IKEA Markus office chair review

Coming in at $180 for a cloth version, and $200 for a leather version, the IKEA Markus markus-swivel-chair-gray__0324506_PE517017_S4swivel chair has been called one of the best functioning office chairs in the lower price-rungs.

I’ve had, and used, the dark grey cloth variation for a bit over a week. A few thoughts have come up over this time, and I figured I would express them for anyone else looking into a new office chair, in a pro-con bullet style.

The good

  • The chair is phenomenally supportive. The tall-back, combined with the lumbar support make for a nicely ergonomic chair
  • The mesh backing allows enough air to prevent the back-sweat epidemic cheapo pleather chairs cause
  • It’s fairly adjustable. You can adjust the height, and lock the chairs back into various states of recline.

It isn’t perfect, however.

The bad

  • DSCN0769The arms are not at all adjustable, and fairly short. It leads your elbow to dip in an uncomfortable way, as pictured. This causes you to need to actively hold your elbow up. This is annoying.
  • The arms, again, are awful. I have an IKEA desk, as well. But unless I am at a very specific height, the arms of the chair scrape on the bottom of my desk. The arms are made of rubber, and it causes concern for rubber scraping off to make an ugly arm. If I’m too far down in height, it’s an ergonomic nightmare.
  • Some may not enjoy the firmness of this chair. It’s very supportive. You cannot, however, melt into this chair like in a Lazy Boy chair.

I don’t want to go on and on about office chairs. If you’re looking for office chairs under $250, check this guy out. IKEA has a decent return policy, so if you can be away from $200 for a while, and have no IKEA around you, just buy it and return it if it isn’t for you.

Any price higher, and you may be able to afford a second-hand super-chair, like a Steelcase Leap. Or heck, even a new one if you have a grand to drop.

Whatever you do, don’t buy the $30 Staples special. Your back, wrists, and shoulders will thank you for taking proper care of them. If you have any questions, direct them to the comment section.

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The woes of unsubscribing

I would like to guide you through the process to unsubscribe from an email newsletter list, from two separate companies. One of which is open and honest in it’s tactics, and one which is dishonest and aims to have a “gotcha” moment to prevent you from easily unsubscribing. Let’s look at Spirit Airlines, and BP, British Petroleum.

Let’s start with Spirit Airlines, as they have a ethical, open, and honest approach towards unsubscribing from their newsletter.

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From the get-go, you can clearly see the big red unsubscribe button. Yes, it matches the red of the other clickable items. But it is bolder, and in larger font. Plus it is in the near universal area to put an unsubscribe option. Let’s click it.

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That was easy. To unsubscribe, it took two clicks. Once in the e-mail, once on a web-page begging us to stay.

Let’s check out BP’s methods in unsubscribing from their Driver Rewards program.

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Kind of hard to see, huh? But it’s still at the bottom, despite being in comparably ‘fine print’. Onwards to the process!

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 2.19.18 PMBeautiful.  Looks like it will be an easy process. Based on the language and design of this page, we can insinuate after we press the button we will be unsubscribed from BP Rewards emails.

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Cool. We see this page ,and the fine print letting us know how to resubscribe – – Wait. Pressing the button HASN’T unsubscribed us. The page design follows the traditional ‘you’re out!’ scheme, and comes after pressing a button that implies we will unsubscribe. This is incredibly dishonest!

But I’m sick and tired of receiving BP spam. Let’s go down the rabbit hole.

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I’m bombarded with visual stimuli. I click “Don’t Allow”. The prompt quick comes back, asking to use my current location again. “Don’t Allow”. It keeps asking me. I am then forced to remember my decision for the day that I would not like BP knowing my location. I already know where my local BP station is – I had to sign up in it, for hell’s sake!

I find the log-in area after a second of searching. Again, it is smaller, and in lower contrast to throw us off our trail. The bright colorful map aims to get us to learn more about BP Rewards.

