WARNING: Some Assembly May Be Required

As I loaded the big box into my truck I silently wondered what I was getting myself into with this new purchase.   You see, this year I decided that in my deer woods I wasn’t going to hunt solely out of permanent tree stands.   Nope, this year I wanted the flexibility of using at least a few portable deer stands that could be moved around, if necessary.   I settled on a 12’ ladder tree stand with the over-sized seat and platform.

DeerStandSo, there I was unloading the big gangly-looking 105 pound box and carrying it into my shed to begin the assembly process.   This evening I had the choice of either going to the local high school football game on a Friday night…or tackling this project.   It was a tough choice…but I opted for assembly of the deer stand because these days my mind is definitely on hunting.   Besides, I need to get the stand out in the woods soon so it acclimates to the woodland landscape.

I cut open the box knowing full well there would be several loose parts inside.   I grabbed some metal and began pulling…only to find a sticker suddenly attached to my hand.   It was one of those hi-glow safety warning stickers that read: “DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE THIS STAND UNTIL FINAL ASSEMBLY IS COMPLETED.”   Hmm…it never occurred to me that I could begin testing it or even hunting from the stand prior to tightening the last bolt.   Oh well, I realize we live in a litigious society making these goofy stickers necessary…but often the messages can be down-right silly.

Worse yet…as I continued reading all of the “fine print” on this sticker it went on to say “DO NOT REMOVE, DESTROY OR DEFACE THIS LABEL UNDER PENALTY OF LAW.”   What law?   I’ve never heard of a friend or acquaintance prosecuted under such legislation…and let’s face it people have been removing such tags off of pillows and furniture for years.   Even so, my intent was not to purposefully remove the sticker…it simply fell off in my hands while removing the parts from the box.

Little did I realize the warnings contained on this sticker was only a harbinger of many, many more warnings yet to come.   The next warning that really caught my attention was: “PLEASE NOTE: THIS PRODUCT WILL TAKE SOME TIME TO ASSEMBLE.”   Really…I guess I figured that was probably the case…but what exactly do they mean by the making the ambiguous wording “some time?”   Hours?   Days?

Well, just when the stand was starting to take shape and I had about 1/2 of the bolts tightened, I discovered what this warning truly meant.   Indeed, what the comment tried to forewarn me about was to be prepared to disassemble and then reassemble the product once again.   Why?   Because the damn assembly instructions were not only poorly written, but the instructions contained few diagrams for those of us who like to view schematic pictures to see how things should properly go together.   What should have been a project taking only half the evening…in reality ended up taking most of the evening to complete.   Oh, well…!!

Quite honestly I understand the reasoning why consumers are inundated with warnings when purchasing these sort of products.   It’s to help the manufacturer insulate themselves from liability.   In fact, I wouldn’t be surprise if most of the verbiage is standard coming from the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association.   I think it’s great that an organization like this exists to rate these products and now oversees the industry by not only improving safety, but to maintain a quality standard within the industry.

In the end, I was extremely satisfied with the quality and appearance of the product I spent my evening assembling.   If you haven’t looked at ladder stands lately take a closer look.   I think the quality has vastly improved over the years and the prices are getting extremely competitive.   For about $100 you can purchase a functional ladder stand that will serve many years of hard use.   Just remember, some assembly may be required and the project may take more time than you anticipate.   There you have it…you’ve now been given the only warning you realistically need when purchasing such a product.   Have fun and be safe!!!

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.