Why I hate Ikea

Posted by Jonathan
 
I’ve never spoken to anyone who has said "I’m going to Ikea" with anything other than trepidation in their voice. Yet every weekend their warehouses are packed with people suffering for the promise of cheap furniture. This lure goes a long way, but the karmic price that Ikea charges is astronomical.
 
Ikea’s entire business is based around the concept of making a customer buy as much through impulse shopping as possible. They achieve this by funneling customers down a single corridor that winds through the entire shop, and therefore forcing them past every single item in the store, each one artfully displayed as part of a mocked-up arrangement which implies the promise of minimalist domestic bliss.
 
This impulse buy ethos is, I’m sure, the sole cause of the anger which pervades Ikea. Each store is like a pressure-cooker of low-grade rage, stoked by bickering couples fighting over whether or not they really need to buy a bloody laundry basket, and singles trying to push oversized trolleys past the couples who are just getting in the way while they argue. Meanwhile, just to ratchet up the tension some more, bored children are throwing tantrums throughout the store.
 
Not forgetting, of course, that once you get to the checkout, you’ll be luckier than a lottery-winner if everything you want to buy is actually in stock.
 
A simple task that in any normal shop would take five minutes to complete has now taken over two hours, spoilt a weekend, and you haven’t even managed to get your furniture home yet!
 
And it’s at home where the real problems of buying cheap furniture become truly apparent.
 
Ikea’s furniture is cheap, not through any economy of scale, but because it’s rubbish. Particleboard and laminate that is knocked together and which looks good in the shop but just dull at home. That sophisticated clutter-free minimalist lifestyle you were promised in the shop? Get real. If you’re shopping in Ikea, you can’t afford it.
 
You’ll also need to consider how you’re going to actually use your new furniture. Don’t try filling up your bookshelves with hardbacks because the shelves will buckle and the screws will pull out. Careful how you sit down on those folding chairs – any lateral stress and they’ll give out underneath you. Do you want a desk that doesn’t wobble? I suggest that you shop somewhere else.
 
I know that Ikea’s furniture is supposed to be "disposable", but all that actually means is a ready supply of crappy uncomfortable furniture that landlords can fill their overpriced flats with. If you’re buying for yourself, do the sensible thing and spend a little more on something that will last. If you need a table, see if a local carpenter will build you one. It will probably cost you as much and will last forever.
 
But please, please, don’t shop in Ikea. It’s a hateful experience that benefits only the owners of the business. Do yourself a favour and buy some decent furniture from a business that doesn’t treat its customers with such utter contempt.

20 thoughts on “Why I hate Ikea

  1. Rubbish!  Shpping at Ikea can be an absolute nightmare and I agree, their staffing and in-store assistance is derisory.  On the other hand, we have bought two excellent kitchens from them – at less than half the price of the competition – which often professes its competitiveness.  As for getting spares, we\’ve had no problems.  We live 100 miles from the nearest store and a phone call has meant Ikea have sent us the broken or missing part very speedily.  Oh yes, we\’ve used their home delivery service too, and that was excellent.
     
    Altogether Ikea provides a cost effective shopping facility and whilst shopping is never a pleasure and queing always a pain, at least you can get almost everything under one roof.
     
    PS I love some of the food available in their food store by the exit!

  2. I\’m torn on this one, I agree that some of Ikea\’s furniture isn\’t built to last, however: I have two solutions to that problem, firstly most of the things I buy there are pine or other solid wood, Ivar for example, secondly judicious use of Impact Adhesive can ensure that most Ikea paricleboard furniture holds together better than Ikea may have intended, although this then means that you can\’t take it apart again. My 73 year old mother loves the place and has cajoled me into building several Billy shelving units over the years which are still standing despite the fact that all the shelves have been piled up with lever arch files and my college books, on the downside the back boards never seem to stay on. I think that store wise the restaurant is good value, but getting any form of customer service is a nightmare, I would rather pay more and see an advisor for help than wander aimlessly. A tip re: The path through the store, there are shortcuts through the departments in most stores, what I normally do is make a list and then go straight downstairs and look through the aisles, or use the touchscreens to find what I am looking for.

