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April 9, 2012 5:49 AM   Subscribe

IKEA is already widening their domain, but for some of us, it's still a challenge to deal with the staid institution of the IKEA store. Never fear!

IKEA WALKTHROUGH v2.3.1
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IKEA is a fully immersive, 3D environmental adventure that allows you to role-play the character of someone who gives a shit about home furnishings. In traversing IKEA, you will experience a meticulously detailed alternate reality filled with garish colors, clear-lacquered birch veneer, and a host of NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS (NPCs) with the glazed looks of the recently anesthetized.

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OBJECTIVE
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Your goal is to successfully traverse the five awesome worlds of IKEA before your patience runs out. On your first few tries this may seem like an impossible task, but with practice (and this IKEA Walkthrough!) you will soon be able to muster the sense of numb resignation necessary for victory.
posted by nosila (54 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've been to the IKEA here in Tokyo (well, Funabashi, Chiba, to be precise) a few times over the few years that it's been open, and each time I've visited, I've hated it a little more. It's just too fucking big. And most of their stuff is actually crap. Not built to last. And there's no real customer service. And I really dislike that certain northern-Euro-smugness that permeates their advertising, the 'aren't-we-just-so-enlightened-and-bright-and-happy-and-tasteful' imagery. Yecch.

And then last time I was there I found that they don't even carry the reasonably-priced and relatively tasty cheeses they used to stock, or any other perishable food items, for that matter. IKEA sucks.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:20 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, if Steve Jobs never got cancer, and he continued living to a ripe old age, I have a feeling that this is something he would have ended up doing.
posted by symbioid at 6:33 AM on April 9, 2012


In Beijing Yi Jia is much more than just an angular pressboard furniture outet!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:33 AM on April 9, 2012


As someone who has spent way too much time on Gamefaqs I found the walkthrough hilarious. Thanks!
posted by Blue Meanie at 6:41 AM on April 9, 2012


IKEA sells crap, but they also sell some reasonably-priced non-crap things. It's up to you, the consumer, to figure out what's what. Maybe this will help:

1. Moving parts are risky. So, bookcases and Poang chairs are safe, chests of drawers are more questionable.
2. Their bedframes are good, and I've been very happy with their mattresses. But again, simpler is better.
3. Fabric goods, if they match your style, seem good. I've been very happy with my rug and pillows.
4. Once you get past the absolute bottom of the line, their cookware seems like very good value. I've been very happy with their IKEA 365+ line, which I use alongside my All-Clad.
5. Glasses, plates, silverware... how can you mess this up, really?

Would I outfit a full kitchen with IKEA cabinets, countertops, and so on? I'd seriously consider it.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:47 AM on April 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


I haven't actually measured it, but a lot of their furniture seems to be just a little shorter than you'd expect it to be. I darkly suspect that they do this to save on materials.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:58 AM on April 9, 2012


Would I outfit a full kitchen with IKEA cabinets, countertops, and so on? I'd seriously consider it.
posted by LastOfHisKind

Eponysterical?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:59 AM on April 9, 2012


Always good to revisit the classics.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:00 AM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Eponysterical?
What does that mean, by the way?
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:01 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"IKEA: only slightly disappointing."
posted by Dragonness at 7:08 AM on April 9, 2012


I've been to the IKEA here in Tokyo

Don't you have MUJI?
posted by Artw at 7:10 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I kind of like visiting IKEA...

1) through the magic of globalization the ones here are just like the ones in the UK, so it feels like popping home for a bit.
2) occasionally you get good stuff in a modern style that is expensive otherwise.
3) meatballs.
posted by Artw at 7:14 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


When we moved into our 80 year old brick bungalow, we assumed that the inappropriately white modern kitchen came from Ikea. It turns out it's actally from some Italian designer line that merely looks like flat pack.

So yeah, unless you're going to install custom wood kitchen cabinets, I think Ikea is on a par with what you can get elsewhere.
posted by Sir Cholmondeley at 7:24 AM on April 9, 2012


It's cheap and you get what you pay for. 1/3 of the Ikea furniture I've bought didn't last very long. I know quite a few people who've worked at Ikea, and they uniformly say that they know firsthand how poor quality the furniture is, and would avoid buying stuff from there. That said, the prices are pretty reasonable and if you want something built to last you're going to pay 3-5x as much in most cases. So whatever, it's a store that will be useful for many people. I certainly wouldn't characterize it as hell on earth or anything.
posted by naju at 7:30 AM on April 9, 2012


Eponysterical?
What does that mean, by the way?


