General Question

marionana's avatar

Don't want to hurt new neighbors feelings...

Asked by marionana (103points) June 26th, 2011

New neighbor moved in, nice guy..however, our custom kitchen chairs max weight is 250 lbs. He’s got to be over 350 lbs. We stood around the island this morning, how many times can we stand up.

I don’t want to hurt his feelings…how should I handle the situation…????

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38 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

Fat people are usually pretty aware that they are fat. I think the most proper thing to say is “sorry, the chairs wont take your weight”.

Secretive behaviour, insinuations, and strange excuses will make it more offensive. It makes it seem like their “taboo” eating is disgusting to you, it makes you seem two faced, and brings far far more attention to the situation than if you just get it over and done with.

pshizzle's avatar

Buy a chair that will handle his weight.

marinelife's avatar

Get a chair that he can sit on and direct him to it.

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derekfnord's avatar

I weigh over 400 pounds, and as @poisonedantidote notes, I’m not blind to that fact. ;) As others have noted, I’d suggest directing him to a seat that will hold him. Or, honestly, just stand. On the scale of embarrassment, it would certainly go like this (from most to least embarrassing):

1. Sit on chair and break it.
2. Be asked not to sit on chair, lest ye break it.
3. Be directed to chair elsewhere.
4. Just stand.

I actually have an extra-sturdy folding chair that I keep in my truck, specifically so I’ll have access to a strong chair should I go to someone’s house who doesn’t have one. I’ve had friends ask, “Isn’t it embarrassing to have to bring in your own chair?” And I answer, “Not nearly as embarrassing as it would be if I broke one of theirs.”

I’ve had people offer to let me sit in chairs anyway, even when I’m not sure they’ll hold me, and I’ve pointed out that the chair I have in the truck is for my benefit. It’s not that I think you’re worried I’ll break your chair… it’s that I don’t want to break your chair. :)

marionana's avatar

Thanks guys…great suggestions. I have a heavy duty chair in the attic, will dug it out, place it in the back hall..take it out when the occasion arises.

Derekfnord…thanks for the insight. I would never want to hurt his feelings, he’s a great guy. He told me today he makes his own pickeled watermelon…that sealed the deal for me. To have someone interesed in canning..(my hubby wants nothing to do with it) would be great to can with him.

Aster's avatar

How should you handle it? HE should handle it. By now this guy knows to look around for a safe place to sit or should bring his own chair. I feel sorry for him but this isn’t rocket science. He should not put his neighbors in uncomfortable positions.

marionana's avatar

Thanks Aster…he’s been in our kitchen a few times and has stood around the island, so I think he’s aware. Our chairs are on the narrow side. Should of taken that into consideration before we had them made….hindsight is 20/20…:-)

derekfnord's avatar

@Aster basically said what I was trying to say, just in fewer words. :) It’s not everyone in the world’s responsibility to accommodate us big folk. If you have an extra-sturdy seat he can use, great; if not, it’s his problem. He can provide his own solution, or he can stand. :)

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Coloma's avatar

Yes, I’d just be tactful but open about a good seating situation for him.

I had a work friend over for a BBQ last week and they brought their damn dog without asking. The dog was well behaved, but, it freaked out my cat and birds that are not used to dogs, and then, after I TOLD them the dog could not come in my house, they let her follow them in anyway. Sometimes! lol

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WasCy's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

Where did you get the idea that your chairs will only handle 250#? That’s a very lightweight chair, and frankly, I don’t ever recall seeing a “weight rating” on a chair. There have been times in my life when I’ve been pushing that 250# envelope, too.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@WasCy I have seen several chairs that have a weight rating. Most have been #250–300.

marionana's avatar

WasCY…had the chairs custom made in Mass. Question them about the max weight. The guy told me a few of his workers in the shop were around 250 and they held up. Suggested over that….. ??????. The chairs were’nt cheap…now their around $650.00 each….no way could I afford to replace one.

marionana's avatar

WestRiverrat,thanks for backing me up…:-)

Photosopher's avatar

Would you raise your door height if a really tall 7+ footer moved in?

Mikewlf337's avatar

You are going to hurt him no matter what.

WasCy's avatar

Okay, having now done some research on the topic, I see that some restaurants, for example, have posted signs that their chairs are “only built to handle 250#” and disclaiming liability if someone heavier than that sits in them and breaks them. That’s the big thing: the restaurants want to avoid a liability suit.

