Although I was initially considering purchasing a light fixture, rug or shelving unit for the mancave with my most recent CSN Stores credit, I ended up going in a totally different direction and ordered this paper organizer for my office:
Now that it has been delivered, assembled and utilized for a few days, I’ve prepared a lengthy review, broken down by category.
Payment: A+. Easy. I was given a $45 credit, and since the shelf was $67.99, I was responsible for the $22.99 difference. I was able to cover that from my paypal account so it was quick and simple.
Shipping: A+. Free shipping was an instant advantage. Although at checkout I was told it could take 8-10 business days, I received it after just three days, so shipping was free AND fast. It was delivered by UPS so they would have been able to track it, too. It was packaged well, very protected, so everything arrived in perfect condition.
Trueness to image/description as listed on the website: A. The measurements are all correct, and the color of the wood laminate in real life is very true to what is pictured on the site.
Ease of Assembly: C. The unit came with four wood laminate pieces and cardboard shelves for the interior, with wooden dowels and nails as the hardware. Gauging by how little or much I curse, I can generally tell you how simple or difficult assembly is..... and let me just tell you, I would have made a sailor blush trying to put this thing together - thus, assembly was TRICKY. It wasn't difficult, things just kept going wrong and breaking. As you'll read below, I had problems with every part of this thing.
Quality: F. This is where I have MAJOR, major issues. Given only 4 rectangles of long lamanited wood and pre-glued dowels (that I had to dip in water to activate the glue), it should have been easy to assemble the basic square frame. This was not the case. To get the dowels to fit into the pre-drilled holes, I had to use a rubber mallet, which caused damage every single time. Let me be clear that I was not using excessive force, nor was I missing my target causing me to break the wooden pieces. I was hitting the wood with very reasonable force, and yet, the wood split each time and the cheap, crappy laminate peeled away from the cheap, crappy particle board.
In one case, the wooden dowel caused the outside of the wooden piece to pop up. Very, very unattractive:
Also, as you can see from the picture above, the two pieces of wood have a space in between them, and because the dowel pushed up a part of the piece, there is no way to make these two slats come together without pushing up that bubble even more.
Then when it came time to put the actual cardboard shelves in, I was incredibly disappointed in the quality of the cardboard, too. It kept bending to fit into the slots. The whole point of this piece was to have flat shelves to store paper on, and if the cardboard has a crease in it from where it has bent, well it’s no longer perfectly flat. Also, the piece is NOT very sturdy. I am frankly appalled that this piece of crap unit is priced at $67, and quite honestly having to pay $23 of my own money feels like I spent too much on this.
My verdict: D. The ease of online payment, fast shipment and trueness to its online picture are factors that prevented me from assigning this overall experience with an F. Let me be very clear that I think CSN Stores is positive to deal with, but this really really tainted my opinion of the quality of their products. Although I might purchase dishes or other simple home decor things from them in the future, I would never buy a piece of furniture that I had to assemble myself, regardless of the brand’s manufacturer, and regardless of any positive reviews associated with a particular item on their site.
On the website, this particular unit had 4 out of 5 stars from one reviewer, and that obviously ended up being very different from my experience. From afar, the unit looks okay. But it's NOT sturdy, and an up-close inspection would reveal flaws at every corner.
If CSNStores approached me with another giveaway or review opportunity, I would turn it down. I think I am finished shopping with them. But this is just MY experience, and I know several other people who have had positive experiences with their products and customer service.