Don’t Let Crappy Directions Foil Your Plans

How You Use Your Materials Is What Matters

Gretchen Lee Bourquin
The Partnered Pen


Photo by Shawn Sim on Unsplash

I recently assembled a piece of furniture, for my mother. When she ordered it, she tried to be mindful so it would not be too difficult. A 4.8 rating for assembly sounded pretty good. But out of the box, it was not that simple.

It was a tall narrow shelving unit that was to be used for books. After work one day I was summoned to help build the thing with my sister. We were both tired, and not in much of a mood for collaboration. It also did not help that the directions were crap. They showed which big pieces went together, kind of, but did not seem to hint at which screws or bolts went where.

I tried to find a video review that might hint at some direction. Seeing someone actually build the thing has helped in the past, but there was nothing. The best I had was a picture of the finished project, which wasn’t much help. My sister advised my mother to send it back; there was an easier way. She went home and I stayed.

I took a break but did not want to give up. I went back to look for something that made sense. I got a shelf to attach to the frame. I got through a few shelves and realized that I attached an extra side piece with each shelf. Each shelf used just one side piece, not two. I had to backtrack.