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.”











55 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. Hi Aimee,

      Thanks for your clear-headed and brilliant response to my satirical rant against a brand that clearly is crap.

      One point of clarification: I’m a dick. I know it. Flaunt it. I’m proud of it.

      Tina probably isn’t. If she’s made to be dickish above, I’m not exactly sure how. She doesn’t express any dick-like tendencies.

      So when you listen to or watch comedians make exaggerated claims and jokes, you’re likely one to say “What a dick!” instead of laughing with everyone else.

      That’s a dickish thing to do …

      Sorry for the delay in response … I was too busy being a dick back in July.

      Humbly yours,

      Jeremy Witteveen

    2. 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

    1. Hey Jack,

      You do realize I am not an idiot … and that this largely exaggerated piece includes jokes like calling something “the shit” on purpose to create a sense of … um … irony.

      You might have been able to tell I was being sarcastic had you actually read the rest of the rant.



      1. from reading this article and then all of your petty replies to people’s comments, it’s really not that obvious that you’re not an idiot. and clearly not obvious from everyone else’s point of view as well. you should really stop responding to every negative thing people are saying, it makes you look petty. also about the article, if you look down so hard on ikea, why the hell did you go?? you say you’re on a budget … then you should just accept what it as it is. most people know ikea is crap, but like someone mentioned earlier, it’s not like you’re keeping this to pass on to your grandchildren. just calm the hell down dude. you’re not that great. neither am i, but i’m not the one pretending here.

  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.

      1. clearly your writing is not nearly good enough to convey comedy or else you wouldn’t be getting such a deluge of comments about how you’re an asshole. it seems like you think it’s obvious that people should understand this. it really should be us who say ‘wow’. can’t wait to read the “witty” comeback you’ve got for me here!

  7. I’m rather tired of hearing how hard IKEA furniture is to assemble. It comes with PICTURES FFS. I’ve put together high end cribs and cabinets with directions you need an engineering degree to make sense of, and I always ended up hollering things like “why can’t everything be as easy to put together as IKEA!”
    As far as looks and durability. I’ve had the all of my solid wood pieces from when we were first married and poor for over ten years now. I’ve updated them with a little paint and new hardware, but even our 4 kids and several moves couldn’t destroy this stuff! I’m not sure why IKEA gets dumped on so much, sure the super cheap stuff is, well, super cheap, but the things that aren’t made of pressed paper are good quality for a reasonable price.

    1. Congrats on landing Ikea furniture that you have lived with for so long!

      And yes, knocked down furniture does sometime seem like you need an engineering degree to assemble.

      You paint your Ikea furniture to give it a little updated zing? You must be happy that you know what it’s like to literally paint a turd.

  8. You are painfully pretentious and obnoxious. I’m sure you go through life thinking you are better than the vast majority of people around you. What a sad, angry, frustrating life you must have.

  9. I agree with most of this with the passion of a thousand suns. Previously I had only been in an Ikea twice, both out of curiosity and had no desire to return. But now we are living in Spain for 3 years, so I needed a way to furnish without spending too much money on temporary furniture. OMG, it is sheer hell to go to that store, yet it is the only choice around as evidenced by the hordes that are there 7 days a week at all hours. If I had other options that wouldn’t leave me bankrupt, I would use them.

    1. EXACTLY what i’ve unfortunately stumbled upon…possibly the worst blog i’ve every come across!! Give it up and get a life, you’re rude, angry, boring and you don’t know how to take criticism or opinions. If you’re such a furniture expertise why are you even in ikea?? pretentious idiot.

      1. Thanks for taking the time to tell me how boring, angry, rude I am and how bad of a blog this is!

        So refreshing to have great insight such as yours!

  10. I stumbled upon this blog looking for a review of an ikea sectional for a children’s playroom. What a treat! I laughed out loud all through the article (meatballs at a furniture store, really?) and very much appreciated the humor. The comments and your replies were equally, if not more entertaining. Thank you for the laugh!

  11. I think your criticism of Ikea is way off the mark.

    Firstly being upset by another customer is hardly the fault of Ikea, there can be irritating customers in every type of shop I have ever been in.

    There are problems with Ikea but not the ones you seem to have highlighted. Furniture is expensive and Ikea have to be commended for selling a cheap form of Bauhaus style furniture suitable for the mass market, they are actually an introduction to good design for people on a low budget.

    Furniture isn’t just about good durable design to last a lifetime either, today people change job, move home frequently and also require what I would loosely call “disposable furniture” because you might need to change home every few years and your old furniture might not suit your new home. Why buy a stylish large solid oak dining table for your new marital home, when you know damn well there’s a good chance you’ll be divorced living in an apartment in five years time and have to ditch it?

    Compare the Ikea Pax wardrobes with what companies like Sharps, B&Q, John Lewis, Next etc all sell and time and time again it is better value for money. So much so that the prestigious John Lewis have introduced a range called Mix It to try to compete. Some of the stuff Ikea sell is rubbish but not all. As I say you can buy a complete Pax wardrobe system for about £500 and it will compete very favourably in terms of quality and design with furniture costing £2k-£3k from other suppliers.

