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 Post subject: Ikea
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:32 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:05 pm
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I know a lot of people love Ikea, but I'm not one of them. I first went to the Ikea store here five years ago and when we arrived it took 12 minutes of driving around to find a parking space, then we were herded like cattle along a labyrinthine path through the store before we were disgorged at the bottom "marketplace" where we had to hunt down the items we wanted to buy. We waited 45 minutes in line at the cash registers, drove an hour home through bad traffic, and then I spent five frustrating hours assembling and reassembling the items we purchased. I was very unimpressed with their quality, mostly flimsy stuff, poor fittings, next-to-useless pictorial instructions. I swore I would never go there again.

But we went again last night. This time we went on a Tuesday night so finding parking was easy, but the store was still packed with people. The staff were harried and the atmosphere was chaotic. We made the mistake of eating supper in the Ikea cafe; the food was horrible. We did find a couple of clothes bins that we wanted for our bedroom closet, but when we got to the marketplace area we found that the elements of the bins were packaged separately (drawers in one area, the structure in another) and as there were several varieties of both drawers and structures it was almost impossible to figure out which drawers went with which structures. And there were no instructions anywhere to help us. At this point I gave up and stalked out of the place and I really never will go back.

Why is Ikea so popular? I want to like it; I do like some of the stuff they sell, and yet the shopping experience is absolutely unbearable, to me anyway. And inevitably whenever we try to order things from them online, whatever we want can only be purchased at the store.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:10 am 
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Location: England
I like the style of the furniture (I'm a modernist / minimalist at heart if not in practice).

I've only been to Ikea twice not having the need/cash to buy furniture on several occasions, plus its a hassle to get to without a car.

I went very early on a Saturday morning when it wasn't busy and the experience was relatively pleasant - like going to a DIY store.

I found that the key to getting the right product is to write down the correct serial numbers / product name etc in as much detail as possible. If you go when it is not busy, then its easier to find people to help you.

I guess one of the reasons that its cheap is that you have to do a lot of the leg work of picking up the right components yourself. It does have the added benefit that you only have to buy exactly what you need.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:34 am 
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Location: Chicago
I've found that different stores have different personalities (for lack of a better term). For us the Schaumburg store is better than the Bollingbrook one. Ikea has a range of quality, some of the cheap stuff is really, really cheap; but the better (and more expensive) stuff is much more sturdy and well built. I look at the "warehouse" area like a lumber store. You have to know exactly what you want before you get there, or you'll be lost. Usually, we just go there for small things. Glassware, cuttingboards (we like the ikea ones because they sell red and black, so we can differentiate between meat and non-meat boards, and they're cheap enough to replace when they get too deeply grooved to easily sterilize) we also buy picture frames there. ($1.00 for 4 4x6 frames!).

It's not a store to run in, grab one or two things, and run out. You have to be disciplined and have a good list. But I'm a fan.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:31 am 

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I consider Ikea to be a store with largely disposable items. I will not buy furniture there.

I think it's a good place for accessories. I buy boxes of their wineglasses for parties, cheapy kitchen gadgets, kids plastic plates & utensils. Sometimes they have curtain rods or curtains for a good price.

I must disagree with the cafeteria comment though. I think that must have been the particular staff at the store you visit. I like their 99 cent breakfasts and their swedish meatball managers specials. Actually, we buy the kit of 2.5 pounds of meatballs, 2 packs of sauce and a jar of lingnberries for $12. It makes a few meals when you add potatos.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:58 am 

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Friends have served me the Ikea meatballs you can buy frozen and those were good, but the stuff we had at the cafe was barely edible...my girlfriend had fish and chips that tasted of nothing but grease, and I had a sad plate of smoked salmon that was supposed to pass for gravlax, on a bed of lettuce that looked like it had been picked six weeks ago and dragged behind a truck all the way from California. I had one of their cinnamon rolls for dessert and even that was disappointing.

As for finding what we wanted, we did use their little order card and pencil to write down the part numbers, but when we got to the marketplace we found that the bins we wanted were in separate unmarked pieces and we couldn't figure out which bins went with which structures...I suppose I could have figured it out eventually but I was so frustrated and pissed off at that point that I just left. Oh well, it's just not for me I guess.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:26 am 
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Location: Portland, OR
It's definitely not for everyone. I have a couple pieces of their furniture - a dresser and a chaise. I got both because I needed something to fit a small space that would be easy to move. They both look nice but definitely aren't great quality. But they fit the need.

What I find them best for is artwork/frames, kitchen gear, area rugs, hangers and those kinds of things. For those you don't need to go to the warehouse part. They also have some of the best cookies in the world. :-)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:10 pm 
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I totally agree with Brad's original post in this thread... I have only actually been to an IKEA once, but the experience is almost exactly the same. I rate it right above Walmart. And I don't rate anything lower than Walmart.

I helped assemble some IKEA storage racks (with the colorful plastic bins) for my MIL, and I was very unimpressed with the poor fit of the pieces. I guess the only good thing was the price. I also helped assemble a chair & ottoman for my BIL, and was equally unimpressed... until I sat in it -- then things sank to a whole 'nuther level... not only was it flimsy and poorly constructed, but it was uncomfortable to boot!

My wife is most excited about the IKEA store opening in Portland... but I will have nothing to do with it.

