There was a terrible amount of fuss when Ikea opened in Southampton. Allegedly people slept overnight to get inside first.
If they were that desperate, they could have gone to the one in Croydon instead.
People's personal strangenesses aside, here are five reasons why I hope to never, ever set foot in the store again.
Permit me initially, to set the scene. Upon completing the spiral-staircase-for-cars that is the entrance ramp, you find you need to go to the top of the store to get into it. Unless you go in at the bottom (which you won't- as it's harder to park there). Fine. Ok. Not TOO bad. So you bimble gently up the travelators and marvel at the scale of the box that is Ikea (9 taped together make a Borg cube).
Once you make it inside, you approach the first point of annoyance. The maps. These show a vague scribble of an outline of the floor you are on, and are dominated completely by a big, white, wiggly arrow that shows you where to go.
Through the shop.
It even tells you "shortcuts" if you happen to decide you don't want to mooch past the throw pillows today.
I think this is beyond the remit of a map. Maps are there for us to find out where we are, and where we want to go- not to tell us that walking a certain way makes the shop happy. Isn't this like buying an AA road atlas and finding it was done on MSPaint, and includes a picture of your house, and a single marked route to north Wales? Or maybe buying a fridge whose instructions inform you what food to fill it with?
Having navigated your way to the section of your choice (or the map's choice) you are now faced with a further problem. Labels.
These are, at best confusing. Each of them is laid out in a similar manner: the name of the product is written in small type, and beneath it, in very large, visible letters, is a word like, 'Snørf'
Or even 'Dave'.
Now, let's be fair, these words clearly mean something. But... what exactly? I'm not stupid (mostly not anyway) and I could not for the life of me work out what they were supposed to be telling us, the bewildered public. Neither could my friend. Neither could my girlfriend. Did I miss some sign?? Or a helpful pamphlet in the art of translating from English into Swedish Furniture? My best guess is that they're somehow part of 'sets' and by matching names you can sort of co-ordinate your kitchen or living room. In that case, it would help if half their products didn't look the same as the other half. Because it really really wouldn't make any difference trying to match things.
Oh also, don't lets gang up and leave a stream of "But it's obvious! It means....." because I don't care- it can't have been that easy to find out, so it's a fail.
This one is quite personal to me. Having worked our way past a collection of 'Fleskes' we finally found ourselves in the kitchen section. Hooray! Rejoice! This is where my sought item must reside.
Basically, I want one of these:
There it is. Nice and simple; sure you've come across one before.
Now, note that I said I WANT one. That's because, they didn't have one.
WHAT? I bought the one that I recently smashed to bits from SAINSBURYS. That's a shop that sells rubbish cheap vodka not crockery- AND YET they managed to sell me one. Here we have IKEA, a store so vast it could hide Johnny Vegas completely; that has an olympic sized kitchenware department; and they didn't have a bloody pyrex dish, with a lid. Oh, don't get me wrong they had dishes, but I needed three things from my simple dish, and they could provide one:
I need it to not blow up upon microwaving.
I need it to have a lid.
I need it to have handles.
I think a recent study showed that over 107% of glass dishes in, and out, of Sweden meet these requirements; so why are they trying to sell me a sodding glass trough with no lid to protect the microwave and no handles to avoid me smashing a second one??
This, probably, sounds petulant. It is after all only a dish. But realistically, you'd be pretty pissed if you turned up at a clothes shop and found they didn't sell trousers, or a stationery shop with no pens, or a car showroom where none of the models had wheels.
A minor niggle, but one that many, many companies are guilty of. Allow me to phrase this as useful advice to any store chain, service provider, or brand of goods:
If I already have your goods, have already paid for your service, or am already in your store, for the love of [enter deity here], STOP ADVERTISING TO ME ALREADY
The car park is large. Not a problem in itself, but now consider that for the entire... what five floors of parking, there are THREE ticket machines, next to each other, and one wasn't working. Now imagine that everyone wants to leave said carpark down the single lane exit ramp, through the single barrier.
If you're struggling, try this: