Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Jamais deux sans trois

You wouldn’t expect the Swedes to trick people, would you? They are so straightforward, so no-nonsense, so blond, so healthy, so attractive… but I digress… I usually visit IKEA once a year: it’s tiring and these days there isn’t much I need to buy for my little flat so going there more often would be tedious and unnecessary.

My last ‘expotition’ to the nearest store yielded a very nice shopping trolley at a reduced price of £11, and a white mug-like container with a handle that looked so strange I could not not buy it. I will ask one of my two Swedish friends to tell me what it’s used for. I fully expect her to laugh and say, ‘We don’t use that kind of contraption for anything; it must be Finnish.’ Anyway, on my return home, I checked the receipt and realized to my dismay that I had been charged the full price for the trolley instead of the discounted one. So, two days later, back I went to that huge warehouse, but before going to the customer service desk and complaining about the mistake I thought I should take a photograph of the label showing the price of the trolley in case they didn’t believe me. All the trolleys had been sold, but the label referring to them was still there. That’s when I noticed that I had been charged the correct price: £11 was the Family price. What Family price? Never heard of a Family price.

Easy to miss on the label, non?

I dislike being tricked in this way. I really do. In an attempt to relieve the frustration and resentment I felt, I bought a small table specially designed for laptop users. I occasionally have mine on my lap, but it gets very hot very quickly. Just like the trolley, the table had to be put together, but unlike the trolley, which had been very easy, it couldn’t be built because a main part was missing. So, the next day, I traipsed to IKEA for the third time and returned the stupid, incomplete table. The guy at the desk didn’t even want to hear the reason why I was returning it. As I was leaving, I noticed a large counter in the waiting area, where buyers are encouraged to ‘check’ that the boxes containing the items they have bought are not missing an essential ‘bit’. The very existence of that table means that masses of ‘bits’ are absent from masses of boxes; that it’s a common occurrence.

What about making sure everything is there in the first place, eh? Slap!

PS. At least I won’t have to go back to IKEA for another two years now.


  1. What on earth does family price mean? Unless IKEA has a loyalty scheme called family, surely penalising people on the basis of not being in a family (whatever that is defined as by IKEA) must surely be discrimatory.

  2. Hey, you're right: that would be discrimatory, but it's just another loyalty scheme. I've spent the last 15 minutes browsing - online - one of the magazines you get if you register (you don't even have to prove you're in a family). So many beautiful homes; so many beautiful people living in those homes! Feeling a little suicidal right now. Don't think I'll join.

  3. lady jane grey19/03/2009, 06:56

    It has nothing to do with if you're in family or single - it's the "IKEA family" loyalty scheme. You can become a member in every IKEA house, after filling in a membership card (and I guess after paying a fee) and then you have plenty of benefits, free transport insurane and special "Ikea family" prices for selected products.

  4. I've got a few shelves and things from IKEA that have been very useful, but not recently. They seem to have gone downhill, to me. IMO their sofas are the worst thing there - complete tat. But the crockery is good value and their plants are always in great condition.

  5. IKEA is truely genius. It is a marketing tool. They have the missing pieces available for sale or will give them to you if you are willing to stand in line and wait long enough. Besides, they WANT you to have to come back so that you will buy something else.

  6. I'm sure you're right, Snooker. It's a clever trick. I also hate it when you fall in love with something and you're faced with an empty shelf when you go to get it. It's really infuriating. In these days of electronic stock control, there should be a way of alerting the customer that an item is sold out straight away.


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