“Sure, I can assemble it myself.” Famous last words (along with “Do you have a knife I can use to pry my toast out of this toaster?” and “Hey, watch this…”)
We need a guest bed. We have a mattress we bought a few months ago because the one in the temporary rental flat was… well, a lot of things, none of which included something you might willingly touch without rubber gloves and maybe a hazmat suit. So as part of moving into the new house here in Glasgow, we need a bed to hold up the mattress. And, with guests arriving, we need it soon.
No problem. I would just go back to that big blue and yellow store where we got the mattress and buy a bedframe. And then I’d put it together. Headboard, footboard, two side rails and some slats. How hard could that be?
When those of you who know me are done laughing, we can move on…
Have you ever followed those flat-pack directions? You know, the ones with the little cartoon guys that were written for illiterate mutants by people whose native language is not found on this planet? Here’s pretty much how that went, with my best translation of the directions below.
It is important to establish your dominance immediately. Pat the box firmly and show it who’s boss.
Open the box and count the six bazillion little bits, all of which look pretty much alike.
Pour six glasses of wine. Drink first glass of wine.
Hell, go for the second glass.
Try to decipher the first diagram. If you don’t get it at first, try more wine.
Crying is okay. But do not pee in box.
Call store helpline. Wait for thirty minutes while listening to recorded soundtrack of Mama Mia. (Wine. Duh…) After the eighteenth suggestion that you should check online, and the Abba songs begin to repeat, go to online website to ‘Ask Anna’, their interactive helpbot.
You said: What is the meaning of life.
Anna said: Better minds than I have failed to come up with an answer to that one. Apparantly the answer is “42”, but I believe it’s Good quality affordable furnishing!
[Anna can’t spell ‘apparently’ and she has no idea about how to put a bed together, but she quotes Douglas Adams and she’s willing to discuss many other topics. You find yourself thinking it might be fun to meet for coffee.]
Much wineage. Frighteningly, the little diagrams are starting to make sense. All of a sudden, you have a bed! You just have to use the little funky z-toolmajig to tighten the screw-thingys. From inside a little hole. Where it can only turn an eighth of an inch before you have to take it out and reinsert it and turn it another eighth of a friggin inch. About fifty times. And that’s just the front hole at the top of one leg. [Any comparison to old boyfriends is probably the wine talking. Stick to that story.] Drink directly from the bottle now.
The final step! You place the mattress onto the bed. And note that it is about five inches too narrow for the frame you’ve spent all day assembling.
“Mama mia! Here we go again…” You hum along. Almost an hour later, the customer service person admits that the mattress they sold you only three months ago doesn’t actually fit any of the gazillion bed variations they currently sell. She asks if you might care to wait until they start selling beds that will fit the mattress. She waits politely until your hysterical laughter stops. Then she asks what you would like to do next. They must do an excellent job of training their CS reps, because she ignores the anatomical improbability of your heartfelt suggestions about just what they could do next, and agrees to come and take away the bed on Friday.
All you have to do is take it apart first.