Monday, August 30, 2010

English men are useless

The case for the prosecution: it is a staple of English comedy that assembling kitset furniture from Ikea is impossible, that the assembly instructions are incomprehensible, there are always too few pieces, there is always at least one screw or similar left over, and it involves a lot of swearing.

Now, we need to make a couple of things clear about IKEA furniture:
  • Some critical parts will always be missing. If you need 40 screws, we will give you 20. Life is hard in northern Europe and you need to learn that.
  • We hide the pre-drilled holes so that you have to feel your way along a panel like a blind person reading Braille, looking for slight bumps in the surface.
  • We drill the holes in the wrong place and at different heights so that your furniture ends up looking like something on a stage in a middle school play.
  • The tacky veneer finish will chip so much during assembly that it will look like the target of a drive-by shooting by the time you've finished.
  • You will put it together wrong. Twice. Now you really feel like you are on the northern plains of existence.
Just as you start to make some headway with the assembly, IKEA Kramp sets in from the strain of forcing hundreds of screws into undersized holes and your hand is rendered useless for a couple of days. You have more calluses than a pervert in a peepshow. Finally, with wooden dowels glued to your fingers, you try to take your own life but you can't even do that right. Our work is done.

 Yesterday I assembled two Ikea storage units. (No, they aren’t available in New Zealand so I have no idea how my wife got hold of them. Probably I am nobody’s idea of a home handyman but I do know how to operate a Phillips screwdriver, an Allen key and a hammer. I assembled two Ikea storage units by following the perfectly comprehensible assembly instructions, had all the pieces I needed and none left over afterwards, and there was no swearing. 

So: if English men find this stuff difficult, they are useless.


Matthew R. X. Dentith said...

They are. When I lived there I found that people really did think assembling kit-set furniture was hard. This was mostly because they refused to look at the instructions until they were halfway through the build. They would then complain that, as the instructions didn't match how they had mis-built the object, the instructions themselves were wrong.

homepaddock said...

Maybe there's no number 8 wire with the English packs.

Your wife said...

A postscript: The eight-year-old appointed herself her father's assistant, arriving in the kitchen announcing that "Daddy asks for things he wants, and I get them for him. He says he wants a beer."

So, the Ikea storage units were assembled with no left over pieces, no swearing, and a Speight's.

Keri H said...

One of my brothers was a building contractor in the UK. After several bad experiences with thoroughly useless British-born males (the last involved his new Rangerover being crashed into low ratio while the Pom driver was travelling at plus 80mph...)he simply refused to employ any more.Kiwis, Ozzies, Canadian, SethEfricans, Dutch - great! He found UK males to be unable to do anything except their set learned task - they couldnt improvise, listen to different instructions,or work in with people - experienced tradespeople - who did things differently.

Yet, when the Pom males I know come to ANZ, they seem to adapt & cope - is it something in the water over there d'y'think?

Ikea furniture is sooo simple to put together: read the instructions (have done so in 4 different countries); have the requisite tools ready; count the fasteners (once, there were 3 more screws than necessary) - Bob, the job's done.

Phil said...

There is a flipside in that British tradesmen (in my exp) are very skilled, so are often allocated the job in UK, rather than DIY. Over here, it's definitely cheaper and often a better result if one does DIY.
Worked for my vasectomy anyway

Stephanie said...

There's DIY and then there's IKEA. Oh, for the day when we don't have to travel outside the country to buy it.

Your wife said...

Psst Stephanie - you don't.

Sp8y said...

Please tell your wife that my husband may well take issue with the publication of *that* website. Picture a container-load of ikea chickens coming home to roost... or maybe just that daybed, and some cushions, a cabinet...