United States Patent #3149880 is for “Disposable Furniture.” It’s an interesting idea, and one that I feel has been thoroughly embraced by people in the U.S., if not quite intentionally. I like to walk around my neighborhood in all sorts of weather, and it’s an unusual day indeed that doesn’t involve my stopping to inspect some piece of discarded furniture. There isn’t all that much in my house that came out of someone’s trash, but there are a few things. I enjoy refinishing tables, you see, and the curb is a wonderful place to find blank slates upon which to work my magic.
So what do I mean by disposable? This passage from Yet Another Blog about Money sums it up nicely:
IKEA makes sense if you’re willing to recognize that the furniture items you buy aren’t going to become heirlooms–and indeed, might not even survive your next move. They are, in a sense, disposable. If they break or get scratched, you won’t be happy about it, but you won’t lose sleep over it, either. And when you finally decide that you are sick of a particular piece of furniture, it will probably have a used resale value of somewhere between $5 and $25, which, depending on your personal finances, you might not even bother with reselling.
I have one of the chairs in the image above, complete with a nubbly off-white cushion that attracts cat hair like some kind of magical magnet. I tell you this: It’s flimsy. Yes, I’m probably the third or fourth owner of the chair (thanks, Kristina!). Yes, there’s a bit that’s glued because there was a “fyorgen” or whatever it is Ikea calls those oddly shaped screws they give you with your flat packs. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the chair is simply not made to last.