  3. I have just kitted out a dining room with large dining table and solid chairs and a bookcase for under £250.  Ok, it takes a bit of time to put together but is all sturdy, functional and almost stylish. 
     
    But hang-on, I\’ve missed a trick.  I should have got my local carpenter to knock me up the stuff.  Come on Jonathan, local carpenter? What local carpenter? He (or she) must be the one next to the cobblers and candlestick maker only two days horse ride from here.
     
    Let keep it real shall we.
     
    Welcome to choice in the 21st Century.  If you\’re loaded you can buy good solid wood furniture, have it delivered and have a chap place it where you want it.  If you\’re not your choice is MFI, some other budget outlets and IKEA.  Of these IKEA is by far the best.
     
    If you are a muppet you will of course struggle with the assembly instructions.
     
    Richard.
     
    PS Wicked Haddock and Chips in the Cafe….thanks IKEA.  IKEA Rocks. 
     
     

  4. I totally agree with Jonathan, IKEA is hell on earth & most of what it sells is rubbish. What business have we got buying \’disposable\’ furniture anyway, for goodness sake, in these days of trying to preserve the planet\’s resources? What satisfaction is there in knowing that your new furniture is going to be in landfill within 5 years? It may be cheap but it\’s very poor value when compared with better quality furniture. I\’ve furnished my house largely from local auctions & have much better quality furniture (some, but not all, antique) for no more than it would have cost at Ikea. If I get bored or see something I like better, I can sell the things on for as much or more than I paid for them & they don\’t just get taken to the tip. This  does take a bit more patience, initiative & imagination but it\’s also alot more satisfying & my home has since been featured in a national magazine. I haven\’t been to Ikea in over 5 years & have no plans to go back, ever. The last time I did go though, the restaurant was filthy & the whole experience was stressful in the extreme. My partner complained about the dirty restaurant so they sent us some…. restaurant vouchers! Oh, how we laughed!

  5. It is interesting looking at the comments above and to a degree I\’d have to agree with most of them.  As someone who was a devoted Ikea fan in another country and coming here to the UK, I would have to say that I have had some experience in this.
     
    As far as the impulse buying, I have to say I usually come home with one or two more things than I intended, but they are usually things I had on a list to get at some point, and if I coldn\’t afford it I wouldn\’t buy it, there are many worse things I could be doing with my hard earned cash.
     
    I have never found the restaurants dirty, but the customer service is slow/poor at best, which is part of the deal unfortunately and unfortunately as with many things, queing in the UK is far more common, than most other countries, unless you are off to Japan. It seems to be the call at most stores I\’ve been to in the UK that unless you are about to spend your life savings on a meal, or shopping at stores that anyone on a regular salary can afford you are going to have to que for sometimes unrealistic periods.
     
    I will admit, some of the furniture is crap and so you do have to select your purchase carefully, you don\’t buy an Ikea bookshelf if you have a wall of hardbacks and dictionaries to hold on it, however a few on the inevitable one sturdy screwed in shelf in the middle is usually fine, but the backing always comes off.
     
    I have purchased some items with missing screws and went back to the store and after a small wait I got either a refund or could get a new item to replace the one I had.  I have however since arriving here had my worst Ikea experience and one which has prevented me from returning since (not that I am ruling it out altogether!).  I was after a bunk bed for my children as we have moved into a two bedroom flat here and there is not a lot of room.  The one I wanted was not available (as usual) but the store suggested that I could order it and have it sent out to me.
     
    I went along with the plan despite some reluctance, especially on the estimated 4 week delivery time.  When I finally received the call I arranged to be at home and my boxes arrived.  It was only when I started to go through the content that I realised that I had only one of the two boxes for the bed.  Upon ringing to work sort out the problem my nightmare began.
     
    I was transferred between the store who wouldn\’t help me as it was a warehouse problem and the customer assistance team who couldn\’t assist me as they were office based and had no access to the warehouse or the store apart from e-mailing the store.  After a week of getting nowhere I lost it.  I rang the store where I ordered the product and said I wanted to speak to the manager.  After a series of exchanges where I was increasingly frustrated and the person at the store refusing to put me through to the manager because it wasn\’t soemthing he dealt with I was told that my box would be ordered and the central warehouse would contact me.  After another week of waiting and even the customer assistance team telling me, we\’ve already tried to contact them but they just won\’t respond, I took my frustrations to the store in person.
     
