crazy stuff,  Life Lessons

The Desk that Exploded!

The Exploding Desk story is not as exciting as you think it might be. It was certainly exciting when it happened at 11 o’clock at night when both Toby and I were just passing the peaceful sleeping-baby-hours by cruising the internet and playing on our computers.

It sounded like a bus suddenly fell out of the sky and knocked over a metal bookcase full of glass jars of nuts and bolts. IT WAS CRAZY. I remember sitting here at my breakfast bar desk thinking, we don’t have a metal bookcase. Poor Toby. He about had a heart attack. He was sitting AT the desk when it exploded. It didn’t just shatter either. It shot glass shards in every direction, down the hall and even scared the spaz cat who never leaves her post under the bed. The only spot in his room that wasn’t covered with little pieces of glass was the negative space behind where he was sitting. So that means a sheet of exploding glass bounced off his t-shirt and didn’t cut him! Talk about punch to the gut when you’re not expecting it! He did get a small cut on his forearm but nothing serious.

I can only imagine what might have happened if the baby was awake and toddling around his room when this happened. She could have been blinded for life and won a scholarship to any college of her choice from IKEA. I’m so glad she wasn’t there. Of course it woke her up and she cried bloody murder anyway but that’s to be expected when you’re sleeping peacefully and a bus lands on your house.

That pretty much wraps my story. Desk explodes. Toby finds a big piece of cardboard to cover spot where his keyboard sits and carries on. The end.

We bought the desk seventeen million years ago. We don’t have the receipt. I googled them and found someone to contact at IKEA but that proved absolutely useless as they sent me back an auto-form email saying: nothing, nothing and nothing and something about my email being legally exempt if I share it with anybody. Pffft.

At some point when Toby’s not so swamped with work (on the eleventh of Never), he will probably take some pictures into our local IKEA and see if they’ll do anything. I doubt they will.

In the meantime we are boycotting IKEA and never ever buying anything with a glass top again. EVER!


  • OMSH

    That is some serious carnage.
    Again – I’m so glad that you and BB weren’t in there – and so glad that Toby only suffered a single cut … it could have been horrific!

  • Jenifer

    Oh, boy what an experience! We had something similar happen when I was growing up. My parents and I were in the livingroom watching TV and it sounded like someone was throwing pans in the bathroom. Come to find out the glass shower door completely exploded and glass was everywhere: tub, floor, and covering the toilet.

    I refused to use that toilet/bathroom for a long time because I have a huge fear of glass particles.

    SAJ says: No worries Jennifer! Double post deleted! Ah hah! I have the (comment editing) power!

  • Dawn

    WOW! That was some ‘explosion’! Sorry it happened! We had a similar experience with our patio set….imagine having the table “explode” as we sat down to eat dinner and then having to painstakingly pick all the little glass shards out from in between the wood planks of the deck! FUN I tell ya! We whipped up some margaritas and invited friends wielding flat head screwdrivers!

  • andrea

    How scary. So glad that no one was seriously injured. I could only imagine what could have happened if Baby Bug was toddling around.

    I’ve been boycotting IKEA for a while now and will add this to my list of reasons why I am doing so.

  • chris

    I am so glad no one was seriously hurt. How bizarre!

    Before you write off IKEA, I wanted to share: Back before IKEA took over STOR, I bought a bed frame. After about two years it just collapsed one day. Not as dramatic as the desk, but still no fun. But I didn’t have the receipt either. I did managed to narrow down the date I bought the bed though because of an old letter I found. From that, they were able to find it in the system and gave me a full refund.

    The new BluePrint magazine has a feature story about furniture. I believe there is a source for cool colored plexiglass. Might be safer than glass.

  • nina

    SAJ, Check out this website on consumer issues. It explains why glass top tables explode (impurities in glass, usually made overseas). Mainly it’s been with patio tables exploding for no reason but ye gads! somebody could be seriously, seriously hurt. I’m glad everyone is okay.

    With your pictures and your story, do write a letter to IKEA. And another. To the top. Receipt or not, they should recognize their goods and should help you out. A new desk, for sure (maybe not a glasstop).

  • The Chatty Housewife

    Those photos are scary. I can’t believe all the tiny little pieces. We have a sliding glass shower door, and other than that, should be ok. That is so weird that it just randomly explodes.

  • BeachMama

    Sorry Toby happened to be sitting there at that time. We did have a patio table explode but there was a huge wind and our umbrella wasn’t anchored properly, so truly it was our fault. But the shattered peices we had to dig or should I say shopvac out of our newly sodded lawn was crazy. Every now and then I find a missed peice (two years later).

    I do hope Ikea comes through for you somehow, they are usually very good at compensation. I would go into the store though instead of email, it is the person to person service they are known for.

  • Lizz

    Holy crap! I’m sitting here thanking God I didn’t have enough to buy a glass desk myself!! Glad everyone is okay :)

  • Carrie

    Holy crap! How scary! Even more reason for us to get rid of our glass coffee table and end tables. I love the look of glass but think we won’t ever buy it again. So glad to hear you guys are all safe! The thought of BB being in there at the time makes me shudder.

    SAJ says: I think it’s just tempered glass that does this… but still scary!

  • Kuky

    Sooo freaky. What’s tempered glass? Now I feel like shielding myself when I walk past windows or my DVD case. Aaaahhhh glass glass everywhere!! And the shower!! Shower doors!! Oh no, I must bathe huddled in a little ball.

    Hee hee…ok I’m not that paraonid. But the thought did cross my mind.

  • toby

    I don’t care about IKEA, I’ll just never go back. They want us to bring the whole thing back to them to look for ‘defects.’ That’s typical sandbagging- the heck with ’em. This is why I hate mega-corporations even though believe religiously in free enterprise.

    Tempered glass gets it’s strength from differential cooling. It’s under constant strain- creepy really. I’ve seen it fracture many times before, never an explosion like this time.

    I never liked that table anyway- I bought it for the purpose of turning it into a big lightbox back in the film days. -Toby

  • Anonymous

    I can’t exactly tell from the pictures, but I believe the desk you have is actually a dining table called the RISTI. It was made up until about 2003. (It’s in thier catalog). Hopefully that information helps a little bit…


    SAJ says: Thanks! I did want to find that info and hadn’t figure it out yet. You saved me a bunch of time!

  • jo

    I used to work in an old cafe that had big thick soda glasses. They would (very occasionally) explode – just shatter into hundreds of little cubes – scared the crap out of me when it first happened. Never happened to a customer, just when we were washing them – suspect the hot/cold water combined with a little tap in just the right spot (in combination with their age) was what did it.

  • aimee/greeblemonkey

    Wow, my hubby is gonna be thrilled. I have wanted glasstop for years and he has been soooo against it. Glad no one was hurt.

    And I have that same monitor at work. It is the best thing since sliced bread.

  • pinky

    Like everyone, I too have a mysterious exploding glass story. We have screen door that used to have glass in it. One day, it just shattered. I came home from work and there was glass everywhere.