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IKEA – Please hold while we steal your soul away…

I have always liked IKEA, as long as you accept what it is then I think it fills a great hole in the current market. Usually I like it for the neat storage ideas and for inexpensive items which you don’t mind getting lots of wear and tear. Since moving to London my experience of IKEA has really changed, back in the south west I was close enough to visit their store.

I actually used to enjoy the walk around IKEA even though they pretty much force you to look at their stuff, rather than the conventional stores where you have a choice. Even with that, I saw the whole thing as an event in itself; something to enjoy and hey? why don’t you stop off at their cafe while you are at it, really make a day of it.

It’s not quite as easy to visit their store when you live in London, sure if you live right next to one then great. But the nearest to me is around a fifty minute drive away and thats assuming there isn’t traffic. You know that traffic you experience that google doesn’t warn you about when you find yourself  driving through CENTRAL LONDON. Or even just driving anywhere inside the M25 circle seems to be quite congested, specifically the north side anyway.

The last few times I’ve ordered online, you usually have to add quite a few items before they will deliver it which is fair enough really. It’s quite annoying then that IKEA take an age to actually ship your goods, it’s the longest time ever. The last order they had missed one single trouser hanger, no biggie it’s literally worth nothing much but you would think they would still correct it right?

Well no, you spend about thirty minutes on the phone (which by the way is not a free number) waiting for someone to pickup. I eventually gave up and tried submitting my problem online. Ha! That’s a mistake because they quote at least six days to get back to you. In what world does a company take six days at least to get back to a customer service query? I don’t think I know of any company that has openly quoted that long. At least they are honest I suppose!

So to the bring the story along to more recent ventures, they called me back and told me they will send the items out immediately. Did it ever arrive? No. Could I be bothered chasing it up again? No.

Then onto my second experience of ordering online with IKEA and perhaps my last! I thought that maybe the last phone call I made had long waiting times on the customer service line due to the time of year (christmas). Anyway the order arrived today and I immediately can tell it’s not going to be all roses. One of the boxes made a noise when I took it out of their poorly packaged larger box. I ordered some ceramic plates, I spent quite a while trying to decide whether to order cheap or go for hand made but we’ve had dinnerware from IKEA before and it’s always lasted ok.

So I ordered a complete set including pasta dishes, start to unbox and see that three pasta dishes are in pieces. The next box I opened had two little side plates in the same state.

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Immediately I call the IKEA customer service number, I’m warned that I’ll need to wait at least twenty minutes. It’s like 1-2pm, not exactly peak time so I wait and it hits about thirty – forty minutes some guy picks up.

The poor guy has a terrible cold so they must be understaffed if he’s still working being that sick, I explain the situation and he tells me that it would be too expensive for them to ship the items again. Wait? We paid you for delivery in the first place, the items you sent are broken, give me my items. Blah, Blah, “courier known for throwing items around a lot” Why use them then?

Anyway the guy goes to speak to his manager  and is pretty set that we have three options.

1. We go to the nearest store with the broken items and a case number, they throw in a gift card and some free food vouchers so we can “make a day of it”.

2. They refund the plates (this sucks because I want a set of six for a reason).

3. They send the items from their distribution centre but it’s going to take two weeks and they can’t guarantee that the items won’t be damaged again. They way they said this made it sound like they expected it to get damaged?!

So I went with option 1 but I honestly don’t know if it’s even worth bothering with, once you factor in the cost of the plates against the cost of petrol. But mostly I’m more annoyed that I had to listen to their terrible music for forty minutes of my life.

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