Portmanteau of eponymous + hysterical. Means that your username is humorously appropriate (or inappropriate) to your comment.
posted by saturday_morning at 7:37 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


As I may have mentioned before, the $1.50 net bag of polished rocks is totally worth it.

And rocks are better for throwing than golf pencils. Duh...
posted by Splunge at 7:38 AM on April 9, 2012


symbioid: “So, if Steve Jobs never got cancer, and he continued living to a ripe old age, I have a feeling that this is something he would have ended up doing.”

If Steve Jobs hadn't gotten cancer, he would have gone to Ikea?
posted by koeselitz at 7:48 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ikea is opening next year here in Winnipeg. The way the press and people here are gushing breathlessly about it, you'd think it was the second coming of Christ, only with more traffic planning problems.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:50 AM on April 9, 2012


i get more excited about the $1 cones of soft serve than anything
posted by mlo at 7:50 AM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


A couple of years ago I went to the IKEA in Brooklyn to return a set of (crappy) window blinds that were too big for my window. It was the most horrible, Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare I've ever been through, no lie. There was this huge customer service area with five or six different stations that had different unclear functions. I had to wait in a very long, slow-moving central line, after which a central authority would direct me to one of those stations. The central station directed me to the wrong satellite station, and the person there told me I had to go to a different station, but first I had to wait in the long central line first. The central authority then sent me to a third, entirely different station, which was the wrong one too. After an hour of shuffling around in various lines I called the IKEA hotline and told a representative at their offices what was going on, and she was appalled but powerless. After I stayed on the phone with her for 45 minutes she was finally able to pull some strings and get the store's manager to talk to me. The manager was totally rude and treated me with utter contempt. I finally got to return the blinds, for store credit only, after a 4 hour tribulation. It was a real trial, I was actually totally tired and starving afterwards.

So I guess, like, if you're going to buy something at IKEA you'd better know damn well that you really need it.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:56 AM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you like furniture that looks relatively modern and has clean lines, and you're on a modest budget, there's really not much choice besides IKEA.
posted by gyc at 8:09 AM on April 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


LastOfHisKind: "IKEA sells crap, but they also sell some reasonably-priced non-crap things. It's up to you, the consumer, to figure out what's what.
Would I outfit a full kitchen with IKEA cabinets, countertops, and so on? I'd seriously consider it.
"

The kitchen in the house we bought is butt-ugly. I, when I bought the house, thought that kitchen remodel would be inexpensive. The 3 estimates I got for custom cabinets we all near $35,000 dollars. (It's not a big kitchen.) Estimates of doing it with cabinets from builder store was about half that, with us doing all the demo and build. Estimate of doing it with Ikea; about 5k...and that might include countertop, but I don't remember. Reviews on the high-end cabinets seem to be pretty good. Additionally, they have no off-gassing time because they don't use formaldehyde or other chemicals banned in the EU.

So yeah, I get that Ikea is a maddening, soulless maze meant to suck the life force out of anyone trapped in it's brightly lit web...but I think with the walk thru, I may be able to make it to the cabinet area and back out alive.
posted by dejah420 at 8:11 AM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


dejah420: " So yeah, I get that Ikea is a maddening, soulless maze meant to suck the life force out of anyone trapped in it's brightly lit web...but I think with the walk thru, I may be able to make it to the cabinet area and back out alive."

The corridors of most Ikeas resemble the twists and turns in a set of digestive organs.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:41 AM on April 9, 2012


IKEA is like anything else that provides a ton of similar products at cheap price points.... Avoid the bottom of the barrel items at all costs, next grade up is generally SIGNIFICANTLY higher quality for not much price difference.

I used to associate them with shitty particle board dorm room furniture. Some of the solid wood items are actually quite nice, hold up well, and are a ton easier to move than "real" furniture.

They are also idea if you have suddenly moved out due to separation or whatever, and you have a very very tight budget, and need basic furniture... You can take an apartment from nothing to very liveable in a day without breaking the bank, including bed and reasonably durable and fashionable storage, and load it all in the same vehicle - and i've never seen another place where you can do this.
posted by MysticMCJ at 8:43 AM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm disappointed that the walk-through didn't mention any of the showroom shortcuts.
posted by MysticMCJ at 8:44 AM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The corridors of most Ikeas resemble the twists and turns in a set of digestive organs.

Since the entrance is also the exit, does this make our local store the human centipede of IKEAs?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:44 AM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Otherwise, over the years, I've found that Ikea is best at producing furniture that fits well together. One almost never sees furniture that has deformed or warped parts that prevent assembly. Contrast this with Target, where the furniture can be similarly stylish, yet have parts that crumble on contact, or are so out of alignment that one has to deform the whole unit to assemble it.

