Reasons I Hate Ikea

Purple Fred (Whom I Love Very Much [Even When She Takes Me to Ikea]) took me to Ikea today. Now I’m possibly the most placid person I know, but I never leave Ikea without wanting to stab someone…

Their Iniquitous Parking System
When Ikea were granted planning permission for the Southampton store, allegedly one of the conditions was the current odd design of the car park, which means that even when the car park is full, most of the queue is on the access ramp, not on the road. So far so good and score one for Southampton City Council (a phrase I’ve never used before and probably won’t again), but the entrance barriers are placed so that when you’re in the queue, you’ve already taken your timed ticket so you’re paying to park. I object strongly enough to paying for the right to park at someone’s shop so I can go and shop there (especially when they’re selling products that you need a car to take home), but paying to sit in the queue to get in is even worse.

Their Restaurant
Last time we ate at Ikea PF(WILVM[EWSTMTI]) had a disappointing experience with the vegetarian option. It wasn’t so bad this time – at least she ate it all and twelve hours later isn’t feeling ill, so that’s at least a minor victory – but today it was my turn. I was tempted away from the salad (and yes, I was really going to have a salad) by the “roast chicken breast with pasta”, accompanied on the menu board by a picture of a golden sizzling roast chicken breast. When I got to the servery, I asked if I could have mashed potato instead of pasta. Apparently not, what you see is what you get and the staff aren’t paid enough to think about confusing options. He was, however, canny enough to pick through a tray of roasted chicken breasts which looked lovely and just like the picture on the menu, and find me one that looked like something Jamie Oliver would’ve sworn about on Jamie’s School Dinners. I don’t like being denied a simple choice, but if them’s the rules, them’s the rules. But I don’t expect to be given second rate food as a punishment for being naughty enough to ask.

Their Weird Bending of the Space-Time Continuinuinuum
Although Southampton’s Ikea is big enough to have its own gravity, that’s not what I mean – but why does a shopping trip to buy one thing have to take so long? Actually it’s weirder than that, even. We left the restaurant, went and looked at one thing, and walked down two flights of stairs. In non-IKEA space, an hour had passed. Answers to that one on a signed photo of Stephen Hawking please.

Their Customer Service Team
…who, after we requested help to load our new bookcases into the car {PF(WILVM[EWSTMTI]) has a bad back, mine isn’t much better, and two of the boxes were labelled as a two-person lift}, told us someone was on their way, and then carried on chatting and laughing with their mates in the car park. NOTE TO IKEA – if you’re going to tell customers that help is on the way, when it patently isn’t, might be an idea if the lounging skivers weren’t actually doing their lounging and skiving in view of the waiting customers.

and finally…

Their Flat-Pack Furniture
I’m stll trying to work out how it is that one of the three boxes comprising an Ikea bookcase is so heavy you can’t lift it on your own (and that’s no exaggeration, you really can’t), yet the finished item can be moved easily around the room by one person – at least until it’s been bolted to the wall. Must be that gravitational effect I referred to earlier.

Oh, and if I ever meet the person who designed Ikea hinges, I’m going to screw a quarter-inch Whitworth into his head and slam his fingers in one of his own doors.

On the other hand, the cartoons in the assembly guide are quite amusing, and it’s very satisfying when it’s done…

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