Friday, November 21, 2008

Ikea nightmare

What is wrong with Ikea? Why have they still not been able to roll out an online ordering system for the stuff people actually want? Why do you never know what they will have in stock, even when you have checked their inventory online? Why is their customer service (at least in the new Brooklyn store) so downright awful?

I am slowly remodeling my kitchen. As a baby step, I decided to build a slide out garbage cabinet/counter top using a basic Ikea cabinet, door and sliding drawer assembly. I couldn't find sliding drawer hardware on Ikea's site (although I later noticed they carry it at the store) so I ordered this from Home Depot. All I had to do was put in my credit card number and address and click 'Buy'. Done. With Ikea's site, eCommerce is apparently on the bleeding edge of technology and not available for most items yet.

So I checked the availability of the cabinet and door at the Brooklyn store and with reasonable assurance that they would have what I wanted, I caught a ride with my buddy Chris down to the Red Hook store.

This is where my nightmare began.

After completing part of the retail maze that is an Ikea store, I arrived at the kitchen station. With printouts of the products I wanted in my hand, I approached the sales people. They were immersed in their computer screens doing something that looked important, so I waited. And waited. After about 10 minutes I politely asked one of the salespeople if there was someone who could help me. She kind of pointed at the other salesperson and he shook his head and told her to take care of me. She then asked how she could help me. They both literally just ignored me for 10 minutes. I could have stood there an hour. Unbelievable.

I show her the printout of the cabinet and say "I want this". You'd think she would be able to scan it or type in a number and instantly call it up. Instead, she looked at me and said, "What is this?" I read the webpage to her and she began searching her database, seemingly bewildered by the whole process.

Finally we got the cabinet into my order. Now it was time to choose a door finish. You can choose anything you want, but most of them are not in stock and require 2 weeks (I am told that 2 Ikea weeks is more like 4-6 weeks in normal time) to be delivered. You know, if I wanted something delivered I would have rather just done it online. So I pick one they have in stock. They print the order and I'm on my way to the register.

A half mile of Ikea maze later I actually find the checkout lanes and wait and wait in line. I pay for the stuff and am directed to pick my stuff up in an area where there is a huge sign that says "Returns" and a bunch of people waiting around, looking confused and frustrated. I manage to find the unmarked pick up counter and hand the guy my invoice. He tells me that when my number comes up, I should come back to the desk. I wait and wait.

My number finally appears on the screen, but the order isn't ready. More waiting. Finally, the guy explains that even though I paid for the cabinet and it actually is in the store, for some reason they can't access it until a half hour after the store closes, so if I don't mind waiting another hour and a half the guy can meet me in the parking lot with my cabinet. What is this a drug deal?

I explain that a friend drove me here and we can't just sit around and wait, so I would please like it delivered to me at no charge. That's a non-starter. Okay, I say, let me just come back on Saturday and pick it up. No deal. I will need to wait in the returns line to get a refund, come back on Saturday, wind through the maze, order it all over again (assuming it's still in stock), wait in line to pay for it, wait in line to pick it up, wait, wait, wait.

Sensing I have been defeated, I saunter over to the returns line. I now understand why pick up and returns are treated as one in the same at Ikea. Jesus.

What could have been accomplished at with 3 mouse clicks has so far taken about 3 hours out of my life and will probably require 3 more. I am now reconsidering whether I want to deal with Ikea at all for the larger kitchen project.

Fuck you, Ikea. What is Swedish for "you suck"?

1 comment:

Iatromante said...

literally: "du suga" ;)