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Ikea - John C. Kirk

Dec. 1st, 2005

11:04 pm - Ikea

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Following on from my last entry, shuripentu mentioned that I'd be better off with Ikea than Argos. Hmm.

Now, I know that many of my friends (who are all intelligent people) think that Ikea is a wonderful place, but I fail to understand why. I've been along there a couple of times before, and failed to find anything useful. However, I needed to get a new futon recently, and Argos (my usual supplier) wouldn't be able to deliver anything for 28 days, so I figured that Ikea would be worth a shot.

Step 1: I knew that this would be a pretty bulky item to get home on the tram, so it would make sense to order it online. So, off to their website I go. But according to their FAQ: "Only Sweden, Denmark and Germany currently sell products online." It's almost quaint I suppose; I'm sure that they'll get the hang of this new-fangled Internet thingamibob one of these decades...

Step 2: Go off to the nearest shop, so that I can tell them to send the futon back to my flat. After getting lost in their bizarre one-way system, I found what I wanted. I then went to one of the information desks, to ask about home delivery, and the guy said that I needed to actually get the stuff off the shelf, take it through the till, and then go to a separate desk to get the delivery information. This would have been easier if the different pieces (frame/mattress/cover) had actually been in the same place, or at the very least in the aisles that they claimed to be in. The trolley was also ludicrously small (about half the necessary length), and because they were all stuck together I managed to whack myself in the ankle while pulling it loose, which didn't improve my mood.

Step 3: Get through checkout, go to the delivery desk. It was only at this point that I actually found out how much they charge (via a sign on the wall); I was in the cheapest category (based on items/location), and it was 30 quid. That's a nice little scam they've got going there - make you pay for the items first before they tell you how much they charge to deliver, at which point you're pretty much a captive audience.

In my case, this was more annoying because I'd worked out a strategy; I needed to get the futon from Ikea, and paint etc. from B&Q (both in the same retail park), so I thought that I could go to Ikea first, then have the futon sent on while I went to B&Q, then get a taxi home with the paint. That would save me having to drag bulky stuff round Ikea, and mean that I could do everything in one trip. (Also, Ikea is open until midnight, whereas B&Q closes at 9, so that's the only reason that I went to Ikea first.) Anyway, while the price was extortionate, I figured that it would be worth it, just so that I could stick to my plan.

15 minutes later, the queue hadn't moved, and there was no sign of anything happening. I went up to the front, where there was a security guard standing around - he said that there was only one person on duty, so it would take a while. Don't ask me how this worked; maybe the non-security person was carrying items to their van one by one? With said van being parked in Southampton?

Anyway, at this point I gave up, and decided to get a taxi home instead. This meant standing around in the cold for 45 minutes, and an extra hour of travelling (getting home, then back out on public transport), but it was cheaper (which is somewhat incriminating). I also had a rather disturbing talk with the taxi driver, but more of that in my next post.

As for whether the new futon is any good, I don't know (I'm not assembling it until I've got more space). It's possible that it will be so wonderful that all will be forgiven, but I sat on their display model, and it didn't seem particularly different to my old Argos one (same price, delivered fully assembled).

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Comments:

From:princesslen
Date:December 1st, 2005 11:20 pm (UTC)

Taxi Driver...

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" I also had a rather disturbing talk with the taxi driver, but more of that in my next post."

Looking forward to that!
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From:johnckirk
Date:December 1st, 2005 11:21 pm (UTC)

Re: Taxi Driver...

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Up now</a :)
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From:dwagon
Date:December 2nd, 2005 08:15 am (UTC)
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IKEA do reasonably good furtinutre, at ok prices, but their ordering/delivering system is full of poo of various types. The only sensible way to get big stuff from there is to take someone with a car, because otherwise you end up paying through the nose for delivery. GIven that their website is capable of doing stock checks in the various shops, I've no idea why they don't just add on a simple 'buy' option.
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From:johnckirk
Date:December 5th, 2005 05:31 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, it occurred to me that it's probably easier if there are a few people involved in the process, e.g.

a) Drive out (as you suggested).

b) Send one load back in a taxi to a flatmate who is waiting at home, while you move on to B&Q for the next batch.

c) Divide and conquer! One person does each shop, then all meet up to share the taxi home.

