Sunday, 13 November 2011

Why did I go to Ikea, Why? The Sequel

Dear Reader, 

I recently (last post actually) blogged about a visit to Ikea to purchase a sofa and chaise lounge. This post covered the horrors of a visit to Ikea right up to eventually escaping to the car park with your portable purchases stowed and deliveries organised. This should have been the end of the story. Regrettably, that is not the case, hence this second post on the subject.

A timeline is required I feel.

06-11-11:  Purchases made, already been covered previously, I won't go on about this again.

08-11-11: Delivery day. When delivery was arranged it was made clear that the delivery person(s) would be in contact by phone approximately one hour before the delivery was due to arrive. This did not happen. My delivery was first on their run hence it was early. I was on holiday, so I was asleep. A rude awakening by a knock on the door forces me to throw on a motley collection of clothing which was to hand and run to the door. So, clad in a paint covered t-shirt (I have been decorating) and equally paint covered jeans I answer the door.

Packages are transported into my lounge. The first large package is clearly a sofa. Followed by boxes that contains sofa and chaise lounge covers. A long rectangular, but rather skinny package arrives, then nothing. I explain to the driver that this does not look like my complete order. He looks at me in a manner that suggests I am from another planet. Apparently he is not used to such customer facing situations. He waves a delivery note at me, explaining that they have delivered everything on the delivery note. Usefully the Ikea Customer Services number is also on this note.

Before contacting Customer Services we thought it would be a good idea to work out what we had got. The assembly process begins. After much swearing, grunting and incredulous looks at some of the most ridiculous instructions ever written, a sofa appears, fully functional and surprisingly comfortable. 

What remains is a rectangular wooden frame and some cloth. Perhaps this is a minimalist interpretation of a piece of furniture? Well whatever it is, it's time to call Customer Services. To be fair this was less painful than expected, surprisingly few choices were offered on the phone number when dialed, which suggests the number in question had a single purpose which is good. Although initially eighth in the queue I rapidly progressed to a human voice. The human voice assessed that this was a picking error, everything was OK with the original order, but unfortunately all the elements of the order had not been grabbed from the warehouse. The human voice apologised and said the remaining items would be with us on 11-11-11, an auspicious day as the figures attest.

11-11-11:  Another delivery day. On this day I was not awakened by a knock on the door, or a phone call. I am still on holiday and slept in again. I was awakened by a hungry cat licking my nose. Time passes...

At approximately 2pm I am phoned by Ikea Customer Services again. The lady sounded a little confused. "Have I phoned you already?". "Erm, no" I reply. I am now a little off guard. I am speculating she may have been to the pub at lunchtime. "I've had so much going on I couldn't remember if I had phoned you or not.". Yep, definitely been to the pub. "Your delivery will not be arriving until tomorrow." Ah.

Apparently 11-11-11 is not an auspicious day for us after all. The doomsayers will be devastated.

12-11-11: Yet another delivery day. This time a new phenomenon is observed - the prior to delivery phone call. Only because they are lost. Never mind, at least they are coming. Within forty five minutes come they do. Complete with packages. The packages look suspiciously similar to the packages delivered the first time round. On closer inspection they are PRECISELY the same stock items delivered the first time round. Thankfully there was a shortage of blunt instruments and shotguns in the near vicinity. I merely sent the minions of Ikea on their way with their packages.

