Top

blog

Stories

 

IKEA Centennial = hell ten days after grand opening (PHOTOS)

I avoided attending IKEA Centennial's July 27 grand opening due to the crowds. But my twin daughters wanted to visit the store on Saturday afternoon to pick up items for the CU dorm room they're going to share, and given that ten days had passed, I figured things would have calmed down. I figured wrong.

We arrived in the general area of the store just shy of 3 p.m. to find cone zones aplenty and an army of traffic coordinators who directed us to an outside parking lot a considerable hike away, presumably because all the inside spaces were already occupied. More store personnel were needed to make sure pedestrians got past vehicles zipping this way and that. But instead of pointing us directly at the main entrance, they led us into another line, cordoned off in classic Disneyland fashion.

The wait wasn't at a Matterhorn level. It took us a little over ten minutes to get to the entryway -- and there were water dispensers at frequent intervals just in case we had heat stroke en route. But the approach indicated how jam-packed the IKEA interior remained. People were everywhere, and if any of them stopped to actually look at a something -- which is, after all, the kind of activity people typically take part in while shopping -- the only alternatives were to stand and wait or veer off into another quadrant of the labyrinth. But that could be a trap, too. What if you didn't really want to spend five minutes perusing bed skirts? And getting back into the flow of humanity without causing even more of a disruption depended on whether the people heading your way were blinded by IKEA fever -- and plenty of them were.

Maybe it's just my dubious sense of direction, but the layout seemed designed to make customers lose their sense of direction. I know I did. After about an hour spent wandering more or less aimlessly, I couldn't tell north from south, or even up from down. Along the way, my daughters' list grew and grew, to the point where our shopping cart began to resemble the Joads' car in The Grapes of Wrath -- an intentional business strategy that definitely paid off when it came to us. Those wily Swedes...

After an hour-plus in this environment, I was on the brink of bursting into tears -- but before I could do so, a nine-year-old beat me to it. My wife, the principal of a school, saw the girl sobbing and looking frantic, and after determining that she'd lost track of her parents amid the mob, she and one of my daughters tried to calm her down while the rest of us sought out store personnel.

We'd alerted a couple of staffers when a passerby recognized the girl and promised to find her folks, which he did within a couple of minutes. The look of relief when she fell into her father's arms was palpable. I wish I'd felt the same way.

At just shy of the two hour mark, we finally made our way through the checkout line, but there was one more indignity to come. The IKEA shopping carts feature high-tech wheels that go sideways more easily than they move forward -- and when my son tried to take advantage of this quirk in the parking lot, one of the wheels caught in a sidewalk gap, causing all of our belongings to spill to the concrete.

No, nothing broke, and we were able to repack the cart and wheel it to our car, about forty miles away, with no further mishaps. By then, however, I was mentally and physically exhausted, not exhilarated by the IKEA experience. Clearly, I'd stopped by too soon, too soon, even though we'd waited well over a week.

By the way, a friend who did attend the store's grand opening came away with this observation: IKEA is Swedish for Target.

If you haven't made a pilgrimage to the store yet, page down below to see shots from our pre-grand opening slideshow -- when you could actually see all the items on display.

1 ikea.jpg
Photo by Jef Otte

2 ikea.jpg
Photo by Jef Otte

3 ikea.jpg
Photo by Jef Otte


My Voice Nation Help
13 comments
Wilder
Wilder

Something every Ikea shopper needs to know...

I don't think consumers are aware of Ikea's return policy on "you-built-it" furniture.To tell you the truth, I don't think Ikea knows their own policy!When I asked a manager if I could return a drawer unit if it didn't fit or work after I had "built" it...he said, we take returns of built furniture on a "case-by-case" basis.That is a policy I have never encountered!Their overall policy is an easy return of the same form of payment if the item has not been used (even if you've taken it out of the package)...but if you build it and it doesn't work or fit, they will only give you store credit...While their prices and products are pretty cool, their customer service is limited and their return policy for "built" products is RIDICULOUS...I encourage all consumers to DISAGREE and ask for a manager, requesting a return in the original form of payment, as long as the item has not been used (other than built)...since they don't provide the products BUILT, you don't have much of a chance to see if it will work without "building" the item.  There is no reason to accept a store credit for this type of return.

Basementarcade
Basementarcade

I have been twice, will go again. But I have a low back condition that makes the loooong walk on concrete torture for me. If they have electric carts I could not find any.

Sumdenguy
Sumdenguy

Saturday might not have been the best day to go. However, this entire article is about the unbearable crowds and every picture is nearly/completely devoid of humanity. A few pictures of the chaos and crowds you describe would have been nice rather than unfiltered photos of Ikea mechandise...zzzzz.

davebarnes
davebarnes

at Crybaby Michael,Did you not think that Tuesday at 1000 would be a better time?Saturday? Are you retarded?If you read up on IKEA you would know that shortcuts are available so you can reduce the time spent looking at bed skirts.Don't wander. Be focused. Go online and look up items of interest. Use the 2012 catalog which is available in PDF format.

CURalphie
CURalphie

Westword does journalism. I can't wait for the next expose', Let's go to Grease Monkey on Saturday Morning.

Guest
Guest

I can vouch for Michael's account.  I was there on Sunday and it was nothing short of a total clusterfuck.

Jen
Jen

I went to IKEA at 11 a.m. Tuesday and it was still pretty crazy!

Drugs, m'kay?
Drugs, m'kay?

Dave obviously gets a boner while frequenting IKEA.  It seems, Dave, as though people have more important things to worry about.  I hear non-shopping related hobbies are good at alleviating unrequited animosity.  

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Dave, as I mentioned in my post, my daughters chose the time; it was the only one that worked in their busy schedule. And while I understand your point, I don't usually have to set aside time to do research in order to buy a wall clock. Thanks for the post.

Drugs, m'kay?
Drugs, m'kay?

Seeing as how you're from CU, perhaps an article on Justin Bieber, the Kardashian hoochies, or Twihards' undying devotion would keep your attention more.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Obviously, there was a lot of pent-up IKEA love in Colorado. Thanks for the post, Jen.

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...