You’re going to have to forgive me if you have an IKEA in your town already and don’t understand our excitement here in SW Ohio, but this week we finally got one of our own.
My friend Andrea and I went to the Grand Opening today to check it out and took lots of pictures for those of you who want to shop vicariously.
You can see all the highlights of their showroom and won’t even need to put on comfortable shoes!
Here’s the entrance, where you get your little cart, hook a yellow bag onto the hooks to make an impromptu “basket” in the cart, and head upstairs to the showroom.
I’m sorry, IKEA masterminds, but this does not work very well. I put two small pillows into that bag and it was full. What was I supposed to do with all the other fabulous things I wanted? Balance them on my head? An hour into our shopping we spied a woman with a regular, full-sized cart. Where did she get it?
We asked three different salespeople and got three different answers. One told us to go through a door that didn’t exist. When we returned to her and told her it was a dead-end, she said, “Oh, sorry, this isn’t my store. In my store there’s a door there. It’s weird they don’t have one.”
We searched and searched some more. Another salesperson said, “Sorry, the big carts aren’t allowed upstairs in the showroom.” So we went down to the ground floor, figuring they must be there if that’s the only place they were allowed. An employee there told us “They’re downstairs,” which totally confused us. Did this mean there was a basement level we hadn’t found yet? “No,” she said. “It’s downstairs. There is no basement.” Huh?
Now, you tell me. When you are on the ground level of a building and someone asks if you know where the carts are, wouldn’t you say, “They’re on THIS floor, around the corner”?
We went back and forth with her like we were part of an Abbott and Costello routine for several minutes until we finally realized she was telling us they were on the ground level WHERE WE ALREADY WERE. There was no secret basement where they hoarded the full-sized carts. I was kind of disappointed.
Everything was so cheap it was almost laughable. We kept calling out prices to each other. “This entire cabinet is only $65!” “Look at these shelves for $150!” We pondered how many years a $20 chair might be good for and concluded that it didn’t matter. Even if it lasted a week, it was still a bargain.
When we were in the elevator I told Andrea that I needed to take pictures for the blog. There were two other women in the elevator with us who said, “That’s what we’re doing for our blog, too!” We chatted a bit before going our separate ways.
I was just surfing around the Internet to find other posts about IKEA and found theirs. Small world! I recognized them in the photo, and as I was reading their account of cart confusion (we weren’t the only ones!), they mentioned meeting us in the elevator. Too funny. To read the story of their shopping experience, go to Mommin’ It Up!
And this concludes our long, exhausting shopping trip to IKEA. It was fun but a little overwhelming. For more information or to request a catalog, go to the official IKEA website.
If you have your own stories to share, we’d love to hear them! If you have IKEA furniture in your house, tell us how it’s working for you. Has anyone bought one of those $20 chairs? If so, did they last longer than a week? 😉
I love Ikea. I bought my office furniture there. (it’s the Liatorp line- I think it matches the white shelves you liked but the tv looked too small by them?) I love the furniture. HOWEVER- if you buy something that you have to put together and you live very, very far away from the store please check your boxes before driving away. Calling their customer service number was a nightmare when we were missing the entire left side of our hutch from a box. It took me weeks to get a real person to return my 397 messages. I won’t bore you with the horrid details and I vowed to never return. But I did. I can’t help it. :o) My hutch and desk from Ikea are pictured on my blog.
Thanks for the advice and report as a veteran Ikea customer, Marie! That’s good to know. I’ll be checking out your blog!
I’m so jealous! There’s not an Ikea around here whatsoever. We may have to move back to Atlanta…
Julia, I’m sending you this link to a story in the Home/Garden section of yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer. I thought you might enjoy it. Be sure to look at the “More Images.” Ikea totally furnished a sample townhouse in black and white. Right up your alley.
Oh, THANKS, Meredith! What a great article. That was so nice of you to think of me! 🙂
I have an Ikea Butcher block island in my kitchen. It has hel up very nicely and it was easy to put together. I have heard that some of their stuff is a nightmare to assemble and that there are actually handypeople ( used to be called handymen) that have made careers of assembling Ikea furniture. Really, I read that somewhere just can’t remember where. Went to see ModVic today and what an undertaking that has been, but it is going to look great when finished in 3 (??) weeks.
As a veteran IKEA shopper, it was fun to read about your first trip there. I’d forgotten how easily lost you can get in the ‘maze’, how hard it is to find the carts, and how you don’t know NOT to pick up the items with the red tags, lol. I’m sure you’ll be back and find your own favorites — cheap Christmas wrapping paper, great frames, and yummy swedish meatballs in the restaurant are a few of mine.
As for quality, some products are better than others. Chairs are fine, as are bedframes, sofas, bookshelves, dressers. Quality is less questionable on some of their kitchen housewares and bathroom accessories. Basically, anything that gets enough wear and tear (like the Billy bookcase that gets moved from room to room to room) will fall apart eventually.
jen at ohikea.co says
Welcome to the Church of IKEA!
