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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 58. IKEA

I first visited IKEA 5 years ago. I vowed it would never happen again. Unfortunately, little Sis has just bought her first house and big brother was drafted into helping fetch furniture from the local IKEA.

"But they have a website, and they deliver" I whined. I even offered to sit in her house and wait for it whilst she went to work (one advantage of working nights).

To no avail. So off we trek. On a Saturday afternoon.

Several things struck me immediately.

1) It was busy.
The first clue came from the fact that it took us 15 minutes (I'm not exagerating I swear) to park. The second clue was that just going up the escalator into the store required us to stand so close together that we just might have broken a few rules about familial proximity.

2) It was hot. Despite it being 2 degrees below outside, the 14 year old sale assistants in their yellow and blue shirts had damp patches, and their hair had gone limp.

3) It was like a maternity ward. Seriously, there were more bumps than a traffic calming zone outside a primary school for disabled kids. Is the nesting instinct in pregnant women so strong that they are compelled to go to IKEA on a saturday? I was worried that if they started playing whale music over the speakers, there wouldn't be enough towels in the linen dept to go around.

4) People will buy any old shite if it has IKEA stamped on it and a vaguely rude sounding Swedish name.
Shoehorns? WTF? Who the hell buys shoehorns? And who the hell names a dining chair "Roger". A chair that could be bullied at school! (BTW - with the aid of an electric screwdriver, I can build a "Roger" in 17 minutes).

5)It is really easy to get separated from your loved ones (or failing that, the fuckers that dragged you to IKEA).
As described above, people will buy anything if it has IKEA stamped on it. One moment little Sis is yammering on about matching door handles, the next I am distracted by someone actually paying money for a bag of coloured sand. When I turn around I find I am alone (or at least as much as anyone can be in IKEA on a saturday). Once upon a time, I would have burst into tears and caused a scene. Now I am older and wiser and my first thought is great, I can have a sit down on that comfy looking futon and play Solitaire on my phone until they call me. Just how did IKEA shoppers survive before the days of mobile telephony?

6) The signs lie.
Barefaced, whopping great lies on a par with the Tooth Fairy and Intelligent Design. Take the one marked exit for example. Load of bollocks. When I was finally phoned and told to get my lazy arse downstairs to do some lifting, I dutifully followed the signs marked "Exit - you will miss Kids IKEA". Good. I don't want Kids IKEA, I might catch something nasty off them. I want to go straight out and into the self-service area. Now lets be honest, despite the funny names - most IKEA stuff looks identical, so it wasn't until I saw the same sign again that I started to suspect that I had gone around in a circle. I followed it again looking for another sign that would break me out of the loop. 5 minutes later - the same bloody sign! Naturally, there were no sales assistants to ask for advice, and everyone else looked as pissed off as me, so I ignored the sign and headed into Kids IKEA. I realised my error immediately. Instead of sitting on a futon playing solitaire, I should have come straight here - they had an XBox with the Simpsons! Unfortunately, I was expected downstairs and the sooner I got there, the sooner I could leave. By simply going in the opposite direction indicated on every exit sign, I soon made my way downstairs.

7) No wonder Mr Ikea is so rich - his customers do all of his work for him.
No overheads. First of all how many "assistants" are there on the floor in IKEA? I saw none that weren't at a till point or selling store cards. Second - warehouses that require a lot of heavy lifting have a high turnover of staff and pay a lot of sick pay and compensation to workers who injure themselves. No such problem in IKEA. Your customers can do all of that shite, whilst your workers are all under 21 and cost you minimum wage. Bonus!

So in summary. I hate fucking IKEA. Next time, we do it on line.




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