Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Wild frontIkea

Yesterday I took a trip to my local Ikea. I say local. But, its spectacular and longstanding erudition notwithstanding, my hometown is in the sticks, so it took about two hours to get there involving multiple trains and dangerous overpass-hiking. (See note on frontierswoman spirit below).

My favourite latest improvement at Ikea is that it now offers a Home Assembly service. Of course, I am not impressed by this because I want anyone but me to assemble my Ikea purchases. Heavens no. Wielding the allen key and the vast planks of birch laminate makes me feel like an urban frontierswoman. The advantage is that the price of aforementioned Home Assembly is now marked on all of your flat-packed dream items. I have always thought that the information that one really requires on that hangtag, rather than a breakdown of just exactly how many old-growth forests that were pulped in item's production, is just exactly how much of a protracted pain in the ass the simple home assembly will be. Because it will be. Make no mistake, I can put together a 80x202 Billy in 16 minutes. (Yes, I timed myself. Which kind of tarnishes the frontierswoman effect, but what the hey). But it will be a pain in the ass, and the more parts you have, the more permutations of horror proliferate. Moving parts? Take a valium. But then don't use the cordless drill.

Of course, no big surprise that Ikea doesn't want you to know just how many blood vessels you're going to pop in building your Alve desk bureau with extension unit.
But now, Ikea can hide no longer. The information is right there. They might just as well have ranked their furniture by pain-in-the-ass.
  • Home assembly price: £10
    Pain-In-The-Ass Quotient: one star.
    Simple. Clank, bzzt, clank, bzzt, done. One unit Frontierswoman Satisfaction.
  • Home assembly price: £20
    PITA Quotient: two stars.
    Slightly more effort. One or two expletives likely to be uttered. Possibility of one of the components going in backwards by mistake. Two units Frontierswoman Satisfaction.

  • Home assembly price: £40
    PITA Quotient: five stars.
    Maddening. Sixteen different kinds of screws and other attachment technologies. Error necessitates complete dismantle. Spirited narration of sailor-blushing type. Hyper-organised borderline-OCD construction strategy involving careful sorting and categorisation of each component comes to nothing while searching for thirty-fifth self-tightening drawer-stopper screw-assemblage. Frontierswoman veneer abandoned for stiff tot.

I am undeterred by the £50 assembly price on my preferred Alve bureau. But like any good frontierswoman, I am now prepared.

No comments: