Tuesday, 9 June 2009

IKEA for Dummies

(A man's bathroom reinvisioned.)

IKEA. Say that word and the response ranges from "I love that place!" to "Get me out of here!" The store has its followers and haters, and those of us who appreciate it for what it means: Affordable out of the box design. Of course, to get the look they proffer be sure to set aside a good part of your day. IKEA products are notoriously migraine-inducing before they take shape as say your new platform bed or shelf.

One network television show used IKEA products on a show called the Tool Academy. The idea was to get a bunch of guys -- the "tools" -- to put together beds with their partners and see who could problem solve together. The results ranged from all-out wars to strengthened bonds. IKEA should consider offering relationship counseling alongside their fifty-cent hot dogs.

A few months ago, Chris and I watched a British documentary on marijuana in which a mother -- curious about the real effects of the drug -- purchased an IKEA product to put together after smoking several joints. It's no surprise that she couldn't complete the task. Then again, I felt like throwing in the towel the other day when Chris and I were stumped by the illustrated directions for installing a chandelier. Is IKEA too cheap to hire a technical writer for those of us who appreciate words?

All this leads me to the progress we made last weekend. After a successful trip (albeit a long one for such a short list), we returned home with three shelves, some storage baskets, and a chandelier. The shelves replaced two milk crates that had been crammed between the toilet and the sink. I used to spend several minutes digging out my blow drying and styling products, now everything is nicely organized by use in baskets arm-length away.

Amazed that installing the shelves did result in hours of frustration, we high-fived and moved on to the kitchen. After Chris removed the old chandelier, we spent several minutes trying to decipher the cryptic installation directions for our IKEA replacement. I was certain either Chris would fall off the ladder onto the glass table or be electrocuted. Neither happened. An hour later, we stood beneath a handsome lamp as I wiped sweat from Chris' brow.

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