It’s official: IKEA is hell on Earth




Yesterday, Tina and I ventured out to the Schaumburg area to do corporate head shots.

Schaumburg is a near-Chicago suburb that features such amazing attractions as:

  • Our client …
  • A Wal-mart, Costco and a large mall called Woodfield …
  • And the closest thing we’re all going to get to hell … otherwise known as IKEA.

And just like hell, IKEA is where all people are attracted to, because it’s fun to be bad, but that hellish IKEA sucks the life out of you and you may never leave once you enter. It’s never ending. And it’s a Bermuda Triangle of exit signs with no exits.

Tina and I have been discussing remodeling my home office, which is our second bedroom at our two bedroom condo here in Uptown, Chicago. We’d like to do it on a budget, so IKEA could be a decent solution.


Maybe not. 

Tina’s idea was to use IKEA as the solution for the things we’d like to add to the space, namely some kind of pullout couch, so that guests don’t have to sleep on an air mattress when they visit, and also make the room a little more comfortable when she works with me. When Tina works with me, she pulls a chair or two from our dining room, and she always complains that it kills her back.

ikea-6Recently, Tina visited IKEA and found a sleeper sofa couch thing, named Friheten, corner sofa bed with chaise. On first glance, the Friheten seems like a good solution. It’s somewhat comfortable. It would fit in my office. It turns into a comfortable looking bed.

Done and done.

But after a third look, the bed would be perfect for one person, but a big pain in the ass for two. If two guests slept on it, one person would be forced to schooch out, shimmy maybe, off the foot of the bed, should they need to pee in the middle of the night.

IKEA Products are THE Shit. 

Not to mention, the couch is IKEA. And after a year, the chaise arm will be lying off the side of the couch. The pillows will be ripped open and stuffing falling out. In two years, the thing will be a pile of saw dust and nails, which is somewhat less comfortable than Tina sitting on our dining room chairs.

IKEA products are a ticking time bomb of worthlessness that falls apart minute by minute.

My parents instilled in me many disciplines and an amazing education. My dad worked as a furniture designer and has been in the furniture industry his entire career. If anything, IKEA is the exact antithesis of quality, and my dad instilled that in me. When I walk through a place like IKEA, and I touch the furniture, open a cupboard or close a drawer, I get nausea like Alex in the final scenes of A Clockwork Orange.

At one point, we passed two IKEA employees setting up a vignette area, and I noticed how much trouble they were having with a shelf. “The irony,” I thought. Even the employees struggle to put IKEA shit together.

And that’s what it is. Shit.

When we arrived in the IKEA parking lot, we headed to the food area to grab a bite. You can’t shop IKEA with an empty stomach. While we waited for Tina’s panini to toast, a creepy old man hit on Tina until I walked over with my oversized tray with a plated chicken wrap on top. He explained to her that this was the third time he’d been to IKEA in two weeks.

“On purpose?” I asked.

He laughed and said, “Yes.”

We sat our tray down on a table near another table with an elderly couple. The woman was wearing a faded pink, one-peice, snow suit with a purple nit hat. Tina and I rolled our eyes. After stomaching a the nastiest chicken wrap ever and Tina’s order of a panini, we cruised off onto the floor to SHOP!

The food court is on floor three, so we descended to two to find the couch we were looking for. We walked all of floor two, which didn’t include the items we were shopping for. Tina recently went to another IKEA which was setup a bit differently. So we escalated back up to floor 3. We found the couch and kicked its tires a little. Laid on it. Took some selfies.

I brought up my concern about sleeper number two getting the shaft. The bed was great for one person.

So off we went looking for a legitimate sleeper sofa. We found one, but it wasn’t setup, so we couldn’t test it fully. “Why wouldn’t IKEA setup the ONLY sofa bed on the floor?” I asked.

Then I remembered that it’s IKEA, and the army-sized manpower and resources are likely not available for the Sisyphean task of setting up something like a sofa bed.

Set a Time Limit

When we arrived at IKEA, as I was turning the key ignition to the off position, I told Tina, “You’ve only got an hour in here, and then we’re leaving.”

Tina check her watch, “That’s not a long time. We have to eat, too.”

“Then I suggest we get moving,” I said.

At around the one hour and fifteen minute mark, clearly past anyone’s time limit for spending time at IKEA, we were looking for the exit. You see, everyone has their IKEA limit, and mine is less than 5 minutes. Some people push longer. But EVERYONE has their IKEA limit.

There are many exit signs, but they are for emergency use. To actually get out, you need a compass, dropped bread crumbs, a drug sniffing dog, CIA-level clearance for information acquisition, and a hacked GPS to get past the patented IKEA GPS blocking technology.

Finally, I saw a glimmer of what appeared to be a path toward the escalators. But we had to pass through a small opening between the frames department and a kids accessories department. Tina led the way, only to be blocked by a woman with a child sitting in a shopping cart.

Tina approached with purpose and determination. “Excuse me, ma’am,” she said as she slowed to not hit her.

Tina had to stop. The woman surely heard her.

“EXCUSE ME, MA’AM!” Tina said as if the wait were a thousand hours and the woman was a slug.

The woman finally moved, pushing her cart clear enough for us to pass.

