Monday, 24 March 2008

$750.00 For A Foam Seat!! - If I'll Ever Get it!

$750.00 For a Foam and Gel Seat!!!

Stick the word "Medical" on anything at all and mark up the product 1000%.
If you need it, you'll pay. After all, sometimes private insurance will pay or if not some government agency (read taxpayers) will defray the costs. That makes it OK.

In September I ordered a manual chair (Quickie 2) with a combination foam and gel seat - a J2 Deep model. It was to arrive in 2 weeks. Months later I got the wrong chair, from the wrong manufacturer & outfitted with a rather thin J2 model. I kept the seat to use on my motorized chair which I would exchange with the proper seating cushion when the correct chair and cushion arrived. In February of the new year I received the proper chair but with no cushion even though the invoice clearly indicated a J2 Deep and my having pointed this out in person to the company representative! The chair was still unusable as the back did not allow me to sit far enough back to feel comfortable and because of that my center of gravity was too far forward resulting in the chair tipping forward whenever I reach for anything.

Now it is mid-March and after more than 6 months I still don't have a usable chair nor the proper cushion!! This is not some custom item that some worker in China has to design & manufacture. This is a standard, from the catalog, seating cushion of which there must be hundreds of thousands in use throughout North America! Here in the age of faxes and Fed-Ex, I'm waiting months for a standard cushion!! There must be one more in some warehouse!

The price of the missing cushion as indicated on my invoice is $750.00!!!! The difference between the J2 and the J2-Deep is just that - the depth of the foam base making it a bit thicker for a big guy like myself. And what do you get for that $750.00? A dense foam base which is just slightly softer than a sheet of plywood. On top of that layer is a softer foam front over which one's thighs hang and a plastic bag containing a thick gel which molds to and supports you're butt.

I have to wonder how many study groups, design specialists , CAD programmers, medical experts and material suppliers were commissioned to come up with these two slabs of foam and bag of jell0 withing a cloth sack? Have to justify that price somehow....

As for that gel seat? - it is so hard that it is almost impossible to sit on it for any length of time. The gel does conform to one's bottom but as I have plenty of movement the gel squishes to the edges leaving my butt sitting on the incredibly hard & solid foam board. The gel has to be kneaded and redistributed each time I leave the seat. Still the gel is insufficient for any comfort.
While at home, I have on several occasions replaced the $750.00 seat with a cushion from my living room couch, which in it's entirety cost less than the gel cushion. It also offers better support and comfort than the "medically correct' cushion. If I could get to a furniture re-finisher's upholstery shop, I'm certain I could find some spare or discarded cushion for a few dollars. I could sew it into a black cover so as to appear professional and it would probably suit my needs better than the gel seat I have or the one I have been waiting for for half a year!!!

As for the sear, I'm still waiting.....

$750.00 - For that price it must be blessed by the Surgeon-General or at least the Ministry of Health. That knowledge will make my butt feel better!

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