The IKEA Dilemma

Kevin drum has a post up about the IKEA experience, which reminds me of my love/hate relationship with this company.

Connecticut got its first IKEA last October, and my sister-in-law and I went shopping there one Saturday. Susy loves shopping more than anyone I know, and I had heard good things about IKEA furniture from my friend Julie.

It was a complete madhouse, of course - we could hardly see the building from our parking spot, and the place was crawling with people. The parking lot had as many license plates from out of state as it did Connecticut plates.

I didn't pick up any furniture, but I got a paring knife, a couple of storage boxes, some curtains and some teacups. I waited in a ridiculous line, and the cashier rang up my purchases, and I wrote a check.

That's when the problems started. My check would not process through their system. We called the cash manager over, and she was quite possibly the least helpful customer service person I've ever dealt with. I didn't have any cash or cards with me, so Susy put my stuff on her credit card and I wrote her a check for it.

That was it for me and IKEA. I vowed never to shop there again. I went home, hung the curtains, washed the teacups and put them away, and then, every time I use that damn paring knife, I would curse IKEA, because I love that paring knife, it's perfect for me, and I hated IKEA for making such nice, inexpensive things and then having such wretched customer service.

And then, I just couldn't help it, my bedroom needed curtains, and everywhere I went, they were so expensive, so I went back to IKEA again. I will never embrace them wholeheartedly, but I have to grudgingly admit that I kind of like shopping there.

And Susy got the number to the floor of the warehouse from an overly helpful customer service person, so when she wants something specific, she calls first to make sure it's there. She was kind enough to give me the number as well.

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