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IKEA – Never Again

Never Again! We Always Say That When We Go To IKEA – March 2009
Today we went to IKEA, and Hilary got angry. We go to IKEA about once every three or four years, primarily because they do actually sell some quite decent stuff if you choose carefully. Each visit puts us off going again, and then after a few years have elapsed we somehow forget how awful it is.
Cold Chips
First, it being close to lunchtime, we went to the café. It’s a self-service cafeteria, and you queue past the cakes while waiting to get to the hot food counter. Presumably the marketing ploy is that you are likely to be hungry, and therefore will think that a cake will be just the job to follow on from your dinner. Presumably some people do think that. The last thing we felt like eating, when it was lunchtime, was a sweet cake, but presumably the marketing people know what they are doing, it’s just that we live in a parallel universe from the others.
On coming into view of the hot food, Hilary decided that she did not much like the look of any of it, and so picked up a cheese ploughmans sandwich on soggy brown bread in a plastic container. I did not much like the look of any of it either but decided to go for ten meatballs, that the man behind the counter told me I could have with a kind of cranberry sauce, and/or gravy, both of which I declined having seen them poured over the plate of the customer in front of me, and it all looked rather sloppy. With my meatballs I was informed that I could have either potatoes or chips, and choose chips, as the boiled potatoes looked like they may be rather soft.
Then we joined the queue to pay. And we waited, and waited, as our food got cold and as people fiddled and faddled, paying with their credit cards.
Poor People Spend Unwisely
IKEA charges you to pay with a credit card, they charge you 70 pence. Yet everyone we could see was paying with a credit card, and since their meals won’t have cost more that £7 apiece, this means that they were increasing the cost of their dinner by 10% or more, simply in order to pay on the card. Are they so strapped for cash that they do not have seven pounds in their pocket? Presumably so, and presumably they suffer these extra charges in their daily and monthly tranasctions and presumably all these charges mount up.
But the we spotted an empty till and the lady on it shouted, ‘Anyone paying in cash?’ and we said, ‘Yes’ and rushed over there, before our lunch got even colder than it had already become.
Not Exactly a Larhee
In IKEA’s café, if you want a coffee, you take an empty beaker at the food counter and pay an amount (75p) at the checkout, then you can fill it any number of times at the coffee machine in the dining area. After we’d taken our beakers and paid for them, we sat down at our table, and I offered to go and get our coffees. Hilary said she’d like a milky coffee, maybe a latte. But this is IKEA, the only milk-like substance was in little plastic pots, on which it said, ‘Tastes Just Like Milk’. Hilary did not therefore, greatly enjoy her coffee, neither was she much heartened by her soggy sandwich, and even less was she put in good spirits by tasting my chips or meatballs, which we agreed tasted like a cheap hamburger, heavy on the fat.
But the world was coming in with its tray of lunch. Lots of chips, with a customary stop at the sauces counter to pick up a few plastic envelopes of ketchup.
Only So Much Confusion a Person Can Take
So in a not especially warmed frame of mind, we began our wander round the shop. Put a few things in our yellow basket-bag, got lost in the maze and eventually, Hilary by this time beginning to stomp and march as she began to feel aggrieved about the number of times we came upon a section we had seen at least once before, but at length we came to the checkouts, and joined a queue.
We had left about 20 minutes to get through the checkouts, as we had a meeting arranged. When after fifteen of that twenty it became clear that there was no way that we would get to the cash till within enough time to make our appointment, we abandoned our basket-bag – I went and stood it by the wall for a puzzled shop assistant to deal with later – and we gave up and left.
D More-I C
D More-I Fink. D Weld-is Crazy. Hilary was angry. And we are told that what sells your product is customer service! And yet there are all these people, taking a cold lunch to their table in the café and spending vast amounts of money on the contents of shopping trolleys piled high with stuff. What about this credit-crunch and recession of which we hear so much! Though I did notice, that absolutely everyone seemed to be paying on a credit card. And they did not look well off, most people in IKEA looked quite ordinarily dressed. Maybe the poor expect to be treated like this, so they do not think, as we did and have done before, that never again will we go to IKEA.
No, clearly they cannot think the same way as we do, for IKEA is busy. While Hilary is angry and I, well an observational nerd does not get angered by such things for they are all very interesting to observe. Puzzled, would be more the feeling. For no one has to put themselves through all this.


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