On a side note... if I had bought one of those flimsy chair/ottoman chairs from IKEA, would have saved a lot of money over the EKORNES Stressless chair that I bought... but I would never want to sit in the IKEA version, so I guess I can live with the trade-off. :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:39 pm 
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Location: Portland, OR
Jethro wrote:
On a side note... if I had bought one of those flimsy chair/ottoman chairs from IKEA, would have saved a lot of money over the EKORNES Stressless chair that I bought... but I would never want to sit in the IKEA version, so I guess I can live with the trade-off. :wink:


Yeah, the chaise I have isn't the most comfortable thing in the world, but it's ok and it serves it's purpose. For comfort I have a chair and 1/2 from crate and barrel that has big fluffy down pillows. heaven. Funny story about expensive furniture:

Just after I purchase my chair from C&B I moved into a group house because I wanted to cut back on expenses and get out from under some debt. The place where I moved was full of people mostly younger than me and my salary was probably twice what any of theirs was (they were all non-profit and I was a consultant for the govt). As such we had a *bit* of a difference in idea on how you get things and how much they cost. I think 99% of the furniture in the house were things that had been picked up off the sidewalk after others had tossed them (This included couches, tables, shelves, etc.) while everything of mine was new or antique.

So I move into this house and about 3 weeks later my chair is delivered. Since we were re-carpeting, the chair was left, fully wrapped, in the dining room instead of going directly to my room. When my housemate Chris came home he was so impressed. He sat on the chair, saw how comfey it was, saw how clean it was and turned to me and said "this was a great find! I can't believe the wrapped it in plastic before they chucked it!" I just stared at him for a second and started to laugh. Then said "Chris, this is what furniture looks like when you BUY it."

Probably is less funny in writing but it was pretty funny at the time and I think says a lot about the different frames of mind. Chris and my other housemates were incredibly frugal. I became much more so while I lived there but I'll never get to their level. I have no problem dumpster diving for some things but they'd take it all. :-) That said, a few months ago I broke the wheel on my small carry-on suitcase. I was so POd at myself since I'd have to buy a new one (still haven't replaced it - I'm too cheap!). Then I reminded myself that I'd picked that one up off the sidewalk for free so I really couldn't complain that it broke after 3 years of use. :-D


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:43 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:13 am
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I lived very close to the Bolingbrook, IL Ikea and I've met a few women there for dates. It actually seems to work quite well and I'm a big fan of the unorthodox date. We walked around, discussing various subjects and if the conversation ever started to drop off, there was always a chance to critique a peice of furniture or appliance or simply get a feel for the other person's sense of style by noticing which items they preferred. It's a fairly big store, so it was easy to fill a 30 minute or hour block of time which is usually the most I'm willing to give to a first date. There's also plenty of comfortable furniture to rest on and relax for when we would get tired of shuffling around.

I've never bought furniture from Ikea, but I think they have good prices on CFL bulbs. I didn't care for the food at the Schaumburg Ikea too much.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:34 am 
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I’ll agree that the Ikea experience can be hit or miss. Almost my entire office is furnished with Ikea furniture. It was affordable, looks professional with a modern/simplistic feel, took me a day and a half to put it all together, and I only had one screw hole that required a little extra finesse to line up. I am very pleased with it.

As for the Swedish Meatballs from the cafeteria, they’re not bad, and I think of it as part of the whole Ikea experience. It’s like getting a Polish Dog when you go to Costco.

And, I have been on two Ikea dates; they were good times.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:47 am 
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Ha! I never thought of Ikea for dates, probably because I got married before I had access to an Ikea.
Pretty much all of our furniture is either flat-pack (Ikea, Sauder, O'Sullivan) or antique and weighs as much as a small car. The way I look at it is that most people have 3 stages of furniture in their life:

1) "Look at this awesome ____ that someone just threw away. It's only missing one handle."
2) "Hey I just got a new job, I can afford to buy some furniture that doesn't look like I found it in the alley, so I can invite my boss for dinner without looking like I live in a dorm." (this is where Ikea comes in)
3) "Okay, it's time to buy the furniture we're going to keep until we retire and give it to the kids, who'll keep it because it's 'nice' and 'been in the family' even though it doesn't really fit their style."

:)

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:15 am 
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Location: Portland, Oregon
I have never been to an Ikea. I only vaguely understand what the store is about. However, the first Portland Ikea opens at the end of this month. Sometime, when it's convenient, I'll swing by to see what all the fuss is about. I don't need any furniture right now, but may be looking for some for my home office next spring. My current set-up works for an hour or two, but any longer than that and the layout really makes my body hurt and my mind groan. I want a desk and chair that better fit me and the space. It's a business expense!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:56 am 

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Truth be told, despite my pledge to never return, we actually went back last night because we really did want those storage bins we saw and I figured if I went back in a better mood it might work. It did. I did have to spend 20 minutes trying to figure out which packages held the parts I needed (there are about five styles of bins called Antonius and there's no easy way to tell the packaged versions apart, the part numbers don't match up to the display models, but I took my time and managed to not to lose my patience).

When we were moving a few weeks ago, the movers said that all the Ikea furniture they move is flimsy and often falls apart; invariably it's the Ikea products that break most frequently during a move. But I agree that their more expensive stuff looks much better made and would be worth checking out. Sometime.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:03 am 

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I forgot to mention that their kids zone is another reason why I'll go there when I can get stuff at other stores. The kids get 45 minutes or an hour of supervised free playtime which allows plenty of time for parents to browse.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:21 pm 

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Location: USA
I bought an Ikea dresser seven years ago.

The laminate has completely broken off in several places, so it looks really beat up. (To be fair, after four moves, I don't expect much more.) But the drawers still glide like they've been greased.

I wouldn't furnish my whole house from them, but I think the bang for the buck is decent.

Also, Ikea remains one of the few stores that really scales their furniture for smaller spaces. Which is why there's such a brisk resale business on my local Craigslist.

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