(i'm sorry this is really long.... at least there are photos... and there are more here.)
for the past few months we've been in search of a new entertainment center. we have a small unit that is from Ikea however it leaves all our components open and at perfect button pushing level for a small human. this is, one very unsafe.... two very unsightly and three prompts us to look at a tv even when we are not watching it. i am the hunter and gatherer for our family, i had looked at a few of these, some a jcpenny's, some online at pier 1, and we had plans to drive to Ohio to look at a furniture storeroom that has a good reputation and low delivery costs. all the units i had looked at were between $650 - $850 plus tax and delivery. this was fine it was within our budget but we're always looking for ways to save when possible. so this past monday, we went out to kmart in search of baby gates for said newly crawling baby which we did not find there.... they were out of the preferred style... however we did find an entertainment center in the form of an armoire in the color and style that i liked, it was Martha Stewart Everyday brand. we checked out the quality, found it to be pretty solid plus it was on sale for $332!!!! less than half of our budget! yes, we would have to build it but if that meant that we could pocket the unspent cash and use it while on vacation in june and actually be able to afford a few drinks while there, we were game! Chris is very handy so we figured this would be a breeze. and it was! well sorta.
we opened the box, it was packaged very well, lots of protection, lots of labels on all parts, everything was in order and the directions were very clear and only in one language, ENGLISH, that was a first! the entire time we were putting the armoire together we kept saying how impressed we were with the quality and how nice it's going to look in place of our old system. which looked like this (yes our tv is really old... it was my parents i believe they purchased in in the early 1980's, hey it works... we're holding out for prices on the new hd ones to lower...):
so we are putting our new armoire together, raving about it's greatness... totally jinxing ourselves... we put the doors on, then chris lifts the really heavy top and fastens it into place. we close the doors..... err try to close them. the right one, will not stay closes, it is out of alignment, the left door closes but rubs on the frame really bad the doors are not lining up at all it looks shameful. ooh note, the time. 1 am. yes, we had to wait until max went to bed to put it together for obvious reasons... he goes to bed at 8:30.... we started building at 9. it had been 4 1/2 hours. not bad really, and frankly we were having fun until this "small" snag. next chris attempts to fix this problem, he loosens the hinge brackets and messes with it, he tries everything, again, he is handy this wasn't hard for him... but at this point he was not a happy man. so we move the new armoire into place, shove the old stand in the corner and straighten up as best we can with plans for me to call the company in the morning.
the next morning. max sleeps late, he could hear us making noise the night before and didn't sleep well. i tried calling the manufacturer, busy signal for more than an hour. i check out their website, find another number, call it, more busy signal, ooh it rang and i got some voice mail. finally i got a hold of a person in the shipping department, yes, wrong department but they at least got me to the manager that i wanted to speak to. after talking with her, measuring the bracket placement while on the phone with her, finding the brackets were installed incorrectly at the factory, waiting 7 hours for a call back with a solution and playing with max on the 2nd floor all day, thus getting nothing done on the first floor, she called to say she was shipping us new doors. which we found to not be the problem the brackets were fine on the doors, they were NOT fine on the side panels... we found this because we had also called Kmart and asked them what we could do. they suggested bringing the parts back to them and exchanging the broken parts with an existing box. ok, so we took the armoire apart, took the parts to our local kmart to find that they were out of them. we were pretty grumpy at this point. my house was a mess, i had a very unsafe play space for max, we were hungry, ooh did i mention my house was a mess? and we were dealing with utter idiots at kmart. finally we find that another kmart down the road has what we need. we go there, they tear open the package right in front of the door for us, we get our parts, take them home and are really hoping for a good turnout. we play with max for a bit, feed him and put him to bed. yes i spent all day with a house that looked like this:
finally, we put max to bed. we ate... chris was out of the house until 5, we wanted to get to the store and exchange our parts before it was time to put max to bed. by the time we got home, it was 7.... one hour til bed time.
we started to rebuild the top of our armoire, it was looking good, until we found that some holes on the new parts were ill placed... chris had to then get the drill out. a tool that was not supposed to be needed for assembly. he drilled new holes, it fit. we put the doors on, then the top, we secured everything and closed the doors. Ahhh! thank you, they closed, stayed closed, and lined up perfectly! chris then put the tv/cd player/cable box/receiver in place, wired everything (this took an hour itself) and we finally could clean up the mess that you see above, there was more by the way, all the packaging was in the foyer, the dining room was a mess too.... (see flickr for more photos) everything was put back where it belonged and this morning i took this photo while max was finishing his bottle:
much better huh?
overall, we are happy with the product. we have realized that the cost difference actually reflects the costs for assembly, delivery and installation. if we purchased the more expensive one from a furniture store that's what we would have been paying for. the quality is just the same as what i had seen in the other stores. for the cheaper price we had our new piece installed in a day, that's quicker than we would have received it if we would have purchased it and i would still be pulling max away from the mess of buttons and wires he was able to reach with the old system. now i can let him go in the living room with no worries :) and that's a good thing, as Martha would say!