Stephen Fry’s tortured DIY experience

If you are a not a fan of flat pack assembly furniture kits and if you saw Stephen Fry’s tortured experience when Jo Brand challenged him to his first venture into DIY with an Ikea self-assembly desk kit on I’ve Never Seen Star Wars’, then you need to read this!

Even before Stephen commented acidly about David and ‘Geliat’, I saw the joke in the flat pack kit name. Some of us, despite being intelligent adults, just happen to be challenged in the fingers and thumbs and patience department…  Even watching Stephen Fry’s hour and half struggle crammed into a five minute footage made  me want to scream like a two year old, seeing that familiar fold out page of linear instructions and watching the pain and misery of doing things according to instructions, but struggling to keep the bits together.

When Stephen shouted “AGONY!” with sweat literally dripping off his face, I went back to my early home building, budget furniture days again.  Once I was really pleased with myself for finding fabulously stylish bargain flat pack assembly bathroom cupboards, still gorgeous to this day twenty years later… I bit the bullet, set some time aside and refused to answer the door or the phone until I had channelled my pent up angst of failing to put all the pieces together in a way that would see everything correctly in place, with nothing broken or missing…

Every step of putting your new self-assembly furnishings together is riddled with room for error, starting with having the patience to check before you start whether you do indeed have all the necessary pieces for your ‘piece de resistance’ in DIY! (Been there and gone through four hours of pain before realising I had to take the half assembled wardrobe apart again and send it back!!!)

Then there is the Alan Key check around the spare room and the phone call to the friend to return your set of keys you lent to them when they bought their IKEA flat pack assembly bedroom suite!

Stephen Fry unsurprisingly gave his flat pack assembly experience 1 out of 10 and bemoaned the fact that there has to be a gap in the market for “an intelligent, joyful way” of doing home assembly kit furnishings.  The instructions in most budget kits are black and white diagrams… OK if you like that kind of thing, but these large sheets of black lines and circles and arrows can make us feel over-whelmed, dizzy and even sick, whilst reciting out loud: “I am an intelligent adult… I can do this… It will not beat me!”

The truth is, every one of my flat pack kit purchases has come with no guidance on how to refrain from swearing like a trooper or with a voucher for a neck rub to help unskew your muscles from the knots you didn’t realise possible…

I still love flat pack assembly furniture; it’s economical, which is still important and perhaps now more than ever for many people setting up home.  These days, however, there is an “intelligent” solution to the pain associated with the tortuous process of concentration and agility required in successful assembly. It’s called ‘flatpack assembly service’ – GENIUS! It makes sense from both time spent, stress minimisation and even cost to check out your options online or with the retailer you buy from.  Then step back and enjoy the fruits of your shopping labours…

Written by Gale Saunders a guest flatpack hater.

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