I am prompted to log-in. I don’t recall ever making an account. There is no “Reset password” functionality, so I am forced to spend time entering whatever password I used for this junk site.Screen_Shot_2015-04-21_at_2_58_09_PM

I go where I was previously instructed to go, and lo and behold, the thing they told me to uncheck is…

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Already unchecked? Am I already unsubscribed? Or am I just screwing up the whole process? I followed the instructions to a tee. It took 10 mouse clicks, not to mention the keyboard strokes trying to come up with my password and username.

I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF I SUCCESSFULLY UNSUBSCRIBED. 

This is a series of underhanded techniques to try and force me to view BP’s website and rewards program after I had already openly made clear my desire to end my relationship with this program, or at least their emails. It is akin to Comcast grilling you for 15 minutes on the phone when you try and unsubscribe from their services – over an email newsletter.

Simply painful. Aside from the 200,000,000 gallons of crude oil you’ve spilled in the gulf, this attempt at misdirection has made me distrustful of your company yet again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Banking

simple-small-applications

Simple is a bank, founded in 2009 with the funds being held by The Bancorp. Now, Simple is owned by a Spanish bank, BBVA. My one year anniversary with Simple is coming up, and I thought I would share my thoughts on what went right, and what needs to be improved on.

Why I love Simple

  • Their ‘Goals’ function allows you to set a monetary goal, a date by which you want to reach it, and they do the rest. For example, if you want to save up $500 in a month, it will take $16.13 a day, and tuck it into a (slightly) hidden part of their app. This leads up to our next point
  • Safe to spend. When you launch the app, you are greeted with your recent transactions, and how much money is safe to spend. How is this calculated? Simple, they just take the account balance, and then subtract pending transactions, as well as the money you have tucked away into specific goals.iphone-goals iphone-safe-to-spend
  • The entire experience is beautiful. While this is definitely a superfluous addition compared to the rest of the positives, it is definitely notable. Their searching, sorting, and other ways to view how you are spending your money are very useful, although not the most powerful. You can see in the images above (Click to expand), and even their card is nice looking:

simple-card

  • Their customer support is nice, and there is an in-app messenger that allows you to get a direct link with an agent, without having to chat on the phone, or wait to see if an email went through successfully.

Where Simple could improve

  • As I go through schooling, I work as a waiter in order to make enough money to pay for my classes. This gives me a fairly unique problem: Cash. Some people employ a envelope based system, but this has many cons, the biggest being the potential for theft. Simple is all online, with no cash-accepting ATMs in their network. They suggest buying money orders – but should I really have to spend money to put money in your bank? I’ve ended up going to a local bank, to deposit money and transfer it to my Simple account. This takes DAYS.
  • A second, more common problem is found when payday comes around – check depositing. If it’s Monday through Friday before 4:00PM CDT, you can use the mobile deposit function to get cash next-day, up to $200 (The rest comes the day after the next day. $300? $200 tomorrow, $100 2 days from now.). This means, worst case scenario, you deposit a check Friday at 5 PM, and won’t be able to get your money until Tuesday the next week. Absolutely unacceptable. USAA instantly allows access to my checks money, even at 3 AM on a Sunday.

  • Interest rates. To be fair, you should treat this as a checking account, which should not be used for saving money. But in the accumulation of my Goals, I save up lots of money. In fact, their FAQ doesn’t even mention a specific interest rate. Hint: It’s really low.
  • No automatic transfer-outs. As it’s only checking, there is little in the way of interest. It would be much appreciated if, as the Goals are met, they shoot to my savings account to allow for more accumulation of interest. Obviously, the only way this will profit for Simple is if they work with their partner bank to make their own savings accounts.

In short,

I love Simple. The Goals function has allowed me to save my money for classes, my laptop, even my car. They manage to do this in a beautiful interface, with functions that allow you to see where your money is going, among many other features. But you must weigh these plusses against the slow, slow time it takes to get money out and in your account, and the nominal interest.

For me, it worked out to staying with Simple. For others, it may not be right for you.

 

Thanks to the Simple press page for these images.

 

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