Friday, November 03, 2006
Day 3: Why IKEA Sucks
Everyone who knows me, knows that IKEA drives me insane.
The house I live in was a flipper. Meaning, the guy who owned it before I bought it, bought it from a nice family that had owned the place for more than 50 years. Thus, when he bought it, it was long ago paid for, so he got it for a scream. It was also old and in need of some love. He gave it that love and totally renovated. The result: a basement garage became a family room with a 3/4 bath and a laundry space, the main floor became one large room instead of three tiny rooms, and the upstairs got a brand new bathroom complete with a bathtub in a closet.
In renovating the kitchen, Tom decided to go with IKEA cabinetry. All fine and dandy. Their stuff looks nice on the outside and is practical. Sure, it's not custom cabinetry, but then if I was flipping a house, I wouldn't go custom either. Having said that, though, Tom didn't give a ton of thought to functional usage. As a result, I have two cabinets that are 15" wide and 24" deep. What this means is, you can't see where stuff is and when you dig it out, you don't want to put it back because it involves pulling everything out and restocking the cabinet. Not fun.
So, yesterday, I ventured to IKEA to purchase the sliding shelf systems they have for just such cupboards. And that's where my insanity begins.
Having been to IKEA before, I was hoping to thwart the usual system of labyrinths, mazes, and circular disarray by finding what I needed in their catalog. So, I went to Returns & Exchanges, which is where the catalogs reside. I'm thumbing through, trying to find my part, when an IKEA associate comes up and in her Maryland drawl says, "May I help you?" I explain the part I need (because I know what I need) and she tells me I'll have to go upstairs to the Kitchen Department. This is exactly what I DON'T want to do.
When it becomes apparent that there is no other way, though, I stalk off to the Kitchen Department. This being IKEA, I can't just look down a long aisle, find the one marked "Kitchen" and walk right to it. That would make sense. Oh no, no, no. This is IKEA; the Mecca of Consumerism for Yuppies and Students (and cheap bastards who flip houses and don't want to spend a lot.)
I trudge half a football field to the escalators that only go one way: UP. Upon disembarking, I find myself standing right in front of EXACTLY what I need. I'm so excited, I whisper a little prayer, "Please IKEA God, let there be a catalog number with this thing that is EXACTLY what I need and let this be painless. Amen." But no. There is no identifying tag or number or even part name that I can write down and then ask an IKEA associate to look up nor is it a part I can simply pick up from the self-service warehouse. And, at this stage, there isn't an IKEA associate any where. Following the arrows, I go to the Kitchen Department and am finally helped by a Kitchen Specialist.
I get the parts ordered that I need and pay for them right there, thus saving me time standing in line at the registers. I'm thinking, "Okay, this is positive. I'll be able to walk through the store," (which alone takes 10 minutes or more because they send you everywhere and nowhere to get to your final destination) "and my stuff will be ready to pick up when I get downstairs" You'd think, right?
I spend 15 minutes navigating the unholy labyrinth of IKEA and arrive at pick-up expecting to see my number--757--on the electronic board indicating my measly order is ready. Alas, it is not.
In the end, I had to wait another 20 minutes for them to bring me my stuff. Like I have 20 minutes to wait?! And even if I did, I don't want to spend those 20 minutes in an IKEA.
And that, ladies and gents, is why IKEA sucks.