Couldn’t They Just Invent New Chairs?

We acknowledge that the posteriors of the most important minds of the future need to be comfortable. But this all seems a bit much. The MIT student newspaper, The Tech, reports that the Institute is facing an unprecedented outbreak of thefts, including the loss of $20,000 worth of swivel chairs. Before we go any further, let’s just stop and be thankful no circuit-boards or play-dough were known to have been involved in any of the thefts.

Now then: How on earth do you lose $20,000 worth of chairs?

Well, you start by buying $400 Steelcase chairs. Then you just sort of watch them roll away, one after another.

According to The Tech, since a 24-hour reading room in the school’s student center opened at the beginning of the 2006 school year, 46 Steelcase chairs—each one costing $437.25 to replace—have been lifted. To fix the problem, the paper reported that Campus Activities Complex Assistant Director Jennifer B. Smith is considering installing a $10,000 “library-style security system, in which the chairs would be tagged so that they could not leave the reading room without setting off an alarm.”

Um, we didn’t go to MIT (worse, we were history majors), so forgive us for questioning the geniuses over in Cambridge. Still, let’s do some quick math: square root of X…carry the denominator…yup, that means MIT is about to spend $10,000 to secure $400 chairs.

Clearly, the numbers are screwy. But worry not, MIT, here are some money-saving suggestions:

To begin, you could chain the chairs to something. Sure it doesn’t look good, but it doesn’t cost $10,000 either. Call that one a push. Alternatively, the school could put in a simple camera to catch the chair-nappers rolling them away. But here’s my best advice: don’t buy $400 chairs. Buy other chairs. Cheaper chairs. Chairs no one will steal.

You could get 500 of them for $30,000. Honest.