Help, I accidentally built a shelf is a popular internet meme, made popular largely by the fact that is a frequently encountered automatic search query on Google.
The phrase itself is often spread by users as a copypasta, especially on sites and forums, related to furniture assembly.
The origin of the phrase can be traced back to June 11th, 2013 to a since removed Yahoo! Answers post, where the user wrote “Help, I accidentally build a shelf!?”.
The meme would be circulated on social media sites like Facebook and Reddit, before it would start appearing on Google’s search recommendations.
This long lasting gag has continued to appear on a wide variety of sites online, ranging from posts on the r/IKEA subreddit to YouTube parodies.
“Help, I accidentally built a shelf” has spawned a plethora of image macros online, reflecting on the absurdity of tenuously constructing a shelf before realizing it.