    Part of me thought that this should have been my first course of action, but as the store was not close to where I lived I had been reluctant.  It took the best part of one and a half hours, however the store (finally to their credit) agreed to arrange a new delivery of the whole bed to me from them and they would take the one box I had back at the same time.  It took another fortnight, which I was told in advance, but finally the new bunk arrived (in 2 boxes) and the single box was taken away.
     
    This would have to be the single worst shopping experience I have ever experiences and for the trouble I had to pay for numerous calls to Ikea\’s "Help" line.  It is disappointing that in a country with so much to offer, it is virtually only here where you could be a)charged to ring a helpline and then b)actually not be ableto be connected to anyone who can deliver any.
     
    For my troubles and after much complaining to the store they gave me a £20 voucher which I can\’t bring myself to use and I don\’t really want to go through the horror of shopping in Ikea again, but I hold out hope that when I feel up to my next visit, that it is better than my last one (8 months ago).
     

    I have to agree with the comments about the shortcuts, with kids, they\’re a godsend and mean that you can skip whole sections of irrelevant stuff (thus avioding more of the incidental buys) and absolutely with Richard, Jonathon, I don\’t know where you live but if you can get a carpenter to even speak to you about a job costing something the price of an Ikea table then I would be shocked and surprised, let alone the cost of the raw materials!
     

  6. As a person that actually works at IKEA Wednesbury in Self Serve, IKEA is the worst place to shop but the best place to work!!! Only a handful of things such as leksvik, Ikea stockholm are excellent, DONT BUY A LACK SHELF, I MANAGED TO BREAK ONE WITH MY SAFETY BOOTS THE OTHER DAY ON MY FIRST KICK!!!!
     

  7. What a lot of moaning minnies! IKEA is great, disposable I know, but who wants to live in a museum? I love the restaurant and shop too. Delivery is always on time.

  8. Ikea? Bought a doormat one time, some light bulbs another and swedish meatballs (for lunch) another. Sorry, I don\’t get it!
    Who would put such crap in their homes?
    PS the doormat is in the shed!
    David

  9.   as far as it goes, you can follow me home, and every thing I can afford you can have. ieka is a starter furnature, and fixtures, not the family collectables.

  10. Ikea is not all bad as the kitchen ware is really excellent in quality. Saucepans and other gadgets all are very longlasting and I have no complaints at all. (Actually that isn\’t quite true as the tin opener doesn\’t open tins however hard you try!! )
     
    There is a lot of tack but as long as people continue to buy it they will continue to sell it. 

  11. I personally LOATH flat pack furniture…it looks cheap and IS cheap. Why would anyone waste time putting that s**t togeher??

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  13. I work at ikea and deal with people who say ikea is crap everyday and i keep asking myself why do u keep shoping here if u hate it. If u dont like it dont shop there

  14. I work for Ikea and am always interested to see people\’s perspectives of the company, especially as often all I hear are negative things.It is lovely to see that there are some people who do have some perspective to their views and who do take the rough with the smooth, after all isn\’t that how life is for the majority of us? A little good, a little bad? Obviously with the exception of the gentleman who wrote this article, my how I would love to live where he does (or should that be *when* he does?) where one can go to the "local carpenter" to have a desk comissioned, hands up, how many of you have ever had anything comissioned? not many I\’m guessing because……drum roll…….. It\’s pricey, and you have better things to be spending your money on am I right?Well here is where store\’s like Ikea come in, they can provide cost effective alternatives to John Lewis, I shop in John Lewis and have seen many products that look identical for a considerable sum of money, and before I get the "quailty" brigade piping up, let me tell you about some garden furniture they had on my last visit, it WAS identicle, so much so that I up-turned it to have a better look at how it was constructed, I was amused that it was the same so spoke with one of there custoemr service advisors. I asked the smartly dressed man about the product, his exact words were: "Between you and me, that furniture is way over priced, I have seen the exact same thing at IKEA for £400 less for the set you\’re looking at, I would go there!"I will be honest, a lot of my furniture is from Ikea, but I shop sensibly. By that I mean that I have a good look at the product first, I buy select pieces, (much like buying clothes, one only needs a designer shirt to dress up high street jeans!) and I take a good look at the boxes before I load them onto the trolley, if they are dented they go back on the shelf, this way I am certain that the odds are in my favour for a stress fee build when I get home.As for spares, they are FREE, I work in customer services and often see our store giving away all sorts of things for free. I am a consumer and I have never been to a shop which will gladly take back the item you bought a week ago (let\’s be honest people, you bought it some months ago, the box has a date stamp on it and we can read) WITHOUT a receipt for an exchange or store credit, Ikea with then, often, recompense you for the petrol you have used to get to the store. I can hand on heart say that there is NO other store that has such a customer focused approach.So there we have it, some good, some bad, just like life. I\’d like for us to go back to the simpler times, the times when the consumer was happy, where stores were comfortable places to work and where the general public did not see people working in a uniform as fair game for them to abuse because of the bad day they are having.

