Thursday, March 4, 2010

I should know by now that you get what you pay for.  I have
been burned enough over the years that you would think that lesson would have sunk in.  What must be happening is that when I see a good deal, the dollar signs that are floating around my eyes cloud the judgement part of my brain, thus rendering me unable to think clearly.

Such was the case with our new teak table and chair set..... the one I drove 900 miles one way from Cincinnati down to the boat.

As deals go, this was a goody!  Teak is not cheap.  It is weather proof and lasts forever.  The table and chairs were the perfect complement to the teak floors and cabinetry we have virtually all over Maya.  We bought this set at a local 'close-out' warehouse type store and were able to save nearly one boat unit over the prices on the internet.

When we saw it on display in the store, I became giddy with the prospect of another great deal coming our way.  It wasn't until we began to load our car with our newfound loot that the seeds of remorse were sown.  Two familiar phrases were emblazoned all over the packaging; phrases that put the fear of God into deal chasers like me. 

"Made in China"  ...... and ...... "Some assembly required"

Confucius says to "Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes".  Perhaps they should have printed that on the packaging too. If they had, I probably would have turned around and taken the entire set back into the store for a refund, because as I stood there loading my car, that little voice I tend to ignore with great peril (no, not Kim's..... the other voice) was telling me that this wasn't going to turn out good.  My past experience with imports that needed assembly have without exception, ended in disaster.

So if truth is the first casualty of war it might follow that pride is the first casualty of marriage.  I spent the drive home from the store extolling to Kim,  the virtues of our new furniture.  She, being the smart one, had her radar on from the git-go.  "Let's look at this a little closer before we buy it," was her advice.  

"While you are looking closer" I told her,  "I am going to go look for someone to help us out to the car with this."
With those few spoken words, I had just taken ownership of the table and chairs.  If any problems concerning the purchase came up in the future, it would be on my head.

So flash forward to our current location in Florida.  The moment had arrived when I would take the old worn aluminum table and chairs over to Goodwill and majestically replace them with my 'deal of the century'.  As I sat down to ponder the instructions and sort through the various nuts and bolts, it dawned on me that there was something missing.....namely assembly instructions.

Well, I guess I should correct that by saying there were no instructions that were in English.  There was this sheet of paper that I am guessing described what to do with the 60 odd nuts, bolts and screws that were in a pile at my feet but unfortunately it was printed in Chinese.

I wasn't as concerned about putting the puzzle together as I was seeing the look on Kim's face if this thing didn't piece together just right.  I knew that if I didn't make this work, I would never hear the end of it.  If the legs of the table were wobbly or the chairs were squeaky, it would forever be my baby.  So there I sat for the next three hours, trying different combinations of screws and bolts with chair arms and table feet.  It must have been amusing to watch as the older couple in the next house down came out with their evening cocktails to enjoy the show.  

"How's it going there young fella!" they called down once or twice.  "Fine, just fine," I replied. 

Eventually it all came together and I must say it looks rather nice.  While it took a bit longer to assemble than I had anticipated, I am quite proud of the job.  Whenever you come down to the boat and sit in one of the chairs, make sure you ask me to tell you the story of how we got this great deal on the set.  I would be happy to tell you all about it.   Although Confucius tells us that "real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance" I will probably be right there the next time I hear about a big sale on Chinese imports.  



  1. Once again, funny stuff!

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  3. Hello,

    I found your blog accidentally and read about tables and chairs from China, I laughed a lot when told of the instructions in Chinese ... :).

    I was glad to a happy ending! I wish Peace to you both!

  4. Newly found blog. Im now a follower.

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  6. I am new to this bloggers website so i really have no fallowers yet but i found you're blog very intersting sorry about the horrble furniture incident what a downer but congrats on the happy ending

  7. Oh my. I laughed a lot. I feel you- I had the same struggles recently putting together my bed... At least it makes for a good story. :)

  8. There's nothing better than that "on a boat" feeling! Glad you figure out how to assemble your table and chairs, they look great!

  9. Boy, that set is so pretty. It is also eco-friendly.

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