scribbles tagged ‘instructions’

STILL complaining about NEXT’s cupboard assembly instructions

Friday, October 25th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

instructionsTighten with a screwdriver

The most unnecessarily overused and condescending phrase of the instructions. See ‘Step Four’ (if you can read the title) as an example.

More efficient and less condescending to tell the assembler when NOT to tighten with a screwdriver –  NEVER!

If you’re going to use cheap photocopies of instructions, use high-contrast original colours e.g. black on white and white on black. Grey on grey becomes illegible with progressive photocopies instead of original print-outs.

NEXT  more emotionally expensive than IKEA, a lesson in how to look cheap.

STILL complaining about NEXT’s cupboard assembly instructions
4 votes rating 4.5

1 wonderful musing »

Over the main hump by step 12

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

instructionsBy step 12 I’m ahead of the game because not only have I put the frame together, I’ve attached the door ahead of schedule. I’m impressed b the precision of the placing of the fixings because everything slots together smoothly, without the aid of a second person. It’s also sufficiently light for me to carry to it’s destination. Phew.

I’m very hungry because this has taken nearly 3 hours and the non-existent 2nd person hasn’t been busy preparing my lunch. Just the 3 drawers, 1 shelf and back to add – then I’m finished – dinner!


nearly 3 hours later

Over the main hump by step 12
4 votes rating 4.5

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inaccuracy (step 5) and ambiguity (step 6)

Monday, October 21st, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

instructionsEverything was moving along smoothly until step 5, which could only be completed by attaching the door. According to the instructions door attachment shouldn’t happen until after the frame is put together. I took a deep breath and attached the door in order to comply with all of step 5. Fearing I’d have to undo this rash, premature action at a later point.

Step 6 seemed straightforward, until I got to step 10 when I realised that piece-10 was attached to the legs – upside down. A subtle difference that is barely perceptible –  the isometric diagram subtly disguises the off-set positioning. When I got to step 10 I had to ‘undo’ step 6 and then redo it with piece-10 the right way round.

Together these little bloopers cost me about 15 minutes of trying to work out what was wrong and what I needed to do to deal with it. Both problems easily fixed in the instructions, difficulties that NEXT has passed onto it’s customers. The instructions feel like they are an afterthought and sloppily implemented.

inaccuracy (step 5) and ambiguity (step 6)
3 votes rating 4.3

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Bottom and middle bit

Saturday, October 19th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |


“panel 12” is a big piece. It’s not named, I guess that it’s the bottom of the cupboard by it’s size and shape. Maybe NEXT have an aversion to printing the word ‘bottom’ or ‘base’ in their instructions? Maybe they think I don’t need to be told what this part is because it’s obvious? So now, all of a sudden, I’m not stupid but I may be a tad prudish.

Middle bit

3x rails. There are 3 drawers, these must be for the drawers. Panel 8 must be the divider between the shelves and the cupboard, yay, I’m working this out by numbers.

Arbitrary ordering

Steps 1 and 2 need not be done in any specific order. If there was a 2nd person (tool) helping they could do step 2 at the same time as I do step 1. Both steps are part of putting the fixings on the main frame ready to slot it together – I’ll have to wait for step 10 before I get the fun of sliding the top on the bottom and sandwiching in the sides….


Step 2 was much quicker than step 1. Maybe I’ll get this assembled in an hour…. LOL

Bottom and middle bit
4 votes rating 4.5

1 wonderful musing »

the mixed step

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |

Doible-sided, A4, photocopied, instructionsLots of these. Unlabelled.

Have NEXT ever put their Self-assembly instructions in front of actual customers, observed them using those instructions to assemble their cupboard, then updated the instructions to remove the big problems?

No. If they had followed this standard good design process then it would have taken me 2 hours, not 4, to construct the cupboard.

The instructions include 17 steps on double-sided, A4, photocopied paper. Before starting these steps NEXT recommend that I check I have all the required parts and the right tools. Because those aren’t steps, I do them before the steps and wonder. What’s a step?

Step one

  • Has no meaningful title to tell me what I’m achieving. They are an ordered list
  • Step one contains a list of 5 numbered things to do, sub-steps? They actually don’t appear to require the order implied by their numbers
  • Introduces the concept of a cambolt. What’s that?! It’s not mentioned on the list of fittings or parts that I checked before taking any steps. A quick look at all the other steps shows that I’ll be using a lot of ‘cambolts’ and there’s something on the fittings sheet labelled  Ø15 that I have 61 of, next to an unusual style screw that I also have 61 of. I’ll guess that this is a cambolt
  • The step tells me what the numbered pieces actually are, 1 is the ‘top panel’, 3 is a side panel, 9 is a ‘rail’, 2 and 5 are legs. Hooray! It’s about preparing the top and back legs to slot into other bits

Step 1 completed, not understoodHere’s step 1 completed in the Wendy house Orangery.

Putting in the cambolts and dowels took about  5 minutes.

Working out what I was supposed to do, interpreting the instructions, took about 10 minutes. 15 minutes per step for 17 steps? This doesn’t bode well. Hopefully I’ll be able to apply learning from step one later down the line, and the steps will be faster.

I got step 1 right. Phew. If only all steps had been this unambiguous…..

the mixed step
5 votes rating 4.8

3 bits of fabulous banter »

NEXT self dissemble

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 | tags: , , , , ,  |

instructions first pageThe delivery man carried my cupboard on his shoulder. Even before it arrived in my hall I’d realised that it was self-assembly. My heart dropped. At the price charged for the cupboard I hadn’t expected Self-assembly, I hadn’t anticipated spending Saturday morning with a screwdriver. Sigh.

Page 1 of 20 Is the cupboard that difficult to construct?

2 people, as tools, to construct it?  I’m offended at being called a tool, I want my cupboard today and my friends, who are not tools may not be available to help me for emergency cupboard assembly….

2 screwdrivers, phew, I’m equipped. Actually I also needed a hammer for inserting dowels and a pair of pliers to removing pieces inserted in the wrong place due to design asymmetry and instruction ambiguity. Now I understand why the sales person was so keen to sell me insurance against getting the furniture scratched.

Helpline?! Goodness, it must be difficult to construct!

This phrase nearly put me off unpacking the box:

“Self-assembly items cannot be returned once assembly is part or fully completed unless the item is found to be faulty

I wonder how many returns Next get from people like me who didn’t realise self assembly, unlike me are scared by 20 pages of instructions and a ‘helpline’ for something that should be simple, and read this no returns as evidence of difficulty to construct and Next pre-empting, to avoid, arguments with its dissatisfied customers.

Important?  they want me to check that they’ve sent me the right bits? Cheeky! They should check they’ve sent me Pacakge contents listthe right parts.  They don’t think I should involve my children in the construction process? Do they think I’m a complete idiot, unable to take responsibility for making decisions about my children and taking responsibility for my own poor decisions. Bloody cheek.

About half the text on the front page is NEXT covering it’s back against customer complaints and returns and treating customers as ignorant, irresponsible, or devious. Thanks NEXT

After 5 years of looking for a cupboard this size and shape I wasn’t gong to let these poor first impressions put me off. I started unpacking and gathered my tools… what happened next is another story….

NEXT self dissemble
8 votes rating 5

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