Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Taste of Sweden

Palm trees welcome at Ikea

Greta Garbo, Ingmar Bergman, Ingrid Bergman - famous swedish names associated with great movies, Alfred Nobel - famous swedish scientist, the name behind the Nobel prize, "Abba" band, eurovision song contest winners - famous swedish name in lovely lively music, and... Ikea - famous swedish name in home design concept. Not bad, Sweden.

Ikea's concept is based mainly on two principles: 1. flat pack of furniture and of smaller home stuff, which reduces expenses of transportation, minimizes damage , and frees storage space. 2. do it yourself work by the consummer - assembly of components with the help of wordless instructions (drawings). Due to this concept, the consummer usually gets good quality for a relatively low price.

2009 Ikea catalog front cover

Once a year, Ikea sends to each address a colorful , 300 page catalog that displays their home products for that year and includes a lot of useful information.
The merchandise is designed by Swedish designers (the materials and work though come from many countries on the globus). At the store's restaurant one gets to eat "swedish meat balls", and there's also a tiny food shop which sells swedish made food products. such as frozen fish, crackers, coffee, chocolate.

The trip to Ikea is not always rewarding. Last year , for example, I bought a non -electric , originally designed kettle, which was supposed to shriek when water reaches boiling point. Well, it did not shriek, and I felt cheated.

Before I set out to Ikea store, I have no way of knowing whether I'll find the catalog items I'm looking for, as checking with the store by phone is a nightmare, and their website tells you only if a certain item is or isn't in the inventory. If the required stuff (usually small items) is in the warehouse, they won't fetch it for you, and will probably tell you to come next week or so.

Ikea is the only store, as far as I know, that requires to see your ID card when paying with credit card. That really makes me nervous. I hide my ID card so well that I can't remember in which one of the pockets I put it, and now with all the packages, they expect me to start looking for it. Ha! And God forbid if there's a mistake in the bill; they don't fix it on the spot but send you to the customers' service where you have to take a number and wait in line.
Luckily, there's delicious ice cream at 'the end of the road' and this makes it up for everything.

warehouse store structure


  1. I love Ikea. It was interesting reading your vantage point.

  2. ...mmm...

    Welcome! Thanks for the comment.

  3. We had an Ikea here in Nova Scotia back in the 1980's. I loved it and still have many of the items I bought there. Alas, it closed sometime in the late 90's. My daughter visits the Ikea in Toronto and also loves their furnishings. But I do believe, customer service etc is a little better here (not sure though). Thanks for bringing a little of my past back to me. I always enjoy your posts, Duta!

  4. I've never had a good experience at Ikea. I agree with you 100 percent. I think their things are not very well made either. They have always fallen apart on me.

    Now, ice cream...that's something I like :D

  5. Sandy aka Doris the Great,

    I enjoy your posts too. As for Ikea, I'm not enthusiastic about their furniture. I like more kitchen stuff and gifts.

  6. The ChicGeek,
    It's a good place to buy gifts before holidays such as Passover. I like their kitchen items and accessories. I don't like their furniture at all. And customer service needs improvement.

  7. Duta, you tweaked a memory chord in me and momentarily I felt homesick for my old life. Your blog about Ikea brought back happy memories of me and my daughter foraging about in the cavernous kitchen section. Many thanks. Happy memories can sometimes be buried beneath the busyness of the day.

  8. My husband bought some really lovely bookcases at Ikea last month. We're pleased with them, but you guys are right - you have to be careful of the furniture because it's hit or miss.

  9. Sweden has palm trees? No way!!!!

  10. Btw, in America, they always ask for ID card when paying by credit. Fraud is rampant here. Sad.

    Hope you're well, Duta!

  11. The Bug,
    Enjoy your lovely bookcases!

  12. Ron,
    It's good to hear from you.
    In this post I'm referring to the Ikea store in Israel. Palm trees do grow in Israel.

  13. Ron,
    It sounds logical. but in Israel, only at Ikea was I asked to show my ID. when paying by credit card.

  14. I don't shop at Ikea often. My son enjoyed playing in the 'ball room' and following the footprints throughout the store...leading to the cookies.

    I must say though that they do have a good selection of nice containers to store dry goods.

  15. Vera,
    I'm so glad my post on Ikea brought back happy memories to you! I wish it would happen many times.

  16. Angelina,
    Kids love it at Ikea, and your son is no exception.
    Ikea store is not close to where I live, so I also don't shop there often. And when I'm there I focus on kitchenware.

  17. I've only been to an Ikea store once - in Minneapolis. Shopping there was a completely different than any other shopping experience I've had. I purchased a few items there (all small ticket), but my favorite purchase was my vegetable peeler - works beautifully! I've heard the furniture isn't that great, but there's definitely a market for what they have.

    By the way, I agree with the previous poster - palm trees in Sweden????

  18. Bica,
    You'be missed my answer to that post. The Ikea store I'm mentioning in my post is in ..Israel. In Israel, where I live, palm trees do grow.
    Indeed, shopping at Ikea is a different experience.

  19. I went to Ikea for the very first time last year.

    ~~~ amazing!!

  20. HI!
    I've never been to an Ikea store. But I have heard of it. Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great day!


  21. Thanks for visiting KJ. I had to lol at the last part of this post. We have one store nearby that checks your ID and that is Bed, Bath and Beyond and the other concept of going to customer service is a well know policy created by Walmart. I visit Walmart reluctantly because I can find orange juice about 70 cents less than the grocery stores. I usually stock up and do not go back for another two or 3 months. Not fond of big box stores. Peace

  22. Gledwood,
    Welcome to my blog. Thanks for the comment and for the'follower'.

  23. Sherrie,
    One never knows, you might come across a store of this kind. Have a nice day , too!

  24. Lady Di Tn,
    Yes, big stores are not always the answer.
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on the topic of my post.

  25. I know it might sound a bit naive, but I always imagined that IKEA would write their 4 blue letters in the Hebrew Script over there in Israil... D:
    Also I really like IKEA, except of course for their Hotline & Webpresence as you mentioned.

    P.S.: I changed the colour on my Blog after I did read your commment. Thank you kindly for the Info!

  26. Pink Panthress,
    If you enlarge the first photo yu'll see clearly hat it has IKEA on the front, and איקאה , in hebrew letters on the side .

    I'm glad you changed the color and so make it easier to read.

  27. Duta, since hubby is a carpenter, he knows what to buy and what not to buy at Ikea.
    In the past they had more things of solid wood - we bought a little table 20 years ago, and I have my surround system on it (which is pretty heavy). Our mattress and the lattice frame that it rests on is from Ikea - it is better in my opinion than the American, unless you're willing to pay more than $1000. Also, I hate 2 mattresses on top of each other, like they do here (a little European patriotism going on here:) ).

  28. jeannette stgermain,

    Your hubby is a very skillful man as I get it from your blog. and that's wonderful.
    I admire you for keeping to european standards where possible.

  29. Now I get it, very interesting since I always though they would use the swedish pronounciation... :D

    Yeah, I am always happy about feedback!

  30. Pink Panthress,

    I don't know about swedish pronunciation, but that's the way we write the name IKEA in hebrew:איקאה, and as you could see, it does appear on the building.

  31. My few excursions to Ikea were rather nightmarish as they make it exceedingly difficult to find the way out so you'll buy more. Such experiences bring out my usually latent claustrophobia, and the customer service should properly be called "customer DISservice." I'll spare you the gruesome details of my polite attempt to return something which did not work, but the hostility and unwillingness to help made me promise myself never to return.

  32. heartinsanfrancisco,
    I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with Ikea. A lot depends on the local staff and the way they interpret company's regulations.