Some Assembly Required
30 Apr, 2015
The following is a true story about one man’s journey putting together a grill after turning down hhgregg’s offer to assemble it for free.
When the nice gentleman at the propane station told me my propane tank was no longer eligible for a refill due to it being over a decade old, I knew I was in trouble. I’d been dreading this day for quite some time because manufacturers were no longer making the type of propane tank my old, beat up grill was built to use. At this point I had two options: buy an expensive adapter and try and squeeze one last summer out of my old grill, or bite the bullet and buy a new one. I choose the latter.
Luck was on my side when I checked my email that day and saw that hhgregg was having a great sale that evening and I knew they carried a variety of grills. My wife and I jumped in her SUV and headed out to our local store in hopes of buying a new model that we’d be able to enjoy the next day.
“She knew two things about me that might make my plan difficult: the first is that I’m not very handy, the second is that I’m even worse at following directions.”
When we got to the store we were impressed with the selection of grills on the floor, and even more ecstatic about the prices. After picking out the grill of our dreams, the hhgregg associate asked us a question that haunted me the rest of the weekend.
“Would you like us to assemble the grill for you?” he asked. “We’ll do it for free.”
“Nah,” I replied. “There’s no reason for that. I’ll put it together tomorrow morning; it’ll give me something to do.”
My wife looked at me like I was crazy. She knew two things about me that might make my plan difficult: the first is that I’m not very handy. The second is that I’m even worse at following directions. I stood my ground though. Her doubt made me even more determined to put this grill together myself.
Two helpful hhgregg employees wheeled our new grill (safely packed away into a large box) out to our car and as they did they asked “You know we will put those together for you for free, right?”
I nodded and told them that I was looking forward to putting it together myself. They turned toward one another quizzically and one of them replied “Well, have fun with that.”
That’s when self doubt began to creep in.
The next day I woke up bright and early to get started on my project. The first step was opening the box, which for most people is easy, but I have a knack for complicating simple tasks. This was no exception.
With the box now opened, I grew anxious when I saw that this grill was in way more parts than I had anticipated. There were screws, bolts, grates, stainless steel and packing Styrofoam as far as the eye could see. I found the instruction manual (which at first I had no plan on using) and looked to see how complicated this task was going to be. After just one glance, I knew this was going to take some time.
In school I used to love picture books because it meant I didn’t have to read much. When it came to putting together a grill, seeing nothing but pictures was a little intimidating. Everything looked the same! “Maybe if I lay it all out on the ground it’ll make more sense,” I thought to myself. What I found was that it made no difference. It was still confusing. Armed with my trusty screwdriver (actually 3 different screw drivers because you never pick out the correct one for the job on the first try) I dove right in.
Thirty minutes in to my assembly adventure, I had managed to put the base together (I hoped) and was now looking to add wheels and eventually the actual grill. I followed the instructions as best as I could, hoping that I was putting screws in the right holes and that I wouldn’t be left with random parts after it was completed.
“All I had to do now was hook up the gas lines and put the actual grilling unit together. Panic set in.”
By the one hour mark, I had gotten the grill on top of the base and it hadn’t fallen and crushed me (yet), so I felt I was going in the right direction. After putting a few more screws in, the base was secured and I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All I had to do now was hook up the gas lines and put the actual grilling unit together. Panic set in.
After 90 minutes of assembly time, the grill was standing on its own and I had managed to avoid putting anything on backwards or upside down. I was also finally starting to understand these instruction manual drawings that had confused me for most of the project.
When I had finally completed the last step of the instructions, I proudly looked at what I had built. I only had two leftover screws and a random metal piece that I’m hoping isn’t that important to the grilling process because I have no idea where it goes. I called my wife in to see my major accomplishment.
“I’m very proud of you,” she said. “It only took you two and a half hours. But you realize we could have eaten lunch by now if you’d just let hhgregg do it.”
“I know that,” I said. “But just think, if they’d done it, I wouldn’t have this cool extra metal piece that I can keep as a souvenir.”
She didn’t find that as funny as I did.
“Have you tried to light it yet?” she asked.
“I thought maybe you’d want to light it up for the first time while I hide on the other side of the house,” I said with a smile. She shook her head , handed me a plate of brats, and walked back inside.
Luckily for all involved, I had managed to hook everything up correctly, lit the grill with no issues, and cooked a wonderful first lunch on our new grill. I knew I could do it!
Though I was proud of what I had accomplished, I realized something that day. If someone offers you free assembly, you take them up on it.