Tuesday, 1 September 2015

A self-assembly rant

The words "self-assembly" strike fear into my very heart. Time was when things arrived whole and ready-made.They looked like whatever they were supposed to be.  But no more. Things that should have bulk and shape arrive in flat boxes with lots of screws (apart from the one that's always missing), and sheets of incomprehensible instructions.

So I left the cardboard box in the hallway for about a week, plucking up courage to open it. Then I thought,   how hard can it be, assembling a scooter for a two-year-old, especially for a woman (me) who fixed the broken interior of the dishwasher with string?

Readers, last night, I opened the box. There were screws - boy, were there screws - and flimsy spanners and allen keys (you always have to have those), and the kind of wordless instructions consisting of little picures of A fitting into B, and then D and E following fast. But they didn't. Not for me. It took me over an hour just to attach the handlebars with the kind of tiny spanner you might get out of a  Christmas cracker (the wrong size, and it kept slipping).

After an entire evening of frustration and pure rage, the scooter was almost done, But I couldn't fit the two main parts together, and worst of all, there were TWO SCREW LEFT OVER. What if a precoius grandson were to perish because for the want of two screw? It doesn't bear thinking about.

So lovely neighbour Alan (nothing to do with keys) now has it. He'll fix it. He knows about these things. I just hope that one day, he comes to me for help, and I can show him how to fix his dishwasher with string.

22 comments:

  1. Oh I do sympathise. Flat packs and self assembly I leave to others (usually the kids).

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  2. Sometimes they put in too many screws (or not enough). I tried to build a chest of drawers once. I got as far as completely messing up one drawer before conceding defeat. Never again! xx

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    1. Teresa, you're a woman after my own heart x

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  3. Sometimes Frances I am lost for words.

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    1. Oh dear. Which words were you lost for, Graham?

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  4. We recently bought some flat-pack furniture, the best thing about it was how beautifully it was all packed into flat boxes; like a puzzle.

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    1. You're right, Cro. That's the only clever thing about them.

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  5. Give me a set of flat-packs, a screwdriver and a few hours on a rainy afternoon, and I am happy!
    My entire bedroom is IKEA, and I have assembled each and every piece in it myself. Steve was still alive then, and I only needed his help with the sliding wardrobe doors, as they were too large and heavy for me to hold on my own.

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    1. Ah, bu lovely Alan discovered that one nut was the wrong size, and,as I suspected, the spanner was too big. So it wasn't all me, Meike!

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    2. I didn't think you were - after all, that scooter was not from IkEA, was it :-)

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  6. I think you were brave to even try!

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    1. Brave and, sadly, stupid, Frances. I should have known better.

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  7. Britain is, or at least used to be when I was co-owner of a cycle shop, the only country where bicycles and scooters come in bits. At the shop, our stock arrived ready to build. The job was done by qualified cycle mechanics. One of their busiest times was after Christmas when people had spent the festive period trying to build flat-pack bikes bought from catalogues. And later, we'd get the bikes that had fallen apart when they were ridden and we'd often see the aftermath of these accidents covered in plasters and bandages.

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    1. And that's supposed to make me feel better, Lynne? Thanks!

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    2. No, it's supposed to make you rant about the stupidity and danger of having Joe or Josephine Public building things which could cause great damage to the person using them. Good luck.

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  8. I don't buy things which come in bits. I want the item, not an annoying challenge.

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    1. Me too, Patsy. But sometimes the annoying challenges are unavoidable.

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  9. Good for you at least trying to assemble it, Frances! We try to avoid it when possible.

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  10. Hi Frances!
    Yes, now we have to assemble everything ourselves for a higher price. There are usually not enough screws. Glad to see you are still writing, whereas I have been absent this busy summer.

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    1. Glad you agree, Yvonne, and welcome back!

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