Back to Customer Services. The dear lady wife Smiffy had to step in at this point. I was a little emotional . So I went into the garden and spent a little bit of quality time with an Ikea catalogue and a crossbow. Meanwhile Smiffy dealt with the second call. Apparently getting in contact was a little bit more painful than my first experience. A queue was encountered, which Smiffy began at 20th. This news was delivered quietly, in a measured voice. Hold music, in the interim, was delivered at a volume that made the house shake. That music was Abba, Dancing Queen. 20 seconds of DANCING QUEEN, followed by "you are 20th in the queue". 20 seconds of DANCING QUEEN followed by followed by "you are 19th in the queue". Then the music changed. 20 seconds of WATERLOO followed by followed by "you are 19th in the queue". Oh you appear to be stuck in a Swedish music/on-hold hell. But then a ray of hope...  20 seconds of WATERLOO followed by followed by "you are 12th in the queue". Eventually, at some point during MAMMA MIA Smiffy gets to speak to someone. A transcript is required...
  • IK: Hello, Ikea Cutsomer Services.
  • S: Hello. I had a piece of furniture delivered, it was not complete. We phoned your good selves, who told us the error was clear, a warehouse error. 
  • IK: Oh, ohhhhh, that is very unfortunate.
  • S: Yes it is.
  • IK: Erm.
  • S: So what are you going to do about it?
  • IK: Can I put you on hold for a moment. I just need to double check this situation.
  • IK: Hello, Mrs Smiffy, are you still there?
  • S: Yes
  • IK: OK, I see what has happened here. You haven't actually bought the piece of furniture that you were expecting to be delivered. That is why it was not delivered.
  • S:. WHAT?
  • IK: Yes, I am afraid that appears to be the case. If you want this piece of furniture then the cost will be xxx
  • S: I wanted it, I ordered it, I was told I would get it, I still want it, I will pay for it.
  • IK: Great! We can certainly arrange this for you. 
  • S: When?
  • IK: Ooooh, not for ages. We can have someone call you at some point next week and take payment. Then we need to organise delivery.
  • S: Oh dear god, NO! Give me the product code and I will send my husband to you.
  • IK: There is the small matter of the piece of frame you have, which is of no use to you and should never have been delivered. When will you be returning this?
  • S: Never.
  • IK: Right. Shall we pick that up then when we are next with you?
  • S: I would advise that. It's the only way you are ever going to get it back. By the way, we threw away the box, instructions and all the packaging and put the thing together. I even peeled off the un-removable price labels. I hope that doesn't affect my consumer rights?
  • IK: Not at all Mrs Smiffy. We value your custom and hope we have provided a quality purchasing experience.
  • S: *hollow crazed laugh*
Didn't think I would be back so soon.
So after all that I return to IKEA to make the amended purchase and sort out the chaos that has occurred, thinking this should be straight-forward. How wrong could I be. First I return to the Sofa department to explain the situation. They, like the delivery people before them, look at me like I was from another planet.  At least five members of this team have different and conflicting views as to what the solution to this conundrum should be. There is much hammering of computer screens, head-scratching, wringing of hands and general confusion. Eventually a consensus is reached, which can be summarised thus: "We don't know, go to Customer Services". 

My heart sinks, as Customer Services is also Customer Returns. Some people never come back from Customer Returns. I am sure I saw Lord Lucan there once.   

Missing, presumed in Ikea.
I do not have three days drinking water and energy snacks. I do not have a torch, a blanket or a tent, prerequisites for such an ordeal.  I go there anyway, with heavy heart to begin what could be a very long wait. Upon arrival, much as you would at the deli counter at your local supermarket, you collect a ticket. Mine says 69, they have just called 59, this can't be so bad can it? I spot a drinks machine, thinking at least I could get some water so I head over. It won't take my money. If there is such a thing as karma I must have annoyed a Swedish furniture maker in a previous life. I return to my seat to wait. A couple of life-times elapse. My number is called! Deep breath, here we go.

I relate again my sorry tale, again I am met with the alien from another planet look. Do they teach that look in staff training? Computer keyboards are hammered again, heads are scratched again. After some deliberation a member of the sofa department is summoned. More wringing of hands and puzzled looks.

Having seen what is going on with the computer I am beginning to have some sympathy with the staff in question. My stock item is not a single thing, it is an umbrella name for a line items of which there are 557 of in total. Sofas, chairs, chaise lounges, cushions, cushion covers, sofa covers, bizarre wooden frames and a small breed of dog all in different colours and fabrics.
Eventually a solution is found, as identified by the previous phone conversation. I have indeed been sold the wrong item. An order for the right item is processed, which I can pick from another warehouse a short distance away from the store. I emerge from the store older and greyer but triumphant.

Hopefully this is the end of the saga.

More soon dear reader xx

PS, whilst searching for images for this post I stumbled across this video, allowing me to tenuously link cats to my post. Hope you don't mind...

1 comment:

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