The other day we went to IKEA to purchase a stainless steel kitchen counter. We first located the item, along with its wire shelves, on the IKEA website. So, all we had to do was go over there, find the counters, and place an order in the warehouse and we’d be on our way. We approached the parking lot and immediately found the yellow entrance sign. While taking the escalator up, we started salivating when we saw the brightly colored ad for poached salmon with dill and red potatoes. We decided right then and there to have dinner first.
The IKEA dining room was a bit sparse, but, according to my Swedish mom, the open-faced shrimp and hard-boiled egg sandwich was not to be missed. The two tired ladies were at the ready, their ladles anticipating the floating poached salmon with béarnaise sauce, along with the red potatoes and very overcooked greens. The next stop was the densely packed apple torte resting on a lake of vanilla sauce. I had to have the black current sparkling juice to wash it all down. We passed the high top tables and chose the lower seating with the comfortable dome lights hovering just over our heads. Once we took the last bite of apple torte, we were off to the showroom to find our new “Udden“, with its parts.
The escalator took us to the grand showroom that really just moves you around a very large warehouse from kitchen to office, to bedroom. The signs lead you around, with promises that the checkout is near. We finally saw our Udden, its stainless steel gleaming in the distance. We decided that two wire shelves would create a lot of space for all our appliances, pans, and cutting boards. We took the name and number down and made our way around the showroom toward the warehouse where we would pick up our countertop in boxes, ready to assemble.
We made it to the warehouse where there were sturdy shelves holding multiple IKEA products ready to be loaded onto large dollies. After about ten minutes, we spotted a guy in a yellow IKEA shirt. We sighed with relief that we could finally be on our way. We showed him our order form and he promptly asked us what the shelf number and bin number were on this item. We didn’t notice any such thing, only the name “Udden” and the wire shelf names. He informed us that, since the item didn’t have a shelf number or bin number, we had to go back to the showroom to order it from one of the sales people. As we rolled our eyes at the thought of trudging through the showroom once again, we made our way back, found another Udden and, after several minutes, we located a yellow shirt. This sales person was very noncommittal; somewhat annoyed that we had spotted her. Even though we were standing right in front of our Udden, she said that she really needed a visual of the item! We thought that maybe the IKEA magazine could point this out in a clearer manner.
She walked us back to the warehouse and found one of her yellow-shirted colleagues who was stationed at a computer. This new yellow shirt was fairly new and entered our Udden serial numbers not once, but twice. All she had to do was make a printout and we’d be on our way to the cashier. Unfortunately, the printer was blinking red. A very youthful yellow shirt rescued her and our order form was in our hands. The cashier was very automated with directions and a smile as she motioned toward the pickup counter; the blue counter. Ernesto said, “Well, which blue counter? They’re all blue!” It was indeed the blue counter at the far end of the store. Once we were all packed in the car, our boxes in the back seat, we were relieved to realize that we were actually done with the IKEA shopping experience. Now I know why IKEA is a multi-billion dollar industry. They don’t spend money on training their staff.