  15. I spent about 1500€ at IKEA once. Then, a couple years later, I realized how it works. Why it is so cheap to buy there (search for books about IKEA). It’s not because you have to assemble the furniture. It’s not because the shops are like a furniture runaway and thousands of people buy there every fucking minute. It’s because they don’t give a shit about anything else. Landfills of obscolescent unrecyclable crap. Destruction of forests by third party clients working for them. If you can’t afford the real cost of furniture, you’re free to go to IKEA with your eyes closed. But in the end, not only you will pay the price for the existence of -turbocapitalist- businesses like IKEA. We all will. So, next time you see their ads on tv, face the fact: they don’t want to be your friends, they don’t want to save you money or time, they don’t want to make your life better. They simply want to sell you. Anything. So, my advice is: try to buy consciously and responsibly somewhere else. That, of course, in case you give a fuck.

  16. Im sorry but u are all pathetic! ur talking about fucking ikea?! Havent u all got something else to do with ur lives then debate wether u want to shop at ikea or not? Keep it to yourselves!

    • You’re right! But do you know what’s even more pathetic than that? It’s people like you telling others that they are wrong about doing something. while you do the same thing by being here and criticizing. You are very stupid.

  17. who here has buns of steel? ;)

  18. I too don’t like Ikea. Their furnitures is basically crap and shopping there is just annoying and boring. In Addition, Ikea has a dark history which I don’t want to encourage. I stay away from them.

  19. @Grabriel
    August 13, 2011 at 11:17 am :

    I applaud your comment ! Bravo !

    IKEA’s claim about caring for the environment – Bullshit! All they care about is selling you their CRAP. Watched a few programmes recently [done by an independent German TV team] about the sourcing of Ikea wood – in this case it was in Russia where Ikea bought thousand hectares of forest for the sole purpose of deforestation. The workers did not want to comment about their work ’cause they said they were risking their job by talking to ‘foreigners’ about their work.

    The whole Ikea thing is a marketing ploy and I just can’t work out why whole families wish to spend hours in this place – it’s just beyond me. As someone already said : It’s poor value and shoddy. Compare like for like with other stores and you’ll soon discover that they sell it most probably at a much lower price. Where is there value for money ?

    Most of my furniture in my house are selected period/antique/second hand pieces which I choose carefully over the past 25 years . When people come to our house they always ask : ‘Oh, how beautiful – where did you get this or that from ? Sometimes I tell ‘em, sometimes not. But I haven’t turned my home in to a junk place or a museum. If there is a piece that is no longer
    ‘en vogue’ or becomes impractical I’ll put it up for sale and in most cases I get ‘my money back’.

    When going to someone’s home I can always tell if their interior/furniture are from Ikea – ’cause they have a special hallmark : particleboard or whatever they call it – cheap and cheerful as we call it here in England. No character whatsoever, uncomfortable wobbly chairs/beds/sofas – inferior material/fabric and the list goes on and on ………….

    But, I suppose people will sooner or later discover that they had enough filling the skips outside their homes with Ikea ‘interior’ and opt for the proper thing. However, Ikea in the meantime is happy to have fulfilled it’s goal by making a fat profit on the back of their ‘victims’.

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