Sunday, November 16, 2008

In pursuit of the perfect step stool

We have this step stool in our kitchen which we purchased for our first home in 2002. It's just a basic square wooden stool, useful for obtaining the rice cooker from its home above the fridge, etc. Over the past few months, my daughter has grown increasingly interested in "helping" in the kitchen, or she is at least less irritated with us not giving her our undivided attention if she can see what we are doing up on the kitchen counter. We frequently tell Madelyn to "go get your stool so you can see." She promptly and happily complies, pushing her stool up against the cabinets to get a better vantage point on the cookie dough scooping or lettuce leaf chopping. The stool's protruding sharp corners then were being enthusiastically thrust against our lovely knotty cabinet doors. Tired of constantly trying to help Madelyn guide the stool carefully without causing damage, the need for a new, round stool is clear.

Damaged cabinet fronts and pointy-cornered stool

I had seen Demitri's little round stool from IKEA, and figured it would be as good as any, and probably very inexpensive, the primary appeal of items from IKEA in my book. I know a lot of people who love IKEA. My opinion is that it is fun because it is different, and they have some unique toys and gadgets that are moderately priced. Most of the furniture and decor doesn't suit my personal tastes, and I think my husband's commentary on the shopping experience is spot on: it feels as though you are being "herded" through the store. The winding lines through the cafeteria (to buy food that is thankfully priced low enough to match its quality), giant signs throughout directing you to services you should utilize and items you should purchase, and of course, the signature shopping maze complete with arrows to ensure you follow the path in its entirety. Okay, I'm being extra cynical; remember I did say that the novelty of the IKEA experience is part of the fun. But you have to agree that it would be nearly impossible to run in to this store and grab that one thing you needed without a cartload of other treasures--part of the genius of their design.

We made the pilgrimmage to our IKEA, now located by the Portland Airport (we used to have to drive to the one in Seattle, so this new location is practically in our neighborhood). We found the sought-after stool, as well as an awesome crawl-through tube (another idea we picked up from Demitri's house), and two gifts. A very productive trip, and Gary's prophecy that once inside IKEA I would find all sort of other items that we needed, failed to be fulfilled. I had previously assured him that I just don't like the stuff at IKEA that much.

At home, we eagerly assembled our new green plastic step stool. Gary brought Madelyn into the kitchen to try it out. She climbed up and watched him slice an apple. A few moments later, from where I was in the other room, I heard the unmistakable scraaaape and THUD and waaaaah indicating that the stool had toppled over and Madelyn had collapsed to the ground. I joined Gary consoling Madelyn, and we realized together that this particular stool was intended for sitting, not standing. When she shifts her weight near the edges of the round platform top, it falls over. The surface area where the correct center of gravity is maintained is too small for a counter helper. I hope we'll be out near IKEA sometime in the next 90 days so we can get our $9.99 back. The cost of gas to drive out there just to return it would cancel out the refund.

So back to the drawing board. I know has tons of goodies like this, so I headed there first. I hoped I might be lucky enough to find an acceptable option available in-store to avoid paying for shipping. My search for "step stool" yielded 184 results. One by one I eliminated: too big, too ugly, plastered with cartoon characters, corners even sharper than our old one, too expensive...

But the one that was too expensive is SO cool. It's called a Kik Step, and supposedly you can kick it around to where you need it, then when you step on top, the rolling casters retract and it secures for standing. Not only is the stool round, but the edges are wrapped in rubber bumpers. It is also a better height (taller) than the one we have. Too bad it is $69.99! That is one serious step stool, my friends. I continued to click through the list, noticing the Kik Step in a variety of different colors.
Then I noticed that one--the silvertone color--was on sale for $19.99. It says right there: List Price $69.99, you save $50.00! Now either I have overlooked something in the descriptions, or for some reason Target is selling one color for $50 less than all the others of the exact same model. And this color matches our stainless steel appliances.

So I bought it. Including shipping, it was just over $30, but I'm hoping it will be worth it. That is still nearly 60% off the original price without shipping.

The main concern I have with this stool is whether or not Madelyn's weight will activate its stabilizing feature, or if her 28-ish pounds will be desperately trying to climb on while it rolls freely around the kitchen. We'll find out soon enough whether our pursuit is complete or will be forced to resume.

1 comment:

Bridget said...

Ha. I was going to say, that's not a stepstool, that's a sitting stool. Oh well. You figured it out the hard way.

Let us know if this one works out!


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