As gossip-hungry Americans, there’s nothing we love more than a shocking and titillating story about financial irresponsibility. Recently, a civil servant named Bob Balink from El Paso was “exposed” for spending nearly 30 grand on office furniture. The man’s predecessor had simply made do with the furnishings already in place, making Bob’s spending seem even more extravagant. The big ticket item from Balink’s shopping spree was an 18’ conference room table that cost more than $9000.
But sometimes, the real story is buried in the details. Reporter Pam Zubeck revealed that Bob spent more than $4000 on a desk and $285 on a high backed executive chair. He probably could have bought a nice office desk for a couple thousand, but his real crime was buying such a cheap chair for himself. The best ergonomic chairs have an MSRP 3-4 times that high (although you can save a lot of money buying a refurbished model). So, here’s a piece of advice for government employees who plan to splurge on office furniture. Spend the big bucks on your chair – not your desk. That way, when you end up in the hot seat over your spending habits, at least it will be a comfy one.