Sunday, January 24, 2016

Doesn't Anything Come Assembled Anymore?

Right off, I have to admit that I am not the handiest man around. I understand the mechanics of putting things together, hell, I went to a polytechnic high school where we had to learn about a whole bunch of things - automotive, electricity, machine shop among other things I thought useless as the time but with what little experience I had, has helped me as an adult. Well, until yesterday.

A few years back I purchased a new computer work station / desk complete with a hutch all boxed up. I never got around to assembling it which in retrospect was a good thing. After moving to Palm Springs and digging myself somewhat out of the piles of boxes that literally filled my rental condo, my two neighbors and I labored all day to get it assembled. When my iMac wouldn't fit in the opening of the hutch we had to move the hutch!

Attempt 2 - it had been opened too!
A few days later, my neighbor came over to help me assemble a 5-shelf bookcase that was to go alongside the workstation. I had forgotten I had bought it at Target, not Staples where the workstation came from. He looked at the box and said, "Its been opened and taped back up. Did you do that?" " No. I never got around to opening it," I replied. And sure enough, my three year old Target bookshelf, still in the box, had no instructions. After assembling the workstation we were not going to try assembling this without instructions. I knew Target would never give me a refund so I looked first in the store and then online and found a bookcase that looked exactly like the one with no instructions. I ordered it online and it came a few days later.

When I decided to put it together yesterday this is what I found. ALL of the parts, screws, wooden dowels were either laying around of the bottom of the box or jammed into slots in the styrofoam. The packet that had originally held them had been opened and just dumped back in the box. See photo on the left.

The assembled bookcase after I attempted to move it.
I was two for two. Target appears to just take their returns, tape them up again and sells them. If you are a Target shopper I would urge you to be aware.

I spent hours by myself trying to put the bookcase together. While the boxes were mostly gone or stored, there were piles of books lining the walls. I wanted them up and out of the way. Right off the bat I put two of the pins in backwards. The instructions have little wording and illustrations so tiny that you are never quite sure which end was what. So a trip to Harbor Freight Tools to get an electric drill and bits to make the hole a bit bigger so it would fit the backwards pin.

That as I discovered was the least of my problems. Even when put in correctly the pins and their locking screw wouldn't always work. The pin would go too far into the pre-drilled hole the nut couldn't go around it. Somehow I did manage to get the bookcase upright and while wobbly figured with enough books it would stay in place. There were gaps everywhere so I decided it could stay in the bedroom next to the workstation. With hardly a touch to lift it to move it, it suddenly fell sideways completely coming apart.

Yup, you guessed it. The next stop was the dumpster. It took about that long to make that decision. There was my money down the drain. Several friends have said I should take it back but ... well, have YOU ever tried to repack something in the box it came in? It is next to impossible. All the particle board pieces are very heavy and even if packed would be impossible to return.

Is anything assembled today when you buy it? I even had to assemble my Shark Vacuum. It seems that the only thing you can buy today that IS assembled in your car, well you hope, and maybe your home ... assuming its new and not a fixer upper like just about every home you will buy today. Companies have passed on their labor costs to you, the often unskilled not on the clock public that may or may not have the skills to complete the tasks. When we complain they say, "Well, you wanted cheaper prices." I don't remember saying that. All I see is that their profits are often huge and our skills, or at least mine, are minimal.

What to do. There are many consignment shops here in the Coachella Valley and I will start looking there, or Staples and Office Depot to see if they have bookshelves that are already assembled. I have a pickup! Then there is always the tried and true from my college days; decorative concrete blocks with planks. Everyone looks at me when I say that. Why? Some of those blocks are pretty nice looking. I can tell you one of the things I will not do ... visit Target.

Thank you for reading my blog. Our lives are designed for us. Its our job to make the best choices of whose designs we are going to use! Please check out my other postings. 

1 comment:

  1. HAHA! Got a good chuckle out of this one! My son and I put together a small desk that I bought at Target the other day. I had to re-read the instructions over and over. We managed to get it together with only 2 extra screws left over. I have NO idea where they were supposed to go! Good luck finding some shelves!