    The problems with Ikea are the store layout, the company structure, the DIY approach and their customer services department. It is streamlined for profit and not necesssarily to make the customer’s life easy. Many products are easy to get home and assemble, however some of the bigger ones are simply too big and complicated for all but the hardened DIYer. Plenty of third parties have jumped in on the action to fill the gap, like Josh above I run one of those “assembly companies” (

    The way they manage your purchase from picking goods, delivering them to dealing with problems could be a lot better. However we live in a free market, and it is up to competitors to respond. So I have, I now sell furniture online as well (, I purchase it from wholesales, I personally pick it up, deliver it to you and build it for you. I do not drop ship, I provide a complete white glove service. I sell what I would call mid range furniture, it is attractive and competatively priced, but with the added service I offer thrown in so you do not have the hassle of getting it home and dealing with a complex assembly.

  12. Wow what a piece of shit your article is. I regret the time I spent reading it. Both of you have no clue about furniture in general and ikea brand in specific. Seriously if you think you are funny – well better keep thinking that since no one else will.

    1. Lifelong experience in the furniture industry and we have no clue?

      Your assessment is this far shy of brilliant. Just this far.

    1. Since we started on a budget and were considering Ikea to begin with, we ended up with a sleeper sofa from West Elm. The fabric we chose is a chevron print in a dark gray. It sleeps pretty well and we use it to watch TV in our second room now.

      You can see it here. The photo of the cat on the page is one we posted.

  13. I was googling for a review of Ikea sofa bed and somehow ended up reading this blog entry. I throughly enjoyed reading it. I would love to get your take on Boconcept stuff. I spent thousands on a bookshelf and it’s falling apart only after a year. When I was looking at how it was tearing apart, I noticed that it’s very similar to IKEA. If I’m buying a piece crap that would fall apart, I might as well as save some money by shopping at IKEA instead of Boconcept. But then again I could buy things that are not crappy to start with.

  14. Here is why internet and computers should not be given to everybody. Dude, you were in Ikea for a reason. You are cheap, stop pretending that you were off to buy Queen Victoria furniture. People like you go to a Ross and say “Louis Vuitton” is better.

  15. I drove an old ford fiesta the other day. Wasn’t as good as a ferrari and I feel ashamed that ferrari drivers will look down on me. Please love me now.

  16. No one forces you to go to. Ikea. I see it as a store to furnish a college student apartment or get a few accessories to mix in. Go to a nice furniture store and spend 3,000$+ on a nice couch that will Last. You obviously knew what you were getting so what did you expect. You get what I pay for at Ikea. Its not meant to be high end or even. Medium end.

  17. Stop the presses: Ikea makes cheap furniture! Well, now that you’ve enlightened the blogosphere with that newsflash, here’s another: You (and your girlfriend) are, in fact a pretentious pair shitheads with a side of smug dickishness and lingonberry sauce . . .

    . . . not because you’re prize hypocrites who look down your noses at Ikea and its products even as your saunter your cheap-asses up and down the aisles looking for deals
    . . . not because some fellow snotty prick with whom you do business is able to cut your psyche to the quick by disdaining your sofa
    . . . not because your ego is so fragile, you can muster only bile rather than wit in response to critical comments on your “satirical” post
    . . . not because you flatter yourself a satirist without knowing what “satire” actually means
    . . . but because the two of you had the nerve to roll your eyes at an old lady’s sartorial choice of faded one-piece snowsuit and purple “nit” hat (nice spelling, nitwit. Or I guess that’d be “knitwit”, according to you). I mean, the two of you have nothing better to do than sneer at elderly people in the Ikea food court?

    What a couple of assholes.

    1. My “satire” invoked this response from you.

      You nailed it. Not your words, but that you responded with such gusto.

      Ahh, satisfaction is mine.

  18. Wow. I was looking for a realistic review of this clutch as someone who has little money but would like a decent couch to fit my new space. Honestly, now all I feel is dejected and anxious and disappointed in this author. This isn’t satire, this is crass, rude, distasteful, and has no helpful information. The author nastily made fun of many people they observed at IKEA and then continued to harass anyone who comments at all skeptically or negatively to their article. Very mature.
    Thanks for leaving me with a gross taste in my mouth and feeling in my head.

  19. I’m afraid the only one laughing at your rather clumsy attempt at comedy, is Mr. IKEA, because guess what, you’re in his shop. And I bet good money (ok, I don’t because there’s no way of proving this but still..) that this wasn’t your last trip. So good on you, you’re keeping the Sweedish dream alive. :)

  20. This dude comes across as sort of pointlessly rude and condescending—shushing the employee working that miserable check-out line? I guess this is that sort of being-abrasive-and-condescending-is-really-funny school of thought that most of us get over as we get older. Or just ineffective writing.

    1. Oh, I just bothered to read the other comments and saw all the “lol I don’t care” replies. Okay, bro, good on you, then. Taking criticisms to heart/honest self-reflection never did anyone any good anyways.

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