Don’t go with your loved one to Ikea. One psychologist says the stress of a visit to the popular furniture store can cause serious friction between couples, whether it’s disputes over what to buy or spats while you assemble the items that you bought there.–Juan Williams
This week’s challenge on partner Susan and my alternate site Weekly Prompts concerns HEX KEYS.
If you have ever purchased an item of furniture from Ikea that requires you to assemble it then you know that the Allan wrench ( hex key) is the manner in which you assemble many items you have purchased there.
The name Ikea has over the years caused many folks in the industry to chuckle aloud with the many negative comments that customers have made regarding the frustration involved assembling a piece of furniture whose instructions are vague, written in a foreign language and whose instructions are as confusing as they are detailed.
But you should also note that the store is still in business, the product lines have increased and more importantly competing furniture stores are trying to emulate the Ikea model in the way in which they sell unassembled furniture to their customers. The downside : they are doing it badly.
A few years ago I needed a dining room set. I shopped around and finally found an ensemble that was on sale for half its cost. I saved a bundle and the salesman guaranteed me the table and four chairs (which required assembly) would be assembled for me by that Friday afternoon. This was Wednesday morning. I thought at the time that was super service.
A two man delivery crew from the store dropped off the items on Thursday afternoon and I was anxious for the items to be assembled by the end of business day Friday. I had my old table and chairs carted away to the junk yard earlier that day. Space had been cleared and all I needed were the installation crew to visit my suite and get to work.
This is where it gets frustrating. By late Friday morning I had made a few phone calls to the store asking when the assemblers were going to arrive. I spoke to the salesman who informed me it was “my obligation” to contact the company doing the actual assembly and not the stores.
After a number of heated phone conversations with both the store and the contracted assemblers the men finally made an appearance a few minutes after four p.m. I was grateful that they had finally arrived but not really tickled pink by the way they assembled the items. They used power drills to driver the tiny screws into the table and four chairs.
Their work was done in under forty minutes but my worries began a few weeks later when I noticed two chairs losing their bolts and both in the same spot. The power tools drive the screws into the wood too deeply.
I called to complain the following Monday and a representative of the company assigned to assemble the chairs visited the suite and tightened by hand using a hex wrench. He also gave me a few extra wrenches to use “just in case”. The just in case has become a weekly ritual as the same two screws keep dislodging themselves from the chars.
These days consumers are buying chairs and dining room ensembles which require assembling. Tell me that is not based on the Ikea furniture model. Only in these cases there are no easy to read assembly instructions included with your purchase.
Ikea is having the last laugh on all those furniture manufacturers who produce products that are not as sturdy, high quality and easy to assemble as theirs always have been.
My advice to you: shop around, get a good deal for yourself and ensure that you have the salesman write down explicit instructions as to who will or will not assemble your furniture for you. Get it in writing. Other than that you are dealing with a lot of “he said – she said”.