How to buy three chairs.

On March 5th I got a note that one of the computer labs in the College was minus three chairs. They were borrowed or mangled or misplaced or had succumbed to any one of a hundred other misfortunes that can afflict the modern office chair.

As the person ultimately responsible for the computer labs, it fell to me to order their replacements.

Now I should tell you: I had never ordered a chair before. Oh, I could order computers blindfolded, and network switches on tiptoe, and even drafting software while downing a dagwood, but never a chair. So each and every one of the following bureaucratic bungles are either beyond the realm of mortal control, or are entirely my fault.

My three-chair order eventually required:

  • Two requisition submissions;
  • One requisition denial for incorrect account numbers;
  • One requisition denial for falling under the low value purchase limit;
  • One requisition resubmission after the total of the three exceeded the low value limit;
  • Three minutes of on-site visit by...
  • Two office furniture company representatives to determine the correct chair model (I described them on the phone as "bendy, black, and with elbow platforms");
  • One discovery that this precise chair model was on back-order; and
  • One last-minute purchase order cancellation because the purchase order had already been issued by a different department a week earlier.

The chairs arrived today, May 4th, just a hair under two months after the initial request. Now I just have to assemble them.

How long could that take?

Archived Comments

  1. Geof Harries on 20090505.Tuesday:
    Your post is funny, but what's even funnier is the Friendly Green Giant furniture set. So awesome. Rusty the chicken still scares me.
  2. Dave on 20090505.Tuesday:
    (Whoops. Geof, I think you've commingled the CBC's Friendly Giant with the niblet-picking Jolly Green Giant.) I fondly remember the episodes in which the raccoons showed up for jam sessions. "Recorder Solo!"