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Sunday, 7 March 2010

My very own Ikea Unit Nightmare

There can be few people in the world who have not been directly badly affected by the assembly of an item of Ikea furniture. Whether you were the unlucky constructor or the unfortunate by-stander (listening to someone else's Ikea Construction Nightmare is also extremely painful) the scene of confusion, disarray, frustration and blind stubbornness must surely have been played out in so many livings rooms across every country in the western world.

And so last night I found myself knee-deep in my very own three-and-half-hour I.C.N. The unit in question was the Besta Jagra (forever more to be known as the B*stard Jagra). Now I would consider myself a reasonably intelligent person (I bet all those who've lived through an ICN say they same). In the past I have actually put together a number of other Ikea units without too much trouble. But I swear the instructions for the B*astard Jagra were intended to be deliberately misleading and incomprehensible.

(At one point at around 10.50pm I began to wonder if Ikea had signed a deal with all those small businesses that offer to put together your units for you. It struck me that Ikea could be deliberately writing instructions so as to confuse the average punter, which would give more work to these We'll Do It For You companies. Hmmm. This is, of course, a totally unfounded suggestion but after almost three hours of ICN I could hardly keep a lid on my cynicism - and swearing.)

Anyway, back with the B*stard Jagra. It was the runners for the drawers that had me completely flummoxed. I was so confused as to their positioning that I had to take all four runners off at least twice each. One runner went on and off a total of five times. Surely a special "runners" panel would not have gone amiss Ikea? Show the poor assembler which way up they go and whether the grey or the white wheel sits at the front or the back of the unit...

Half way through the whole ICN I also found that I had put the base on back to front. Then upside down. Then back to front again. Every time I made a mistake I had to removed a ton of screws and those amazing but very annoying curly joint screw thingies. (In the end I found I was four short of the curly joint thingies so I'll need to go back to Ikea to get those. Everyone says this happens to them, too.)

After 3hrs and 25 mins I finally had the B*stard Jagra unit together. It looks okay from the front, but I wouldn't be keen on anyone taking a look from behind. I've no idea why there are gaps between the joints back there but I can't face taken the blasted thing apart again. I also have a screwdriver wounds - a nasty blister in the palm of my hand received due to excessive screwdrivering of excessive screws (for some reason I thought that Ikea units were held together with only six screws, and amazing amount of Ikea magic and negated the use of any screwdrivers instead being affixed by a special fix-all-screws Ikea allen key. In the end I used two sizes of Philips screwdriver, two flat headed screwdrivers, a hammer and a ratchet screwdriver.)

I was also exhausted by the closing stages. Having spent hours in Glasgow's Ikea in the first place (it's a total maze), lugged the unit in two heavy boxes into the car, lugged the same two boxes out of the car and into the house (this is when I need a man to live with), spent more than three hours wrestling with various parts of the B*stard Jagra unit and screwdrivered and hammered until I could weep. So it's no wonder today that I find that my back, core muscles, shoulders, arms, hands and thighs ache.

Oh well, I guess all the Ikea Unit Workout will have burned off the calories consumed in wine over the three hours – it was for medicinal purposes obviously and without it I would surely have become so stressed that I would have given up on the ICN and phoned one of those multiplying small businesses that put Ikea furniture together for you.

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