As for the website, I think it would be a good start if they just put their delivery prices up there (e.g. a photo of the sign that's up in the shop, if they're really feeling lazy).
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From:dwagon
Date:December 5th, 2005 08:29 pm (UTC)
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yeah - having to ring a central number to get contact numbers for each stores' delivery department was a right pain last time (I was trying to see which of two stores it would be cheaper to order stuff from).
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From:susannahf
Date:December 2nd, 2005 09:01 am (UTC)
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They're pretty good at delivery if it's a "delivery-only" item, like my sofa was. Other items can be delivered, but it's not by Ikea (it's a separate company, which is why you have to leave the store, and come into another bit). The delivery company are indeed quite shit.

I suspect this is why they don't do online ordering - they don't actually deliver *any* small items - only big stuff which probably comes from a central warehouse somewhere.
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From:baratron
Date:December 5th, 2005 03:23 am (UTC)
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I disagree! I've never had any problems getting them to deliver small items. They've delivered things like a lamp, lightbulbs and pillowcases to us before - even a box of (drinking) glasses, iirc.

Yes, of course we were also having wardrobes & chairs & chests of drawers delivered, but there was no problem at all including the small items in the order, as long as we packed them carefully before leaving them at the Home Delivery counter. I suppose that most people are travelling by car so it's no particular hassle to take the small items home. But yeah, they've always been happy to deliver absolutely everything.

This is at the Croydon branch, mind. I can't answer for other places.
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From:baratron
Date:December 5th, 2005 03:18 am (UTC)
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You obviously didn't read the Ikea walkthrough before you attempted the level. That was silly! Here's the link.

But seriously, stuff like the £30 delivery charge is one of those things you just know if you've been to Ikea. If you'd asked me, I would have told you :( We've had damn good experiences with the Croydon one - like being at the Home Delivery depot bit at 11pm on Saturday night and arranging delivery for 12pm on Sunday. (Yes, they do 7 day delivery. And they stick to their time slots, unlike any other company I've ever dealt with. And they ring you so you know how long you've got to wait.)

I LOVE Ikea, but then I never go there without either my minidisc player or Game Boy Advance. I always have a plan for what furniture item I want, pre-selected from the catalogue. I also take my own notebook and Ikea pencil (that I've acquired on a previous visit) so that I can make a note of where the items live without having to queue up & ask a customer sales droid (sorry, Co-worker - why are they called Co-workers? The customers don't work at Ikea!). I pay careful attention to where the Cut-Throughs in the Showroom are located (they move around) so that I can get to where I want quickly & easily without having to drag round the whole store. And I go with £25 extra than I meant to spend because I KNOW I'm going to end up in the Kitchenware department buying things I didn't know I needed until I saw them.
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From:johnckirk
Date:December 5th, 2005 05:32 pm (UTC)
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Nice link :)

The one good thing that I'd acknowledge about Ikea is their late opening, given my erratic working hours.
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From:baratron
Date:December 6th, 2005 06:28 am (UTC)
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I don't want to tell you how many times I've been in Ikea at midnight. Mostly because I'm not sure :)

Another piece of information about the Home Delivery service - and this one really IS a rip-off. If you buy an item from the Bargain Corner (the damaged /ex-display/ offcuts section), because it is not packaged, you have to pay an enormous surcharge on the delivery. Off the top of my head I don't remember the exact figure, but I think it was in the region of £30-50 per item. This makes a lot of the things in the Bargain Corner signficantly less bargain.

Ikea's argument is probably that you should walk round to the Home Delivery desk and read up on the terms and conditions before making a purchase. In Croydon Ikea, it's possible to do this - they have it open so you can walk through to the Bistro (hot dog stand), cashpoint, recycling centre & Customer Returns - the Home Delivery is next to Customer Returns. I suppose they have a point. But it does seem a bit off that there's not a sign up in the Bargain Corner to warn you of the increased delivery charge. I, er, did mean to complain formally, but never got round to it. Maybe next time I go.
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