Thursday, 3 October 2013

The white plastic bucket chair

Another Greek teaser: the white plastic bucket chair. Some people love them. Some people hate them. But most people in Greece are so used to seeing them that they don't even think twice about them. The white plastic bucket chair is an iconic Greek summertime image. They are cheap to buy, easy to stack and store, easy to keep clean and relatively comfortable. But many of our visitors regard the plastic bucket chair as very tacky and unstylish.

The en masse sight of the white plastic bucket chair has a special significance for me: it can only signal one thing, and that is FEAST. FEAST also means one more thing: FOOD. I then imagine those chairs filling up as people come to take their place, to eat a communal meal at a communal table or simply to enjoy some public free-for-all al fresco music, song and dance. And I can also imagine the tables slowly filling up with food and laden with platters.

The romantic's iconic image of a Greek chair is usually the wooden one with the woven seat.

Such chairs are more expensive than the white plastic chair, bulkier in terms of storage, heavier work in terms of stacking, and difficult to maintain. Whether they are comfortable or not often depends on the size of your bum or if you have a bony build. The newer style wooden chair is made with a woven seat covering all parts of the chair that your bum touches. But the older style wooden chair (see below):

... does not have this slight comfort advantage - if the wooden legs stick into your knees and the back legs dig into your hips, you will not be able to sit on them for long. This is a big issue when it comes to enjoying your meal. If you are too broad of backside, you will not be able to sit comfortably in the wooden chairs, as the posts will stick into the backs of your thighs.

The plastic bucket chairs are miles more comfortable. They almost feel as if they are purpose-built to mallow people to sit comfortably for a long period of time, as long as it takes to enjoy a Greek feast from start to finish.

Bonus photo: our outdoor dining space at my workplace, which houses an ISO-approved conference centre. The wooden seats are of a more comfortable style than the traditional woven taverna chair, but the bucket seats still beat them on this point.

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