Thursday, May 29, 2008

Will Work For Swedish Meatballs

I just assembled some Ikea furniture for my neighbor. Actually, I disassembled everything that her husband and the Super assembled, and then I reassembled it... the right way. Amazingly, when I did it, it didn't look anything like a cross between the Leaning Tower of Pisa and a stack of cards on the verge of collapse.

What is it about people and Ikea? I know there are people who don't like Ikea and claim that the quality of their products is poor, but that's never been my experience. I mean of course there's sturdier furniture out there, and furniture that's more aesthetically pleasing to some people, but for basic simple bookcases and cabinets, Ikea is pretty darned good in my book.

And the instructions? Why can't people follow Ikea instructions? I know part of the reason is because some people (*cough* the-Super-and-my-neighbor's-husband *cough*) would never dream of looking at an instruction manual for anything, but really what is the problem? It's pictures! There's no language barrier excuse here. All you have to do is follow the pictures!

Now, I know there are people who even have trouble following pictures, because they don't have the kind of thought process that distinguishes between "a plank of wood with six holes" and "a plank of wood with 5 holes." Seriously, there are people who miss details like that, even when they're trying really hard to concentrate. But you know what? Those people should CALL SOMEONE and say "Hi, I suck at this. Can you come over please?" Because really what's worse? Admitting that you can't follow pictures, or having two cabinets fall on your head?

If you could have seen the job these guys did... there was packaging everywhere, gaps between the sides and the backs of the cabinets they assembled, screws in the wrong places... and all the while my neighbor and her friend are going on and on and on about how Ikea makes poor quality furniture, and they're returning it, and there must be pieces missing, and it's flimsy and unstable, and you get what you pay for, and blah blah blah blah... when really, I would agree with the last two points, but only insofar as they apply to THE PEOPLE WHO ASSEMBLED THE FURNITURE!

Meanwhile, the whole time I was re-assembling it, they (the women!) who were all worked up and stressed out by this point, were leaning over me and yelling at telling me to put this there or that there, or "look there's extra screws, we can use these instead," and "the instructions are wrong," and "here are the extra screws. Did you see these? You should use these! Here!" And I kept telling them, "I'm just going to try it this way first, and then I can try what you're saying. But first I'm going to try this." (Where "this" would be "WHAT THE INSTRUCTIONS SAID.")

Needless to say, my neighbor now has two very sturdy cabinets, with doors, handles, and shelves, and she is extremely happy with them and thinks they're the best things on earth.

And me? I have two new bags of Ikea meatballs.



Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

My daughter and her boyfriend and I assembled $700 worth of IKEA furniture in 7 hours last Memorial Day weekend. We furnished their whole apartment and it looks great and is extremely functional. I think having the proper tools, especially a power screwdriver, helps immensely--that and the directions thing!

Mac and Cheese said...

I've never had a bad Ikea assembly either. I don't understand why some people can't manage it, the same way I don't understand people who can't bake. Here are the instructions - do what they say.

Melissa said...

Hi Jenn! Welcome! See? It's do-able! And $700 to furnish a whole apartment is awesome! And yes, power tools do help (and the directions thing! ;) )

Mac: Your baking comment! Lol!

I actually *can* understand people who can't follow directions. Even pictures. And I don't blame them. I'm fine with THOSE people.

What I can't understand (and what makes me nuts) is people who don't BOTHER to look at directions, or people who are too stubborn to admit they don't know enough about something and would rather do it wrong, and then blame everything/everyone else for their failures.

I am very good at saying "I have no idea how to do this" and then looking for additional help from someone(s) or from other resources (like directions!)

Nora Bee said...

I agree, it's doable. Scandinavians are so sensible. And even if it weren't, I would do it for two bags of meatballs.

Hillary said...

Ha! Totally makes me think of the wedding singer who gets paid for his piano lessons in tomato-saucy meatballs right into his hands.

And yeah. I assembled a bed, a side table, and two dressers from Ikea back in January - it was great! Granted, I had to take my bed apart after it was all done, mattress on, bed made cause I had the anchor thingies facing out and visible, but that was just an asthetic thing (and, as you can see from my blog, I'm a wee tad anal about things like that, apparently!)

Go you!

sid said...

Is that a trick question? Because I'm going to go with "having cabinets fall on your head is worse than admitting you're an idiot". Let me know if I'm right.

Alice said...

i LOVE to assemble furniture. like, seriously love it. i have no idea why. it's so... i don't know, satisfying, i guess?

drives me NUTS when people refuse to read the instructions, then complain about how "crappy" and "bad" the result is. NOT THE FURNITURE'S FAULT, GENIUS.

Melissa said...

Nora: Guess what I had for breakfast? ;)

Hillary: I would have done the same thing. Better that than having it bug me every day from then on!

SID! Hiya Sid! :D Since you asked... that would be WRONG! :P

Alice: I knew YOU'D appreciate this! :)

I love assembling Ikea. It's a sickness I know. I don't know what that's about. You and I should buy some Ikea furniture someday and just assemble a whole bunch of it. I don't know what we'll do with it afterwards, but we can deal with that later.

Melissa said...


Sid: I misread yours. You would be RIGHT of course not wrong! I thought you said you'd rather have the cabinets fall on your head! Lol!

-This is what happens when I have meatballs for breakfast.

Anonymous said...

World Market (we don't have an ikea..).. I put the chair together in 45 minutes..correctly, using the directions.

Hubby did his chair...took him 1 1/2 weeks to get to it. Assembled in 20 minutes w/ out instructions. When he put upright screws fell out and he had extras..couldn't figure out where they went.


Melissa said...

Lol! Yup, that sounds about right! ;)