Sonia’s birthday present arrived early (a second spinning wheel “for home”), so I consented to her assembling it “to make sure it worked” – I usually run a roll of film through a new camera prior to wrapping for Xmas etc… so I was OK with it.
update post entry – apparently now she needs to “practice” on the wheel so she is ready to roll for her birthday…
She got stuck during the process and called me over. Of course, I couldn’t ignore a lady in distress. It turned out she needed a couple of extra hands to help line some screws up. I duly helped, and got the screws where they needed to be, whilst she held the part so the holes lined up.
I then reached over for the instruction book and the next part to go on. “No, that’s fine, I got it” was the next thing I heard. I think my history with Ikea had her concerned for the long term well being of her wheel. I am not known for my patience or good nature when something is overly complex to assemble.
It reminded me of when Leon, my long suffering father, asked me to mow the lawns as a young adolescent. I had my walkman on, and wasn’t really “present” whilst doing it. A good portion of the garden hose ended up shredded all over the lawn. Never got asked to help with the gardening again…
So, my ongoing battle with Ikea has resulted in me being redundant when it somes to traditionally male roles in the household. I am quite happy to take the hit on my masculinity, and trade it for time watching footy on TeeV…
I have been keeping a blog for almost ten years now – Everytime I update the look and feel, I archive the posts offline. Here is a post from June 2007 that really sums up why Sonia will not let me assemble her wheel.
Relevant Blog Rewind : Satan Owns Ikea – June 2007
I am not sure exactly what made me think buying a super duper new shelf from Ikea was a good idea. Why does anyone buy stuff from Ikea?
1. It is very cheap compared to most places – bits and pieces really add up to a big total sometimes! Ikea catalogues are like a right of passage to sucky Gen Yers who are moving out of home. Gen X is the only cool demo to be in.
2. They have lot of stuff – their marketing utilises a very shotgun like approach. Pile as much stuff as you can into a store to maximise the chances of punters liking at least one of the 48 different chairs they sell.
3. It looks uber cool in the catalogue – “hey my crappy house could look like this, if only I accessorised it better”. Does anything ever look as good once you open the package compared to the catalogue / product shot on the front of pack?.
4. Make it yourself and save money! How could that possibly not be a great idea?
They sucker punch you by making sure you pick up the flat packed boxes close to the checkouts. Everything looks great in the displays in store, but you can’t pick up what you want until the last possible second before you hit the register queues There is no time to think “hey, there is a lot of stuff here to put together” and “boy, these packs are heavy, I hope I am going to be able to move this stuff around in the house”.
I am certain that if people had to walk around for longer with the boxes on their trolleys, many would rethink the horrors lying in wait behind the cardboard and gaffing tape.
So, late on Saturday afternoon, I decided to make a start on Sonia’s new craft shelves. The gentle, but persistent hum of her nagging was starting to mess with my natural good humour.
This is what they are supposed to look like. We got the big one.
As per our Ikea tradition, I make Sonia watch while I put the stuff together. Why should she get to do something fun whilst I am feeling the last grains of my patience drain away? She has a clear mandate to stand there and witness the activity. She needs to neither speak nor touch anything.
She often cannot resist the temptation – there is nothing worse than someone warning you that you are doing something wrong. Especially when she is right. It just makes me madder.
As I started to put the thing together, the usual Ikea stuff started to happen. There is always some kind of quality issue. A ding here or there, or some laminate looking worse for wear. Ours had a big depression on one of the boards and some scuffed laminate. Oh, and the bits and pieces never quite fit together exactly.
They must have a cabinetmaker, architect, and mental counsellor construct the display stock in store. I was only half way through and I bloody well knew it was never going to look like it did in the store. There were gaps in between the shelves, 90 degree angles looked more like 80, and the instructions were compiled by a technical sadist.
I got to the last row of shelves. Everytime I banged some piece into place, something else would move out of kilter. I thought there is not way this thing is going to get the better of me, so I kept circling the shelves, putting out each spot fire, only to start one somewhere else.
Ikea furniture has a soul. A black, hateful, spiteful soul. Maybe Adolf Hitler or Ghengis Khan have been reincarnated and own it? The shelves knew their fate was not of this world. They bit, clawed and scratched at me. Three times they attacked me
But I was not to be bested. I had a receipt and hopefully a liberal returns policy. Failing that, the hammer was a viable alternative, as a tent found out to it’s detriment at Wye River.
By this point, Sonia was so traumatised, I found her out on the couch, in a foetal position, blocking her ears and clearly trying to go to her “happy place”. Maybe my cursing was a bit over the top. I informed her to come help me pull apart the partially assembled shelves and take them out to the car.
The Ikea shelves were going back to the place of their birth.
As soon as the shelves were in the car, my spirit was lifted. I felt so much better.
So how did we go returning them? Next morning – No problemo. The guy at the returns counter didn’t even ask why. He simply got the cardboard boxes, scanned them, and refunded the money.
I actually felt dudded, just like a victim of crime that never gets the satisfaction of facing their attackers in court and telling them how their actions have affected their life. I wanted the returns guy to accuse me of not putting it together properly. I had played out the scenario in mind and had an elaborately crafted response and entered the store in a state of cat-like readiness.
“Hey mate, I followed your stupid instructions and it didn’t work. I know my trade practices law and this ***** thing is not fit for the purpose you sold it to me for. Either put it together for me here and now or give me my money back!”
Not exactly eloquent or really that well crafted after all. It would have been therapeutic though.
Never again. Ikea has a great returns policy, but I can no longer pay the emotional price.