I hate Bush (Desks)

I really tried.

When JoDee and I moved to our new apartment, the desk I was using didn't survive the move. In the process of disassembling it, I turned over the desk top portion of it, which had two pieces of heavy particle board connected toogether by two pieces of metal and foour screws. Well, as luck would have it, the two pieces of wood came together, and the screw/bracket combination made that familiar particle-board "snap" which let me know that whatever had happened was just not going to fixed, no matter how hard I tried. It was a nice desk, but quite frankly it was too huge for our area, and I wanted something without a hutch if I could help it. What follows is the tale of one man's love / hate relationship with the desk that would crush his dreams of owning the perfect desk.

Desk shopping is both a happy and frustrating occasion. Happy, because it allows me to think about how I want to reorganize my working area. Frustrating, because finding the right and perfect desk can be a real challenge. I knew there were several things I didn't want in my desk (like the two CD racks on the front of this model, or the hanging cabinets of doom on this model). After seeng lots of desk, I've come to realize that the desk market has been hit by the same problems as the computer market it supports: too many useless gadgets, and not enough functionality. Worse, the truly functional desks are really expensive (I wasn't about to spend over $200 on a desk, thank you).
The desk I purchased was from Office Max. It's a Bush Vantage Contours desk. It's a beautiful desk. No, really, go ahead and check out the link. I'll wait. It's really a wonder to behold. The lines are gorgeous, the finish feels good. It's a nice looking desk. It has all of the features I would want in a desk.

Now, keep that picture of the gorgeous desk in mind. Rewind to last Monday, when I decided that desk was going to be mine to take home that night. I walked in, confidently, and asked if they had the desk in stock. They did, so I asked if they had it in cherry. Unfortunatley they didn't (apparently that's a special order item), so I had to settle for the lighter wood color. No big deal (it's shabby chic in the den, ladies and gentlemen). I paid for the desk and brought my car around.

Bush, in their infinite wisdom, decided to package and ship this whole desk in one oversized box. We're not just talking a heavy box, we're talking aout a box that no mere mortal car could fit. Apparently from the comments of the employees, I wasn't the only person to have a problem taking this desk home. After trying several car orifices, the helpful folks at Office Max finally jammed it into my trunk, handed me some twine and scissors, and said they couldn't tie the desk down for me.
Now, I understand their reasoning for not taking responsibility for securing my crap in my car it's a little bit disconcerning to find yourself tying a desk into a car without the foggiest idea how to make this happen and no help to guide you. Visions of my new desk taking out someone's undercarriage (or worse) danced through my head with every loop, tuck, and knot. Eventually I did the smartest thing I could: I returned the desk, and vowed either to find something else or to get help to move this.

I should have taken this as a sign.

On Tuesday JoDee and I stopped at Ikea. I noticed the boxes the desks were shipped in (having become somewhat of an accidental expert on the issue with the previous desk-buying purchase). Ikea ships their desks in multiple boxes. Even better, each of the boxes looks like it would fit in a Volkswagen Beetle (the standard measurement of small vehicles) everywhere). Also, in the showroom the desks I saw looked not only functional, but flexible. If not for our car being filled with cleaning supplies, I would have probably considered a desk from Ikea more closely, but soewhere in my mind I had already decided that the Vantage desk was coming home with me.

It wasn't a quesion of when, but how this desk would be coming home. I concocted to enlist my parents' car, which had proven a worthy adversary to all of our junk from our move this past weekend. The trunk was spacious, and laughed at our feeble attempts to fill it. I wonder how many golf bags or grocery bags (again, standard forms of measurement) would fit in this vehicle. I think a whole PGA tour could put their golf bags in there, with room to spare. Surely the desk was no match for the this vehicle.

My dad and I went to Office Max on Wednesday. The furniture guy remembered me and my small car. I assured the good people of Office Max that this time would be different. The desk would be mine. Oh yes, it would be mine indeed.

I bought the desk, and had someone wheel it out to the car.

It didn't fit.

Not even the mighty vehicle, which proved itself in the previous moving battle, was up to the challenge. Defeat crept in again until my dad had the brilliant idea to take apart the box and put in all of the pieces for the desk in the vehicle. Hundreds of pieces lined the trunk of the car. It was pure genius. We got the desk into the car and headed for home. The desk made it with no incidents. Life was good. Birds would have been singing had it been light outside.
In case you can't tell from the photo, the desk is a knock-together desk, which means tthat very few parts are actually assembled. This allows for better transport home, and allows the crafty to have something to play with. I've put together a fair bit of knock-together furniture, so I knew what I was getting into. There were 27 pieces of wood, and my job would be to understand the instructions enough to make a desk from them. Wood + (Lots of little parts) + Time = Desk. Simple equation.

I started putting th desk together around 8pm. It seemed pretty simple enough, but it took way longer than I had expected. I had the framework for the desk up and running by 1am. No drawers, no cardboard backing, but overall it was working.

I have a few comments about this desk I would like to share. The cardboard backing that I referred to earlier is about the same consistency as a stiff milk carton. It tears at even the slightest mishandling. The manual strongly cautions operating the desk without this piece of paper nailed to the back of your desk, but apart from being a suggestion of the shape the desk should have, I don't see how this flimsy cardboard is going to prevent any kind of protection when and if the desk actually does go south. Also, the little screw nails that come with this are the absolute worst nails I think you could use for attaching this cardboard to the back of this desk. Regular nails have a nice flat top on them which helps prefent the hammer from glancing off at odd directions. Odd directions with a nail = bent nail, split wood, and the like. The rounded heads on these screw nails not only allow the glancing blows, they encourage it. And, as anyone who has ever put together knock-together furniture can tell you, once you deviate from the norm, you start to split wood. This leads me to my next complaint about this desk: nothing fits exactly right. None of the pieces line p, and everything looks like it's going together at perfect 90 degree angles, but once weight is put on it, it'll all shift. Nailing a back onto a desk that has shifted is impossible, especially if the goal is to not split the wood. Nothing lined up, and every hammer blow brought me closer and closer to splitting the wood. Eventually I got frustrated and just ripped the whole back off the desk (yes, I am an adult. Why do you ask? :) ) After several moments of quiet contemplation (JoDee called this pouting, but I prefer to think of it as meditation) I decided to nail on a small swatch of this on the back of the lower filecabinet. Honestly, if this thing is going to go, nothing in the world is going to stop it, least of all a piece of two-bit cardboard.

Also, there are some design decisions I think Bush should reconsider. There's no way to get this desk out of the apartment as it is because it's too big for any door, and it doesn't come apart without removing a good portion of it. What were they thinking? Also the laminate is entirely too prone to damage. Grrr...
So, the desk is up, and overall I'm pretty happy with it. There are some things I'm not too pleased with as far as fit and finish. If you look at it closely, you'll notice where things just aren't lined up properly (There's a drawer that has a serious angle on it). Also the CPU tower area needs to be a few inches deeper in my humble opinion (had I put the backing on that area, the CPU wouldn't have fit.

If I had to do it over again with my current knowledge, there's no way I would have bought this desk. I would have probably picked up the TOVIK set over at Ikea, or perhaps the JERKER. I think this is the last Bush desk I'll ever buy. They're just too much hassle for me.


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