Most helpful critical review
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
A Real Crapshoot
on November 17, 2012
I ordered two of these awesome-looking ladder shelves about three weeks apart. The first one I received was in decent shape, well packaged, all parts accounted for, and the instructions were pretty clear to boot. I would have rated that one four stars, if not for the second shipment of the exact same shelves.
The first thing I noticed was that the shipping box was completely different from the first: different brand name, different packing material, different box altogether basically. Then I unpacked the box to find that every single shelf has a prominent red scuff on the very visible lip (the part that faces out into plain view). It's about four inches long on every shelf, and in roughly the same place, as if there were some sort of manufacturing defect at the plant. The instructions were also completely different, so I just didn't bother with them and assembled the shelves the same way as I did the first.
Fortunately, the hardware was virtually the same, and this one actually included a wall mount to prevent accidental movement of the unit. And that's literally the only good thing I can say about the second set of shelves I received. The struts on either side of the unit are comprised of two pieces of wood each, that you then fit together via pre-installed wood dowels, and secured with a wood screw. Well the left strut pieces didn't align AT ALL. I had to deliberately crack one of the dowels just to fit the pieces together, and then it was quite a battle to align the two pieces so that they actually formed some semblance of a straight edge (spoiler alert: they don't).
Next, I discovered that the raised edge around the middle shelf was broken and was almost completely dislodged from the rest of the shelf. It was being held on by three exposed nails, so I was able to bend them back into place, re-affix the broken piece, and secure it all back in place with the supplied wood glue (I suppose I should have picked up on the foreshadowing there, as the first unit didn't include wood glue at all).
Finally, there's a small block of wood that's supposed to attach to the bottom shelf for added support, but as you've probably guessed, that was a failure too. On my other set of shelves, this little block is cut to the appropriate angle so that, as the unit leans back, it aligns with the floor just right. Not so with the second unit. There's barely a discernible angle at all, and it actually keeps the unit from leaning back at all, instead propping it up nearly perpendicular to the floor. And yes, at first I assumed I just put the block on backwards; but nope, there's literally only one way to attach it.
Anyways, I usually try to review my purchases fairly and objectively, but this is hands-down the worst purchase I've made on Amazon in nearly ten years. And while I certainly don't blame Amazon for the poor craftsmanship of the third-party manufacturer, it has made me more wary of purchasing any other small furniture items online.
Bottom line: four stars for my first set of shelves, and zero stars for the second. Either way, neither one looks as good as the unit in the stock photo.