Always read the instructions!

Always read the instructions!

What is it about human nature, especially male human nature – that makes us inclined to decide we can do anything without taking heed of the advice, guidance or instructions available to us.

Get a new electronic device – read the instructions?  Bollocks.  Fiddle with every button and work it out for yourself!  Its obviously a far more productive approach!

The same goes for the hell that is flat pack.  I hate flat pack, its rubbish.  Fair enough, your higher end products or ones that are actually designed with the user in mind are a useful device for those of us with no money and clearly defined furniture needs.  But in general, when any other form of furniture is available – that other form should be used!


So the importance of reading instructions was recently thrust upon me once again.  I am sure this lesson has been taught to me by numerous balls ups in the past…but yet again the ‘more haste less speed’ brigade rears their ugly heads.

We were visiting Hannah’s brother the other week and they were in the middle of a lounge re-fit, which, for  their sins, included some new flat pack units.  Keen to get the room finished, Dan decided to make the TV stand in a 2 hour break he had between work shifts.  Being a good guest I naturally agreed to step in and assist (plus I thought it might be fun as flat pack is a bit like a huge, badly cut jigsaw).

The first thing to come out the box was the note above – it clearly encouraged us to stop and look at the instructions.  Red always means danger.  The problem we faced was having a very short amount of time to knock the beast up in, as well as a small space in the kitchen to do it.  Plus, as Dan had recently done a fair bit of flat pack, he was confident that he could figure it out easily enough and smash the estimated build time of 2 hours.

We set to work.  It was going amazingly.  Smoke came from our screwdrivers, sweat fell from our brows.  Instructions were glanced at now and again to ensure compliance – but sheer male determination and knowing best was the ruler of the day.

The beast was quickly taking shape and looking like a triumph.  We gazed upwards – a glisten in our eye as we imagined the rapturous applause that would wait us when we finally unveiled the construction to the budding family next door.

A few cups of tea later and we had only a few screws more to put in and we would be done.  The timer was showing at just shy of 1 hour 10 – the estimated build time fucked on.  Victory, sweet victory was in sight.


Always Read the Manual (2009)

Always Read the Manual (2009)

As we prepared to stand back and admire our handy work – feeling more like a man than I had done in years, Kim strolled into the kitchen and cast her eye on what we had done.

Within seconds she pointed and asked “is it meant to be that way up” her finger indictating in the direction of the main shelf that sat in the middle of the unit.

I glanced at Dan.  Dan glanced at the unit.  Dan glanced at me.  I glanced at the instructions.  Kim glanced at us both.   I am not 100% sure, but I think the TV stand at this point developed a smirk.

So that was that.  The whole thing was perfectly built, apart from one shelf that we had put the wrong way up.  So, instead of the nice clean veneer finish like the rest of the unit – raw MDF stood roughly staring out for all to see.

The dream was shattered – knowing flat pack, we realised to correct the problem would mean weakening the structure beyond reasonable safety levels.

A fuck up in the classic sense.

Sometimes I wish they would make step by step instructions for life – but then I guess I would only half read those as well!
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