the science since early last spring had determined it was only remotely possible to contract the Covid-19 virus from inanimate surfaces, and closing the stations caused customers to back up and congregate, which indeed did risk spreading the virus.

But in the Boca Raton store, I and other customers were able to check ourselves out, while a couple of employees expedited checkouts of customers with carts full of items by scanning them. I reported the distinction to the Atlanta manager, and he said the Boca Raton protocol was correct, and he would have it duplicated at the Lantana store. I am happy to report that, at long last, that procedural policy now is followed, with all stations open.

What can I say? I’m a hard guy to please — which you may have divined by now.

#ragdoll #Diageo #Hon #ILoveLucy #Lantana #Staples #JoAnnFabrics #Wayfair #Costco #Alllenwrench #OfficeDepot #UHaul

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