July 5, 2009

Ikea: The Wonderland

There are certain establishments I should not be allowed into because of the amount of money I spend there unnecessarily. Ikea tops this list (followed closely by Costco and Target). Every time anyone goes into Ikea for one or two things he or she comes back out with a car load of cheap goodies.

But the reason we drop hundreds in Ikea is simply because it's fantastic. Here are 10 reasons Ikea is so amazing:

10. Bulk Value: Ikea sells items Costco-style: in bulk and for cheap. You can get a complete set of silverware for $3.49, 6 wine glasses for $5 and 100 tea lights for $4.

9. Single Item Value: Even their singular items are cheap! A stylish wood dish rack was $4, a glass pitcher was $1.29 and plates are around $1 each.

8. Mix and Match Goodness: Ikea makes matching designs and colors to coordinate your house, or you can "design" your own style with the wide range of colors and finishes they offer. You can find an Ikea style that fits what you already own.

7. Food: Swedish meatballs. For breakfast, lunch and dinner!

6. Everything Fits Into A Compact Car: Literally everything you just bought. Including the bed. And the dresser. Oh, and the palm tree and lamp.

5. Product Look-Up Computer Terminals: The warehouses have strategically placed computer terminals and catalogues so shoppers can search for the exact location of that one elusive item.

4. Warehouse Set-Up: Everything in Ikea is set up in a home-like situation. The first floor is the "design center" where you walk through the various "rooms" to get ideas of what you want your kitchen/bedroom/bathroom/living room to look like. They keep all of the price tags on their items so you can also get a good idea of how much your dream room will cost.

3. Craigslist: Just search for "Ikea" and set your price range. Almost anything that can be bought new in Ikea can be bought used at half price or cheaper on craigslist.org. I love my $100 used couch (down from $400), and I bought a brand new cover for it in red. It's still super comfy!

2. The Ikea Website: Buy anything and have it shipped to your door if you'd rather not stuff a bed and dresser and desk and TV stand into your hatchback. The website has a feature called "Asking Anna" in which you can ask an employee product related questions.

1. Self Checkout Discount: Just as it's nearly impossible to get out of Ikea with only what you went in for, it's also nearly impossible to scan everything correctly at the Self Checkout Lanes. If you're spending hundreds of dollars to buy dozens of home goods you inevitably forget to scan an item or bring home an item that didn't register the scan. My boyfriend recently tried to return a paper towel rack he apparently never even paid for! Since no one checks the carts or the registers honest mistakes (and deliberate theft) can and do happen.

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