To: The guy who designs the pictogram directions for IKEA.
From: M-D November
Directions for “Olsvik” table.

OK, look. I’ve been an IKEA customer for longer than I care to admit. My parents redid my room entirely in IKEA furniture when I was 8 years old, away at camp for the first time. When I got my own apartment, and needed lots of furniture really quick (and really cheap), did I just buy some random particle board crap from Lowes? No. I bought your particle board crap. But you’ve always done OK by me – I’ve still got the set of shelves that my parents put in my bedroom over 20 years ago, and to the credit of the design masterminds at your company, they do their job today as well as they ever have. Ah, IKEA, you magnificant Swedish bastards, I read your catalog!

So, that said, I’m hardly a novice at assembling your stuff. I’ve been through beds, dressers, chairs, entertainment centers…no problem. Sure, the pictograph instructions are a little confusing at times, but I’ve always worked it out in the end.

But THIS? This is bullshit.

I’m sure you recognize your handiwork. Step number nine from the assembly instructions for the Olsvik table. In which you instruct the new owner of the table to defy the laws of gravity in order to secure the two lower tiers of the table.I took high school physics, like most educated people. And aside from learning that the solution to most life problems is ‘more torque’, I know that the law of gravity cannot be circumvented. If NASA hasn’t been able to figure it out, I’m sure as hell not going to be able to do it to put together a $40 endtable. I found myself staring at this diagram for a good 10 minutes trying to get a handle on what you were asking me to do, and how I was going to accomplish it – especially with the space shuttle fleet in its current state.

Listen, I understand that you’re under a lot of pressure to create instructions that can be understood (for the most part) in countries all over the world, but you could have at least showed Mr. IKEA Demonstration Man using a thick book, like a dictionary or one of the Harry Potter novels, to hold the table surfaces in place while he screws them down from the underside. Don’t assume that your end users have a Q-like knowledge of the space/time continuum, or that they’d squander that knowledge for the sake of affordable Swedish furniture.


(Oh, and if you could send some of those kick-ass cinnamon buns my way, that’d be great.)