Tina clearly pissed the woman off, a woman who had clearly passed her IKEA limit, too, and as we were about 10 feet, I happened to look back to see the woman start opening her mouth to damn Tina. “Lady, you didn’t have to be so RUDE!!!” She called out.

Tina, amped up IKEA-induced adrenaline, shouted back, “I had to ask you TWO times to move out of the way!!!”

The other woman started to scream something in response and I said, “Nope! Nope! Just leave it alone! Don’t even worry about it. This is IKEA! This is IKEA!!!” It was as if to say, you are both possessed by demons and I am the only Jesus here strong enough to dispel the demons that have taken control of your tongues. Leave each other be. You were both possessed!

This Story is longer than Homer’s Odyssey!

You and I both want this story to end, but it didn’t.

Tina’s possession took control one more time and she decided she wanted to buy something at IKEA, so she chose a $0.99 hazelnut candy bar. We went to one line, and the cashier said, “This is a debit card only line, ma’am.”

“Yes,” I said, “Thanks.” I clearly had not heard what he said, just that he said something.

“This is a debit card only line,” he repeated.

“Yeah, yeah,” I shushed him with a wave of my hand.

“THIS is a debit card only line,” he said yet again.

A wave of IKEA-drenched confusion flushed from my brain. “Ohhhhhhhh … this is a debit card only line.”

So we had to go to the one fucking line that accepted cash … the longest line … for a $0.99 candy bar … at fucking IKEA.

While Tina waited in line, I noticed a grocery area and tried snapping a photo of two Zombie women conflated by a $10 bag of Swedish meatballs. Clearly, they were brainless, otherwise they wouldn’t be buying frozen meatballs from a goddamn “furniture” place.

We drove away, and as we drove, I noticed the temperature drop on our on-dashboard thermometer.

Says me as we sped away, “Clearly, IKEA is hell. It’s getting colder as we drive away.”











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13 thoughts on “It’s official: IKEA is hell on Earth

  1. I hate IKEA with the passion of a thousand fiery recently detonated supernovas! Ask me about the armoire in the living room someday, I dare you!

    Also, about that third picture from the top. Looks like that IKEA employee is giving you the finger, which pretty much sums up what it’s like dealing with anything IKEA-related..

  2. Joanne, I implore you to at least go there on a reconnoissance mission.

    Luis … I’m almost sure I don’t want to ask you about that armoire.

    And yes, that dude certainly looks to be giving us the finger. We were hoping someone would catch that. ….

    You win!

  3. IKEA furniture has been in my family for years and we have never had a problem with any of it. Furthermore, I manage a furniture assembly company and 95% of what we assemble ends up being IKEA, and it is by far better than similar and some more expensive options found elsewhere. As with most places, you get what you pay for. Their inexpensive furniture is that for a reason. Likewise, their expensive furniture is expensive for a reason. Most of their products come with warranties and their customer service staff at the Tempe, AZ location has always treated me well.

    1. Huh. Thanks for your comment, Josh.

      I have what you might consider an expensive IKEA cupboard in my office and an expensive IKEA sofa in our studio. They look okay, but yesterday we had a client meeting with a high-end interior designer, and I could feel his utter disdain before he sat on the sofa.

      Your comment doesn’t change the fact that IKEA furniture is crap. And if you’re working with 95% crap — as you write above — your bar for excellence seems to be primarily IKEA furniture. Overall, knocked down furniture is a polished turd. And if that’s all you know, I can understand your defense of it.

      As stated above, I grew up in the furniture industry and work hand-in-hand with it now in my interiors photography business. And when you know the worth of Henredon, Baker, or spent any time in a Holly Hunt or A. Rudin, the difference is glaringly obvious.

      Our living room is decorated with A. Rudin, and knowing the difference makes, well, all the difference.

      Ignorance, in this case, is certainly bliss.

  4. Wow! The most annoying part of your Ikea experience was you.

    You and Tina both seem like HUGE dicks.

    Perfect for Ikea.

    1. While I enjoyed the writing style and the well-exaggerated tone of the article, I have to agree you’re both huge dicks as well. I think we’re all pretty clear on what to expect from IKEA furniture (we don’t expect to hand down our coffee tables to our grandchildren). Some of their pricier options hold up better than their less-expensive stuff, but generally, you’re buying something to last you a few years until you upgrade to something a little more durable.

      Also. . .to the below statement. How could you compare? How could someone like you even consider walking into an IKEA? I lol’d.

      “As stated above, I grew up in the furniture industry and work hand-in-hand with it now in my interiors photography business. And when you know the worth of Henredon, Baker, or spent any time in a Holly Hunt or A. Rudin, the difference is glaringly obvious.”

  5. You do realize that calling something THE shit means you’re praising it, right?

    Ikea furniture is shit: means that it’s aweful
    Ikea furniture is the shit: means it’s amazing

  6. Ugh. Are you familiar with the phase “first world problem?” Only a first world entitled dick (to borrow a term from earlier comments) would write such a pissy blog. You were looking for a bad time, so you had a bad time. You created the whole experience. That’s all that happened. I’m familiar with Henredon and Baker as well, but even as a comfortable middle class American, I can’t afford to furnish my house with them. So I’ll just take a deep, cleansing breath and try to overlook the shallowness of any “high end” person who might wince at sitting down on my Ikea sofa.

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