The recently released House of Commons Lego set comes with a terrifying 100 pages of instructions and 4,163 pieces. The hilarious yet horrified responses to this on Twitter made me think of my own flat-pack furniture struggles…
Back in the 1980s when it still existed, my dad would joke that MFI stood for ‘Made to Fall apart Instantly’. It didn’t stop our family investing in its wares (perhaps investment is too strong a word – or am I being too harsh?).
These days, the spirit of MFI lives on in Ikea and Argos furniture, as well as countless other smaller brands. And us Brits love to hate them, it seems.
Here’s a confession. A few years back, I was in a difficult position financially and had to move back into a house share. My boyfriend offered to cheer me up by constructing a lovely big Ikea wardrobe for me. I couldn’t wait to get back home and hang up all my clothes.
When I walked through the door I was greeted by a scene of chaos and destruction. The wardrobe had collapsed sideways into a rhombus shape, the screws had torn away from their fittings and my boyfriend was sitting sheepishly in the middle of all the Allen keys, chunks of broken MDF, little wooden dowel rods and packing boxes.
I didn’t even need to guess that he hadn’t bothered with the instructions.
I decided to take charge and we went to the DIY store to get some bits and pieces that would hopefully repair the damage.
Despite this, the story ended happily. Boyfriend is now husband, but I married him for his character qualities, not his construction skills.
Cost of convenience
Nowadays, our lives have become so rushed – and instructions so confusing – that there’s a tempting trend towards hiring people to build our furniture for us. To me, this seems to defeat the object of saving money. Why not just buy furniture ready-made? Admittedly, it does provide employment.
Sometimes I dream of a return to a time when it would be the norm for a carpenter to make furniture to our specifications. But in an age of 3D printers, that’s probably never going to happen.
What do you do? Are you a flat-pack fan, or do you prefer to buy ready-made? Would you cheat and hire somebody to build those Billy bookcases?
When it comes to flat-pack furniture I ...
am happy to construct it myself (64%, 833 Votes)
avoid it - I only buy pre-built furniture (19%, 243 Votes)
lose my temper, grumble and eventually get it built (11%, 139 Votes)
get someone else to construct it (7%, 86 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,301