Ramblings from the Warrior's Den
Sunday, August 22, 2004
 
The Deadly Tunnel of Furniture

For years now, the Den from whence this Blog gets its name has had furishing consisting primarily of two folding tables and some wire racks which are used for food storage(except for the roughly one year from which it was being written in the Warrior's Dining Room, although to be perfectly honest I can't recall if I actually posted anything here during that period of time. Either way, I was too lazy to change the name.) This was partially for lack of a better solution to the problem of having three frequently-used computers in the same room, and partially for lack of funds for anything much better. Given the fact that these situations hav now been rectified, I have for a while now believed that it was time to look into the possibility of getting a real desk in here. On that note, I am now proud to inform the gthree of you reading this that I have now graduated from gratuitous utilitarianism to mass-produced eurocentric particle board, courtesy of the fine folks at IKEA (I don't know why it supposed to be capitalized like that, but I figure someone might get mad if I don't, so I better make sure it's there.) In place of the former folding tables is a new GALANT desk along with an EFFEKTIV storage unit, BENNO media storage shelf and a BILLY bookcase (You know, maybe if I KAPITULYS random words and misspell them badly I can make it sound just like I bought a whole bunch more stuff there. It would provide an excellent IKSKYUS for the fact that I'm still trying to get used to the changes in ergonomics RIZULTN from this change in desk height.)

For those of you unfamiliar with IKEA, it's a giant blue monolith on the outskirts of town (the one here is in Renton, where all the cool kids seem to be opening their stores these days) with approximately twelve acres of home furnishings and half an acre of parking. Once you get your car parked in the Middle of NOVER, you can make the long treacherous hike to the front entrance... and that's where the real adventure begins. It then becomes your task to navigate through a seemingly endless maze of home furnishings, armed with only your wits, a golf pencil and some sort of cheesy paper measuring tape. If you're lucky enough to be able to get to IKEA on a Saturday, you get for no additonal cost the thrill of being nearly trampled to death several times.

Should you happen on something that you want to buy, your long and treacherous journey continues. First of all, you'll need to find the item in question, which can be located in any number of places, all of which you'll first need to find your way out of the showroom area for. About halfway past the kitchen section, the end is in sight. It is at this point that you reach the snack bar, selling all manner of Swedish delicacies. My brother, who accompined me to purchase the new desk earlier this week, had apparently not been to IKEA before this, and wondered why they would have a snack bar in the first place. To be honest, I don't know why this is the case, but I know that if I had been lost in the children's bedreoom section for three days, I'd be hungry too. But there's no time for meatballs now, we've got furniture to buy. Onward we press, the checkouts in sight... Or so we think. First, we need to find yhur way through another twisty maze of housewares. You might want to bring a MUSHETI for this part. If you manage to make it through this part, you'll finally reach the self-serve warehouse, where some of the actual furniture for purchase is located. If you're lucky (and you had the sense to use that golf pencil you got earlier to write the location down) you'llo be able to find the stuff you're looking for here, most of it packed in impossibly flat boxes. By the way, did I mention that you've got to figure out how to assemble all this stuff too?

Should you be fortunate enough to find what you're looking for, the checkouts are in sight, and all you have left to worry about is the 12-mile hike back to the car carrying a 40-pound box full of furniture parts. On the other hand, there's a good chance on a lot of items that you will need to pick stuff up at the OTHER warehouse, across the street. As far as I can tell, this is where they put all the stuff they couldn't fit into one box, so they stuff it into lots of boxes instead (if I recall correctly, the pieces for this desk came in eight different boxes, nine if you count the separately purchased cable management stuff.) Oftentimes when you reach this stage, it will be necessary to wait for some time as the highly trained staff scramble around the warehouse trying to locate part 600.449.30 and 600.449.31 on opposite sides of the warehouse.

So now that we finally have all our various bits and pieces (assuming that we managed to actually have room in the car to get them all home), it's time to put the thing together. Having stores in 37 different countries means that all of your purchases come with simple, easy-to-understand instructions that just happen to have no words to them. Instead of providing vague, difficult-to-understand instructions in all of the various languages, it's a lot easier for them to just provide vague, difficult-to-understand pictures and call it good. There's a right way and about sixteen different wrong ways to put together a given piece of IKEA furniture, and chances are pretty good that you'll find at least five of those wrong ways somewhere along the line when you're putting stuff together. Add to that the fact that you're generally using the tiny little tools they provide for assembly, and IKEA furniture can be explitive-laden fun for the whole family (unless, like me, you have a healthy supply of power tools in the garage, at which point all you need to worry about is deciphering the directions.)

When all is said and done, however, assuming you managed to get through the build process without mangling too much beyond recognition, the end result is good solid (if occasionally somewhat outlandish) furniture that'll usually not crumble to dust at inopportune times. And with all the extra desk space I now have over the old folding tables, I now have the minor problem of fighting off the urge to go multi-monitor. And it's not a bad deal either. You can probably find nicer stuff than IKEA, but you probably aren't going to find it any cheaper. And I can think of worse places than an IKEA store to be hopelessly lost...
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