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).