Monday, June 18, 2007

Ikea hell.

Don't read this book.

I mean it is a lovely, inspiring, jealousy inducing book but don't read it because it will make you want to do extremely stupid things... like go to Ikea.

I will blog later, with pictures, about the before sewing space and the one now in my mind but for now, let me tell you about Ikea. Really I need to pay a therapist £20o per hour to listen to this tale then tell me that somehow it is my mother's fault. But this is cheaper, so bear with me.

Last night I looked up on line what I wanted. This morning I checked stocck availablity. All I had to do was go and buy it, arrange delivery and later, assemble it. I thought that this afternoon as a quiet 'work from home' day would be a good time to avoid the weekend crowds. So I went at noon and had a sandwich when I got there. So far so calm.

I went to the bookcase and cabinet section and noted down the aisle and collection point for the goods I wanted. I followed obediently the arrows on the floor and the little store map to find the home decoration section. There I discovered that the boxes I had admired in the catalogue were disappointingly flimsy and would not withstand much taking out and putting back of projects. However, they had some wonderfully cheap stacking clear boxes not in the catalogue. Great. But could I get two side by side on the shelves? Mathematically it was an exact fit, but gut instinct told me to check.

So I went back to the shelves. Or I tried to. In fact I walked round and round in circles up and down travellators following arrows, taking the shortcuts on the plan, retracing steps and in the end getting quite sweaty and panicy because it seemed like all roads took me to the children's department with its fuscia walls and scary crab toys. It was like groundhog day. Eventually I found the shelves. Two boxes would not fit. Back to the home decoration. Round and round. Hot and sweaty. The place was heaving with loved up young couples strolling around in my way with their hands in each others back pockets. Eventually I got back to the boxes by which time I decided to sod the measurements and just buy a load of the boxes. They were cheap and would go upstairs anyway if I didn't put them on the shelves.

But to carry them I needed a trolley now not the canvas bag. So down to the entrance. Start again. Gather eight see through boxes and six magazine files. Down to the storage area to buy baskets. Four large to match existing fabric storage ones, six small ones to go on the shelf. Cart now over flowing and things falling off as I make my way to the self-service flat pack area. Realise I need another flat trolley. Have you ever tried pushing two wayward trolleys at once? One bites my ankle, the other sheds baskets one of which narrowly misses a toddlers head.

A man then sees me trying to lug boxes marked 'Heavy: two people' by myself onto the flat trolley which keeps moving back all by itself. He rescues me and I get all the way through the tills to the home delivery point without trouble.

The Home delivery is called Same Day Next Day delivery. Today is Monday. I am told that delivery is to be on Wednesday. I will be at work. I ask for Friday when my cleaner is in. They cannot guarantee a monring. I am happy to wait until Saturday. The system will not let them book so far in advance. I only open my mouth which is located in my hot and sweaty face and the man quickly volunteers to risk his job (obviously preferable to incurring my wrath) by booking a Saturday delivery. I start to pay and say, in an attempt to be friendly, " I did think about putting it in the Vectra but the boxes are always bigger than you think."

"Vectra?" He says. "It will fly into that."

We cancel the credit card and load the car instead. That makes me a happy bunny becuase I don't have to wait and I save £35.

At home I get the lighter bits out myself and sucessfully assemble the shelf inserts and height extension unit. Dennis arrives home and I get the bookcase into the house. First I assemble the whole thing then realise that I have put one shelf the wrong way round so that the unfinished chipboard is visible at the front. I try to unscrew it. The Ikea widgets will not come out. I reckon there are two solutions. (a) put this in the bin and buy another (b) buy some kind of trim for the front.

I ring my dad to ask if such trim is available at B&Q. He tells me I don't need to remove the widgets just turn them to the minums sign and pull hard. He gives me a full explanation of their design. He hasn't got a stick of Ikea furniutre in his house. How does he know this stuff?

I unscrew the widgets and turn the shelf and rescrew it. Dennis rings Dad to tell him we cracked it and I am talking to Mum when I realise that the back which is the next thing to slot in is broken. I hang up on Mum before she gets amouthful of invective.

Instead I ring the Ikea help line. I have to listen ( on an 0845 number) to at least two minutes of advertising. Then two sets of 'press this number' menus. Then I am on hold.... listening to Abba, of course. ( I swear to God it really was Abba). No, they will not send a part out. I have to go back to Ikea.

I have to work up to that. I snarf a Twix. Then we decide to make this bookshelf up using the back from the second bookcase I bought, for a sense of progress. We make it up. I realise I have put the top shelf on upside down. We unscrew it ( because we know how now) and turn it and reassemble. I tack the back on and miss the middle shelf sending three tacks right through the back. I decide that you can't see them because it is so close to the shelf underside and leave it as it is. I stand it up and put some stuff on it. I bought 6 magazine holders. You need 7 for a full shelf.

We go to the car to go to Ikea together because I cannot face it alone. We are stumped. To get the long boxes in ( which is what we are returning) I had to put all the seats except the drivers down. We stand and look at it a while then figure a way to scrunch me up in the back seat and off we set.

The returns people were wonderful. They got me a new part no questions asked. But I had to wait 20 mins while they got it from the warehouse so we went back into the showroom for the magazine file. And some more of those see through boxes because they are just so cheap. And some more baskets because they look good and are just FQ sized and lets face it, I never want to come here again so you don't want to regret not buying enough.....

And now we are home, and I know why Ikea is open until midnight - its not that people want to shop at that time of night its just that they can't get out of the place!!
Tomorrow of course we have to do the other case and then fathom out hinges and glass doors..... DO NOT READ THAT BOOK!!!!


Annica said...

Sorry you had such a rough day! Please don't hate us.
Best wishes from Sweden! :-)

English Rose said...

great story hon, it is JUST like that! you should try doing it in Kuwait, where the staff are all philipinos and speak something that could be english, and where all the other customers are arabic. if they speak english, there is absolutely no problem, as they are charming (except for the charm bypass that seems to happen to everyone as they go in, but that's another story). if they only speak arabic, it is a nightmare, as I don't yet. they are I am sure still charming, but not when they are blocking the aisle or pulling everything out just where you wanted to stand....the book looks nice though....

Purple Missus said...

Reading this I actually felt I was there! Forget the back page of a mag lady, you have got to write a book!

Susan D said...

Oh my God Helen what a day you had. A book to cross of all our lists then. Don't those 'press this number menus' drive you mad as well. It's a wonder I didn't some screams coming from your direction of Merseyside.

Erica said...

Oh Helen, this is so funny! I loved purving through that book and choosing which pieces of Ikea furniture to buy for my dream sewing room. Now I am going to wait to see your photos before I take a single step into the shop.

Helen said...

Best laugh of the week!!

katelnorth said...

Great post. I sympathise, but actually, I am really thankful for Ikea - we had our kitchen units from there when we redid our kitchen 3 yrs ago and would you believe, not only did they deliver everything when they said (for kitchens, you don't collect it from the store yourself) but not a single screw was missing. So many of my friends have B&Q kitchen horror stories, I was really dreading the whole thing. Of course, the builders had to do the putting together part...

However, you're totally right about not being able to get out of the shop. And the other thing is, you go through the shop putting all these things that are a really good price in your trolley and you get to the tills and you've spent a hundred quid.