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A few weeks back, I wrote about how Steve had graciously agreed to spend Father’s Day with Jennifer Lynn and me in that most soul-sucking of all retail experiences…Ikea. If there ever was a demonstration of Steve’s love for me, spending Father’s Day at Ikea has to be it.

There should be a sign at the top of the escalator, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here,” because once you commit to following the black arrow on the maze-like path that guides you through Ikea, you are likely to emerge – this is, if you even make it out at all – disoriented, zombified, blinking at the sunlight wondering where you spent the last six hours of your life.

Before we entirely lost our will to live in the bowels of Ikea’s Marketplace on that day back in June, we managed to grab two shelves for Jennifer Lynn’s room. Of course, there was only one of the matching brackets left in stock and we needed four of them. “Nevermind the shipping costs, we’ll get them online! Let’s get out of here while we still can!”

What we ordered

We did make it out alive and once I recovered, I went to the Ikea website to order four Ekby Hall brackets at $4 each plus $11 shipping. Paying a few dollars to have them shipped versus another trip to Ikea was worth every penny.

About 10 days later, the box from Ikea arrived and sat on a table for a few days while Jennifer Lynn added her creative touch to the shelves with paint and stain. On Saturday, she was ready to have Steve mount the shelves in her room, so she opened the box. Inside it, she found the four brackets that we had ordered on top of a wad of bubble wrap. However, the box also contained a plastic bag filled with about three pounds of heavy-duty bolts and metal shims.

Jennifer Lynn hasn’t had a whole lot of experience with handyman types of jobs but even at first glance, she could tell that this hardware looked like total overkill for what was needed to mount four spindly $4 Ikea brackets.

What we got as a "bonus"

There were instructions inside the bag with bolts and shims. It turns out that Ikea gave us a bonus with our order; we received the hardware and installation instructions for mounting a trailer hitch on a Chevy Venture, Uplander, Pontiac Trans Sport, Buick Terraza, Saturn Relay or Oldsmobile Silhouette.

Let me just add that we have never owned any of these cars with or without a trailer hitch.

So how did this end up in a package that was shipped from some massive Ikea warehouse in Covina, CA? I keep picturing the person packing the box with our brackets and I just can’t get a handle on how the trailer hitch hardware also got packed in there. The randomness of it is really amazing. An empty Slurpee cup, small animal, sex toy… those I can fathom an explanation four. Trailer hitch mounting hardware…not so much. This is confirmation that Ikea has never been known for its quality control.

If Jennifer Lynn and I ever work up the courage to make another trip to Ikea (Steve has already politely declined to join us), I’m going to pass on buying a package of Swedish meatballs.  Who knows what I’ll find in there.

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