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  • Clarke Wallace

GIVE IT UP. NOW!

Ever bought something you had to assemble? Only to decide later it was the worst decision you ever made?

Welcome to the club.

It can’t be that difficult, you tell yourself on opening it. There, in small packages are various sizes of screws, bolts or whatever. Or what comes with electrical assembly: ¾” pipe nipples, flexible water connector. 3/4x1/2” reducer bushings. A wiring kit and inevitably, Teflon Tape.

Last month we bought a simple wood-framed futon. Once together, it’s supposed to turn from a couch into a double bed. Roe and I spent several hours working on it. Something was wrong. Not only did it look lousy, we couldn’t sit or lie on it.

That’s when we realized the two ends had to be reversed.

Ever try to reverse the door on a new fridge so it opens the other way? You don’t just flip it around and tighten a few screws. We did so badly, it meant calling the company who sent over a crew to repair the damage. It took them two hours.

And what’s on the first two or three pages of any assembly instructions? WARNINGS in upper case. Lots of them. Don’t do this; don’t do that. Along with ‘To eliminate the risk of…’

It’s enough to drive you round the bend where you’ll no doubt find something else needs to be put together.

We fell in love recently with a new Vermont Castings barbeque. It was to replace our tired but faithful 15-plus year old Weber. We liked Vermont Castings because back in ’95 we had their wood stove installed in our new solarium. It’s done a Herculean labor ever since over the winter months without complaining.

We took a sneak peek at the BBQ’s instructions. “Enhance your assembly with a quicker & easier assembly experience,” we read - oh yeah? - suggesting we download the free app. Buy it? Bring it home? Assemble it? Are you kidding? We decided right then we’d sooner hold hands and pitch ourselves over Niagara Falls!

Author’s comment: There’s an alternative. Hire, for a price, two guys who’d come recommended, to pick up the BBQ, put it together and deliver it. We nodded in unison. As an aside, the two guys told us we were lucky. It was one of the most difficult units they’d ever tackled.

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