Ikea Making Stooges Of Us All


I suppose Ikea’s items are inexpensive, but what you save in dollars, you make up for in hard labor. First you must drive to the boonies where their massive storerooms are exiled. Then you must wind through the labyrinthine walkways to find the items you are looking for. Make sure not to wear flip flops as little tykes run amok in the store. Odds are good a cart will run over each of your feet, so protect those toes. You must write down what you like and you yourself are responsible to find the box containing your preferred purchase.

Then you will discover there is no one manning the cash register. You must scan your own item and figure out which machine will swipe your credit card. If you go near closing time, I have heard they have you mop the floor before leaving.

But when you get home is when the fun begins. I thought by assembling it myself I would not only build a dresser, I would also build some character. I opened the box and a thousand parts came flying out. The instructions make it look easy. The Swedes believe a picture is worth a thousand words, and thus there are no written instructions, only illustrations featuring a more streamlined version of the comic strip icon Ziggy effortlessly putting together charming furnishings. Nowhere do they show Swedish Ziggy cursing or hammering his thumbnail black and blue.

I am not one known for his craftmanship, but as the first hour of construction morphs into the third I become obsessive about making sure I get everything exactly right. Until that is that I discover a couple extra screws. They can’t be that important, can they?

I must admit the finished construction does become a source of pride. It is quite handsome and generally gets compliments from guests. In fact just the other day a guest said about the dresser I built, “What a fantastic piece of vintage furniture. From all the scratches and asymmetrical placements of nails and screws I would say it’s from the late nineteenth century.”


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