The Awfulness That Is Ikea

Published at 07:50 on 22 November 2021

So, I try and order a bed online at Ikea. The first thing I notice is that there’s a lot of out-of-stock items. That’s not really Ikea’s fault, though, as supply chains are out of whack everywhere. So I persevere.

Oddly, nothing is asked about delivery scheduling through the entire order process. It’s strange enough that I abandon an order and think about it for a day. I decide that of course they will contact me so that a mutually-covenient delivery time can be arranged, and place my order.

Ha, ha. Big mistake. Rule No. 1 about the retail industry in North America: never, and I mean never underestimate how bad customer service is likely to be. Dead silence from Ikea, other than a generic “your order was accepted and entered into the system, here is your order number” response.

That is, until, get this, 4:57 pm yesterday evening, when I get a text message from Ikea saying that my order will be arriving between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm tomorrow (i.e. today).

I mean, really now, Ikea? You don’t know that most adults work for a living during weekdays and might need something more than zero day’s notice to schedule leave time?

Anyhow, I try going online to reschedule the delivery. Although their main web page claims you can do that, when I bring up my order status, there is absolutely no way to reschedule.

So I try calling them. It is now after 5:00 pm (they texted me at 4:57, remember) and their call center has closed for the day.

I figure their call center is probably in Ontario, so I call at 6:00 am this morning, because that’s 9:00 am Eastern time, and they should be open. My suspicion is confirmed. They dump me on hold and announce there’s a “higher than expected call volume,” which probably really means “precisely the call volume we expected, but since we don’t give a shit about our customers, we don’t care if they sit on hold for most of an hour.” Thankfully, they offer to hold my place in the queue and call me back when I’m near the front. I accept and hang up.

7:00 am rolls around, and no call back from Ikea. So I call them back again. Having just learned from experience, I ignore their offer to enqueue me and call me back and remain on the line. Within five minutes my call is answered.

The agent drops the headset and doesn’t actually say anything for at least a minute, despite my repeated cries of “Hello? Hello?” If they treat their call center employees as lousy as they treat their customers, however, that all makes sense. The agent is probably trying to scam a much needed break. So I stay on the line and eventually she answers.

I am told that, get this, if I reschedule, it will basically be the same process all over again: I will be told at very short notice when I must be there for them, and that will be that. Because, obviously, the customer exists to serve the merchant, and not the other way ’round.

So I cancel my order. And I am sure that is not the end of the story, and I will be fighting to get all of my money back, because it is my experience that a company that has bad customer service tends to have it all the way down.

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