IKEA – Tales from the Big Blue Warehouse

You’ve got to hand it to them, those folks at IKEA are clever.  Who else would lay out their store on a giant snakes and ladders board?  Who else would get away with making it impossible to take your trolley to your car but make you bring your car to the trolley instead?


Have you ever been to an IKEA store and left without buying something you didn’t intend to buy?  How many tea light candles have you got in your kitchen drawer?  How many pencils have you stolen?


How many times have you left without something you did intend to buy?  No doubt it was out of stock.  Not a lot of point checking beforehand because they turn over the stuff so fast that it can be out of stock again before you’ve even reversed your car out of the drive.  Then there are those times when you left thinking that you did indeed buy what you intended then you drive home with the boxes sticking out three feet through the car window only to get there, open the box and discover that it contains something else entirely. Or maybe it’s the wrong colour.  Or maybe it contains only 497 of the 498 little bits required to build the bloody thing.


To be fair though, it does have its good points.  Those hot dogs aren’t half bad and the row of cages beside the exit where you can leave the dog or the children whilst you go to retrieve your car are a stroke of genius.


More often than not though, a visit to IKEA is a pain in the ass.


Needless to say, I have had occasion to drop them the occasional line of complaint but I can’t be the only one.  There must have been millions of complaint letters sent to IKEA every year.


Here are just a couple to start our collection.  Click on the title or the picture to go to the letter:


400x250 IKEA button Oops

Miss Business and the Three-Legged Desk

A letter to the IKEA store in Leeds after a shop assistant who had graduated from the Guantanamo Bay College of Psychological Warfare was let loose in the IKEA Business Department.







400x250 IKEA Button Help

A Weekend of Adventure

A letter from the other side of the pond.  New Yorker Keith Snyder is having just as much trouble with his bookshelf as the rest of the planet.  It’s the wrong colour and someone has covered up all the little holes…




Help spread the word about Dear Customer Relations – hit the Facebook ‘Like’ button below:


And why not share this page on your Facebook timeline (or a friend’s timeline):
Share button

7 thoughts on “IKEA – Tales from the Big Blue Warehouse”

  1. Well, these posts satisfied me to no end, as I too have had an Ikea weekend experience to remember.

    I am a single mom, with limited resources, and finally decided to replace my kitchen table and chairs. Ikea is for every family who has a budget and a need. Ikea offered a price I could afford, and so off my daughter and I traveled. After 160 miles and a 3 hr journey round trip, I unpacked my Jokkmokk chairs and spent 2.5 hrs putting them together. As these chairs involve 20 wood pieces, 24 long black crews, 20 smaller silver screws, 20 plastic supports, and 66 dowels pieces – well, to say the least, I was rather proud of myself. Little did I know what lay ahead. The next morning, I pulled out the matching table top and discovered it had a series of scratches, center top. Oh no, why me? I asked. Did we do this by accident coming up the stairs? So, thinking I could fix the problem myself, I took a bit of sandpaper and sanded a few inches. It was then that I realized the full extent of the the problem. On closer inspection, I saw that the six grooves were in curved formation and contained furniture varnish deeply ingrained. This was not something we could have done lugging a big box up the stairs.

    So, thinking Ikea might care, I called them. I also reached Ms. Customer Service who was initially cheerful, and was happy to replace the table top, “Just bring it in and we will give you another table top.” Did I need to return the chairs, I asked. “Oh no, we will be happy to replace only the table top, and you can keep the chairs.” Even with several inches of sanded wood? I could have lied, but I really did want to be honest, as I had initially thought I had placed the scratches there myself. “Well, I don’t think there will be a problem,” she chirped, “But let me check with my manager.” Well, that was a mistake. When she returned to the phone, I was now told that under no circumstances would I be able to replace the table top “since I had further damaged the table top.” So I asked her if Ikea had a room full of damaged items they sell at half price? A room I had not noticed. Were they planning to resell the table top with the scratches in tact? She simply repeated her denial. I then became quite frustrated and asked her why, after spending $290 at their store, were they not concerned about the original scratches, which could still be seen? I reminded her that I would never have gotten into this predicament at all if the table top had not been damaged to begin with. I told her that her answer was not only confusing, but one I could not accept. Well, that got me into trouble. I then asked to speak with her manager, and of course, in the true spirit of customer service, she hung up on me. So, I had no choice. I bought two packs of sandpaper ($9.00), a can of varnish remover ($8.00), a small jar of varnish (fruitwood $6.99), and a small can of polyurethane ($6.99) — and I successfully sanded the entire table top, adding varnish to match. So, $31.00 and three hours later, I am now the proud owner of an Ikea table with matching chairs, and other assorted items I do not readily need. Yet I have learned a lesson. Ikea is the store for glassware, spoons, and little rugs, not a store for furniture. And we will miss the hot dogs, chips, and soda. Ah well, you can’t have everything.

  2. I just had a horrible three-week ordeal with IKEA and was about to write a detailed letter to post on the internet when I came across this website. I was absolutely furious with IKEA’s customer service (store manager). After reading Keith Snyder’s letter above, I was able to laugh. Thanks for a great letter. IKEA has definitely lost me as a customer and I will be writing of my terrible experience with IKEA. I have never had such terrible customer service from such a big company.

  3. Great letter, LOL, and soooo true.

    I never shop at IKEA. Worst customer service in the world and the quality of their stuff really is terrible. It’s throwaway furniture, nothing else. We’ve now got one in Bangkok. Needless to say I’ve never been anywhere near it.

  4. I have been attempting to get an extra shelf required to complete a “Besta” shelving unit using IKEA Direct because my local store (Edinburgh) never seems to have them in stock any-more (the range has not been discontinued)…

    After two attempts I received the following email response…

    “Hello Scott,

    Sorry for the confusion but IKEA Edinburgh is not stocking this item any longer but other stores such as Glasgow will continue to sell this product. I empathise with your situation and sorry for any inconvenience.

    Thank You

    IKEA Direct”

    So here is my reply…

    “I have to wonder what happened to CUSTOMER SERVICE in this country!!!

    Instead of telling me I have to go all the way to “other stores such as Glasgow” and apologising for the inconvenience because service at the Edinburgh store is so poor they have suddenly stopped bothering to stocking them, how about get one in stock from one of these “other stores” for a customer who has spent £100’s on Besta for his lounge and now has an incomplete unit for the lack of one shelf. That might actually constitute customer service! You are supposedly IKEA Direct are you not?

    In the absence of such, I’m just going to have to pass this on to the consumer press (Which? and BBC Watch Dog) as examples of how not to do it!

    Thanks for your help (yes that’s sarcasm)”

    I’ll let you know if we get some real customer service or ignored.

  5. I stumbled upon your blog while searching for a picture of an Ikea store. See, I was preparing a similar blog post of my horrid experience with Ikea this weekend. I must confess, your story was actually worse. I wrote my own letter to Ikea, which was met with a form response telling me to do exactly what the store said it could not. I thought my letter was fantastic, that is, until I read Keith’s letter. It totally made my day and helped me to realize I’m not alone in the Shafted-By-Ikea boat.

    I’m sure your desks, along with Keith’s are all in the trash by now. My desk is still in the box in the middle of the floor. Frankly, I’m quite scared to even open it after the experience we had with The Bed.

    Thanks for a laugh today!


Let DCR know what you think about this post

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: