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.