Some Assembly Required Nightmare

OK, so I needed a new desk chair…..the old one was just that – OLD – it didn’t swivel well anymore, wouldn’t roll easily, it was lumpy and not very comfortable anymore and the leather on the arms was worn/torn to the point that all that was left was the foam that I couldn’t stop myself from picking at! It was at least 15 years old…..maybe more… know that is like 150 in chair years!!! So, I searched and found a new one I liked on the Office Depot web site and ordered it. It came in like 3 days! I was busy over the weekend, so didn’t think about assembling it until today.

First…..the box was mangled when it got here – one of the spokes on the base was sticking out a hole in the side and the top looked like it had been torn opened and taped back up by a pack of wild gorillas leaving gaps and holes! I was sure there were going to be pieces missing, but surprisingly it was all there and nothing was damaged – all good!

I mentioned needing to assemble a new chair to my brother this afternoon and he offered to come over and help, but…….macho me…….I said, no – I think I can do it – I’ve assembled chairs before – I’ll just call you if I run into trouble! Hindsight, being 20/20 – so they say, I know, now that was an offer I should not have refused! The box and description said that everything I would need is included – no additional tools or materials would be necessary!

I soon found out they failed to mention that I would need to solicit the services of an octopus…..or two……to help me complete the assembly!

I carefully removed all the pieces, checked them off the diagram to ensure I had everything, laid them out in the order of the assembly per the directions I read fully before starting, and got started!

The first caster I pressed into place on the base pinched my finger – OUCH! I was more careful with the other three. First step done with just that minor drama.

I then put the gas cylinder in the base – went in like a charm… issues!

Then, I had to screw the adjustment mechanism thingy to the bottom of the chair —- on the last chair I assembled, I did this backwards and had to redo it, so I read the directions and looked at the diagram carefully to not make the same mistake……luckily, this one had a tag that said “front” – something the other one lacked! I carefully placed the mechanism on the bottom of the seat with the tension adjuster facing the front and screwed in all four screws……and, as soon as I finished tightening the last screw I realized they meant the round knob that adjusts the rocking tension…..not the lever that adjusts the height…..and I, despite my care to ensure the contrary, I had it on backwards!!! UGH!!! So, I removed it, turned it, and reinstalled it! No biggie……at least this time I realized it before the rest of the chair was assembled and tilted the wrong way (which is what happened the last time…..and, believe me… is MUCH easier to put something together the right way the first time than take it apart and try to put it back together out of order!). So, crisis averted and on I went!

The seat went on the gas cylinder easily and was done in a flash! Confidence restored!

The step where I had to put the arms on, however, is where the whole project started to head south! The directions just say to affix the arms to the sides of the seat with the screws – they do not say that it is virtually impossible for one person with just two hands to hold the arm in place beside a base that is on casters (and in my case, on a wood floor – not carpeting) while inserting and turning a screw with an allen wrench! Even using my feet and knees, I could not keep the chair from running away from me and keep the arm in place and keep the allen wrench and screw from spending more time on the floor than doing their jobs!!! But……I’m a smart lady – I have some mechanical experience and I have three advanced degrees – I should be able to figure this out! And, I did!!! I laid the base on its side and screwed the arms on from what was now the “top”…..problem solved…..arms securely in place!

Putting the back on looked easy on paper……I had to lay it face down on the seat and screw in the first two screws (no more hovering in mid air trying to screw it in place, like the arms) and then carefully pivot it up into place and screw in the last two screws! Piece of cake, right? WRONG!!! What they failed, again, to mention was that octopus that would have been a HUGE help with this step — the WORST and most frustrating step of all! You see, because of the padding on the back and the seat, the holes were several inches from lining up so I could get the screw started! I literally had to compress the cushions, hold the rolling chair still, and screw the screws into holes I couldn’t see using that allen wrench that really prefers to keep jumping out of my hand to the floor than behaving and doing what it is meant to do……all at the same time……with just two hands!!! Images from old comedy routines where it takes three people to sit on and close an over-stuffed suitcase or trunk….except, they didn’t have the added complication of casters on a wood floor!!! I was seriously considering rolling the whole mess out the back door and giving up……but, the old chair – which may have been a mess, but it was fully assembled (by me, by the way) – was no longer available to go back to……it went to the road with the trash yesterday and some lucky pickers snatched it up before the trash guys came today!

But……after some slightly colorful language, a lot of sweat, and some stress that resulted in a little headache……the chair assembly was completed! I ensured all the screws were fully tightened……I didn’t have any parts left over…….all my fingers and limbs are still intact (although I do have a little blood blister from the pinch from step one)….the adjustment mechanism worked to get it to the height I’m comfortable with……the seat is tilted the right way and nothing is backwards…….and the chair is just as comfortable as it claimed and looked on the web site…….success!!! It only took me about 45 minutes to complete – although it seemed like several hours – and that was with a couple interruptions and one “I’m done” trip to sit at the computer to “cool off”!

WHEW!!! I have a GREAT chair and about a 1,200 word blog post to show for my troubles! Now, if I can just remember to remind myself of this experience the next time I think it is a good idea to purchase something that has to be assembled, I’ll be just fine!!! 😀

My wonderful new chair……may it last me the rest of my life!!!

Until I have something else entertaining to write about…….I wish you all well and hope you never have to hear the words “some assembly required”!


4 Comments on “Some Assembly Required Nightmare

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