Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dr. Some-Assembly-Required or How I Learned to Stop Reading and Loathe Directions

I feel a major rant coming on, but it's over something pretty trivial, so this gets the "nitpicks" label instead of a full-fledged "bone to pick". Still, make no mistake, the rage is boiling up. I'm in the present tense because I'm still working on it, and will be "live blogging" through the process.

This all started in an effort to have some better organization and storage space in the kitchen (due to not really having much of a pantry). We bought 3 short shelving units with doors to put side-by-side as a wide unit along the back of the bar. Granted, these are cheap units from Target that were on sale for college, but that means I'd expect cheaper wood, not impossible directions.

The first bookshelf had a number of brilliant moments. For example, the first step says "Gently tap hinge pins into holes in top panel, and bottom panel as shown." Ignoring the runaway comma it sounds fine. Except it's not actually shown anywhere. It's not in the picture to the side, nor are the "hinge pins" even listed in the relevant pieces needed for step one.

Next step, we get "Attach strike plates to top corner of doors to create left and right doors...Strike plate holes are not pre-drilled." Great - no holes (unlike everything else), nothing that says you need a drill (or at least a hammer and nail to make a pilot hole) - just twist this screw into the wood. Better yet, there's no indication of where exactly to do it or how to measure it. Icing on the cake, which was only delivered as a punch line after the entire construction was finished, is that the image showing the installation is upside down, so now I need to re-attach the plates.


As much swearing as that induced, it only got worse when I got to the third one (the first two were identical) which now has a drawer to install as well.

First step and we're already off to a brilliant start. "Attach drawer glides to left side and right side in holes shown using 4 drawer glide screws." Sounds easy enough. Wait a second...there aren't 4 drawer glide screws. Well, there kind of are - but there are 2 of one and 2 of another. They're very similar, but clearly not identical. After enough searching, I've decided to just run with it.

Now, to attach the glides to...wait, there are two sets of holes. Which one do I use? Nothing in the directions. Nice. Oh, and the holes are ever so slightly off no matter which set I use. I can tell this is going to be even more fun than the last one. Oh well - I'll just guess and pick the set of holes that looks better.

Next brilliant point: in the image in step two I'm shown a picture of screwing the magnetic clasps into the "top panel", which is all and good, except that's what it is in the non-drawer model of this unit. The drawer model, which is what I'm working on, has those screwed into the fixed shelf instead. Confidence is not rising...

I'm glad I don't only speak French, because Step 8 has an entire section of the French translation in English.

Step 9. Got the main unit assembled, now I just need to put together the drawer. Uh, wait - why is the drawer now pictured in Step 9? I haven't touched the drawer yet! What the Hell is going on here?

*flips back through previous steps looking for when I missed the drawer construction*

Nope, nothing. Oh - it's in Step 10. I can almost hear the piece of paper yelling "Psyche!" at me.

Step 10. Gotta find 4 of these strange little round pieces. Ok...there are only two. These are really obvious, I can't possibly be missing them. Please tell me they didn't forget to include some pieces...

*checks inventory on front page*

Oh, there's only supposed to be 2. A typo. I'm shocked, truly.

Still in step 10. I quote: "Align drawer bottom on all sides and gently nail drawer bottom to [it]." Has this person ever used a hammer before? "Gently" nail it on? If you are using a hammer gently, not only are you doing it wrong, you're probably not doing anything at all. Gently nailing something is a physical impossibility. I can imagine some poor person trying to follow these directions precisely and spending hours trying to drive a nail through wood without hitting it. It's an exercise in futility that would be daunting even to the WMD search crews in Iraq.

Ok, just about done. Drawer is assembled, all I need to do is slide it onto the rails. Sweet! It worked! Now hammer in the drawer stops's done! Finally done!

*slides drawer all the way in to unit...hears unfriendly clack*

Hmm...the drawer's not closing...that's odd...why is it not...oh. Oh, that's so not cool. So uh, remember that first step when I just had to guess which set of holes to use? All the way at the beginning? I apparently lost the coin toss. Serves me right for...wait...I didn't do anything wrong at all! I'm going to hunt down the children of whoever wrote this, grind them into a paste, and make burgers out of them. Rare burgers. Because I need to taste the blood of innocents.

By the way, ClosetMaid is not a brand I'd recommend purchasing if you have high blood pressure. Also, I'm having a cookout next Saturday. Bring your own beer, I'll provide the burgers.

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