But I’ve never actually seen “a chair itself” (or a disclaimer by a manufacturer) that has any rating at all, or especially one so low. Further, my research shows baby’s high chairs that do have weight ratings… of up to 350#!

I really can’t imagine a 350# person breaking a well-built wooden chair that’s in good condition, through “normal” use. If he’s not careful, if the chair isn’t well built, if it’s in poor condition, or if the chair is used or loaded abnormally, then all bets are off. But a heavy person who takes routine care is unlikely to break your chair.

For the record, and part of my interest in this, I have a brother-in-law who is a man-mountain. The guy is about 6’ 6” and has at times reached nearly 400#. I’ve visited with him in his home, and he in ours, and at his parents’ house and restaurants of all kinds, and I’ve never seen the least concern about which chair he should or could use. He doesn’t jump onto a chair, but he just takes whatever is available, and has never had a problem that I’ve ever seen.

chyna's avatar

If I had chairs that cost 650.00 each, I would certainly direct him to another chair.

WasCy's avatar

LOL… if I had chairs that cost $650 each, I’d be upset to a great degree if they couldn’t handle at least 500 pounds.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@WasCy I’m with you!

I agree with the suggestion to offer an alternative chair… but I would offer it as being “more comfortable” for him. That way you skirt around the weight issue. Of course your neighbor will recognize what it is about, but I’m sure he will appreciate your tact.

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Judi's avatar

My daughters mother in law used to bring her own chair if she could pull it off subtly (only with family.) He will scout out the sturdiest chair if it’s available. He doesn’t want to embarrass himself any more than you want to embarrass him.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I like the idea of bringing out a sturdier chair and then telling him you’re sure he will be more comfortable in it than the more delicate chairs. Big and/or heavy people usually know to avoid delicate, small or unsure furniture when visiting people’s homes. All my life my grandmother and mother have collected antiques and I remember one uncle who was over 6ft and also over 300lbs would ask where he could sit. No one wants to break anything as a visitor and it’s friends place to be as honest as possible in order for everyone to be comfortable. It’ll only sting once to talk about it.

Coloma's avatar

I bought the most awesome chair at a TJ Maxx for a mere $100 a few months ago. I’d set a Clydesdale on it. It is ALL in the design, and no, I do not weigh anything near 350 lbs. thank you very much!
It is an Asian design, very wide triangular seat on splayed, short legs with an open back and then the asian style backrest. This chair is super sturdy. I wouldn’t think twice about a bigger person sitting on it.
It is my computer chair in my living room where my lap top sits on a bombay library table under my front window.

A wide seated, low slung, wide legged chair is the sturdiest design, regardless of price.

Bonus..this one is upholstered in the coolest root beer brown faux leather alligator vinyl.

You can find a really cool and sturdy chair for waay less than &650 a piece.

I also have two armless, black, low slung, wide seat Asian design chairs from the same TJ Maxx and they too are very sturdy on fat block legs. They were about $250 for the pair.

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Dutchess_III's avatar

I disagree that all overweight people know of the ramifications of their weight. I have a student who has to be pushing 400…he doesn’t hesitate to sit on a little chair in my office. It’s a personal chair and I would hate to lose it, so I finally moved it out. We have an obese friend who comes over without warning (not a problem) and he just sits where ever he wants. I’m always afraid the chairs are going to break under him. They creak and groan and bend. He seems oblivious.

But yes, get a chair that he can sit in.

dannyc's avatar

I think you should just tell him nicely. “You might be more comfortable here….and direct him there.. People like honesty and if done with a smile and generous spirit, you can’t lose. If there is a slight moment of awkwardness, quickly change the subject.

marionana's avatar

Thank you all for your heartfelt suggestions….much appreciated!!!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

So, what did you do?

marionana's avatar

He’s come over a few times since my original post, he stands around the island. So, far I haven’t had to deal with it.
Thanks for asking..:-)

Nullo's avatar

A lot of weight ratings build in a healthy margin for safety. A larger person can often, if he sits still, clear the rating without actually splintering the article.

Have you considered not hanging out in the kitchen? Perhaps a living room, or something with a sofa?

marionana's avatar

It’s been awhile, thought I’d post an update. My neighbor still stands around the island when he stops by. He’s been over for BBQ’s no problem with our patio chairs. As most of you suggested he’s aware. He’s a great guy. Glad I dont have to worry about hurting his feelings.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Did you get a chair for him for Christmas? :D

marionana's avatar

Your funny dutchess.;D

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