I’ll give newbies another tip or four:
everything upstairs is available downstairs. so skip the pillows, write it on your sheet and get it in the pillow section of the marketplace after you get downstairs.They have it upstairs to kind fill in the gaps and add impulse shopping to the top floor.
also – there is a PATH, follow the arrows and no one gets hurt or misses anything.
you CAN take a cart upstairs, they were just not liking it for opening since it’s cumbersome. When you go up the escalotr in, go left into kids, and cut around the stairway on the back side of the elevator towards the cafe. Either take the stairs down, or the elevator on the other side (by the cafe, not the one by the escalator) the carts are right there, then take them UP into the same elevator and come back the same way you went.
Thats the biggest thing I see breaking the midwestern shoping midset, coping with ikea carts and the protocols of them.
I appreciate hearing from you Ikea vets. Apparently I should’ve talked to you about it BEFORE I went. Ha.
I was a total virgin and had no idea what I was doing (in case that wasn’t clear from my post!). My husband is teasing me because right there in that first pic I took is a giant sign next to the escalator explaining how things work. Well, all I can say is that there were gobs of people and so much noise and activity–not to mention fun stuff to gawk at–that we missed every single helpful sign there was.
Did I mention how confused I was by the window treatments, too? They were all, like, 116″ long, and I needed some that were 81″. Turns out you’re supposed to use their iron-on hemming kit to make them the exact length you need. That was another “aha!” moment for me. 🙂
I don’t think it helped that we were there at the Grand Opening when all of the employees were brand new. None of them seemed to know much more than we did!
I think I’ve narrowed down what I want to go back and get. If I pull that off, expect another post with pictures of my Big Get. Wish me luck, everybody!
jen at ohikea.co says
oh and I’m betting te lady that said that carts were downstairs when you were already there, she’s probably from the chicago store helping out. They send in experienced ikea help in from all over the country for openings. The Chicago Schaumburg store has three floors, the top is the showroom, the second is the marketplace and the third is warehouse and checkout…
Emily at Mommin It Up says
We had the exact same “college degree” conversation when trying to figure out the food court!! And I definitely tried to buy the floor model pillow as well… I will be much better prepared next time! 🙂
Jen–Maybe that was it! There were several employees who told us that their stores were set up differently, so they were a little confused about things themselves. I have to say they were all VERY helpful–at least tried to be. It was just a crazy day for everyone with the crowds and pandemonium. Don’t want anyone to think I’m ragging on the Ikea workers. Everything was new to them, too! -Julia 🙂
jen at ohikea.com says
okay I have to amend my comment above with the the folowing everythign upstairs is downstairs with the exception of the kitchen fixtures… (pot racks, etc) – you CAN take a cart. They just dont like it when it’s so packed.
Even I find his layout confusing, I LOVE LOVE the chicago store. It’s i think much easier, but it’s the store I learned IKEA in.
Jenny from Mommin' It Up says
Great post! Love all your pictures and I am so glad that a) we weren’t the only cart-confused shoppers or b) the only ones who tried to buy a display pillow! Maybe we’ll see each other there again sometime when we’ve recovered! 🙂
We went last week, as well. I loved it! I loved all of the black/white. There was a cute red sectional that my husband forbid me to buy. And of course, that light fixture. I bought it to go over the reading chair in my bedroom.
My husband commented when we left on my lack of buying. I spent so much time just looking (there was so much to see!), that I just bought the light fixtures and a set of shoe organizers. He was right, and now we have to go back, soon and without kids.
I have spent a lot of time (and money) in IKEA over the years, but I was stumped by the curtains recently. I’ve not bought a lot of soft-furnishings there and I couldn’t find the shorter curtains either. It took me ages to realise you have to shorten them yourself.
karen (Pediascribe) says
I’m bookmarking your site so I can link to my Ikea post. It’ll go up tomorrow! 🙂
great the highlights of their showroom
Dana Hammond says
Ahhh, Ikea…Definitely a perk to moving to Atlanta. Though I’d have to agree: Ikea is a great place to shop, but they make it extremely annoying to purchase. Also, why don’t they let you order anything online??
Lori Lawson says
I have had the $20 dining chairs for 3 years now. Still going strong with two kids of my own and all of their friends who come over. They aren’t the slightest bit wobbly! I heart my Atlanta Ikea!
Aren’t Ikea stores fabulous?! I love it. And I also live in a city that doesn’t have one. But I do agree that many areas in Ikea are hard to find. Their prices are awesome and so is their cafeteria! If you haven’t already, you must go to the cafeteria and order, if nothing else, their Daim cake. The almond cake is very good and so are the meatballs! Yum.