I had a chance to meet the mods behind the Ikea Fans website, and learned that, aside from them being nice, slightly-obsessed people, there are contractors out there who specialize in building furniture and installing Ikea kitchens. The kitchen hardware generally isn't bad, and occasionally has some features that one only sees in expensive kitchens.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:46 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The 10th Regiment of Foot: "The corridors of most Ikeas resemble the twists and turns in a set of digestive organs.

Since the entrance is also the exit, does this make our local store the human centipede of IKEAs?
"

Yes. :D

Anyone here visit the IKEA in Schaumburg, Illinois? The original layout didn't build a twisty maze so much as a set of showroom floors that ringed a giant atrium with the warehouse off to one side. The effect was like a multilevel round aquarium, where one could choose to go round and round in giant circles, seeing the same things over and over, and slowly lose ones mind.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:50 AM on April 9, 2012


Damnit, Johnny Assay...that's what I get for posting first thing in the morning.
posted by nosila at 9:08 AM on April 9, 2012


I went to Ikea just after it opened in Portland and fell in behind a couple who appeared to be stocking their entire house. Their shopping cart was overloaded. One of them was pushing the cart and quietly nodding to the patter of the other, who was in a state of free association self-sale:

"Wow ... this brush holder ... look at the way it can be hung with this little hook! Imagine that in your bathroom ... organized!"

Then a few paces and ...

"This bath mat has a rubberized bottom! It won't slip!"

then ...

"Look at this hamper! The lid goes up and down. Won't see your dirty laundry!"

I was with them through several sections of the lower floor, becoming increasingly disoriented and agitated because I couldn't tell if I was witnessing performance art for an audience of one, the slow death of a soul, or maybe performance art sponsored by Ikea and carried out by Ikea shills to help jump-start The Ikea Rhythm in a new market.

On the bright side, I like to pretend the tiny demo showroom bedrooms with the bunk beds are cabins in the space ark Ikea is building for when our sun dies.
posted by mph at 9:17 AM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


I would like to visit the land of cheap IKEA because in the one around here, the only thing cheap is the tasty, tasty meatballs with lingonberry sauce.

(maybe the surfeit of hipsters drives up the prices?)
posted by madajb at 9:18 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the Jonathan Coulton earworm. (Still, the way he rhymed 'Norsemen' and 'divorced men' was one of the greatest funny lyrics not written by Weird Al)

It was many years ago that the future ex-wife and I visted the newly-open IKEA in Beautiful Downtown Burbank. Coming out of a medical bill-forced bankruptcy (we did it before it was cool), I didn't see IKEA's prices low enough to compete with Target, and I still have a flat-box Target bookcase from that era standing and holding many heavy books after three moves. A microwave cart bought about the same time did do a total collapse on the second move, but that just reinforces the previous advice about avoiding moving parts on all cheap furniture.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:56 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Far as I've seen here in Switzerland, you can shop Ikea, or you can pay a fortune for everything, even junk. Doesn't seem to be anything but very high-end, very low, and Ikea.

I've had experience with Ikea to the point I find building their stuff akin to K'Nex or something. :-)) I like their 'Effektiv' branded shelving (under office stuff). The book shelves in my living room are Ikea 'Bondi' brand. They've moved 4 times with us, including to Africa and back to Europe. They're still good.

But we have a very cheap student desk that is even older. It weighs a ton and has to be taken apart to move. But it works.
posted by Goofyy at 10:12 AM on April 9, 2012


gyc: If you like furniture that looks relatively modern and has clean lines, and you're on a modest budget, there's really not much choice besides IKEA.

Yeah, I don't get why it's become so fashionable lately to bash IKEA online. They make decent stuff at good prices. Anything comparable from another place is going to cost you a ton more.

And I don't get the "it doesn't last" comments. I've had several pieces of IKEA furniture (book cases, tables, even a folding bed with apparently-dreadful moving parts) for several years and they hold up fine. What is this criticism supposed to mean? I guess I won't be passing down these items to my descendants for generations to come, but as far as furnishing my home with decent stuff, IKEA is hard to beat.

madajb: I would like to visit the land of cheap IKEA because in the one around here, the only thing cheap is the tasty, tasty meatballs with lingonberry sauce.

"Cheap" is relative in this case. It's hard to find furnishings that are decently made that look nice at places other than IKEA for the prices IKEA charges.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:33 AM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've had experience with Ikea to the point I find building their stuff akin to K'Nex or something. :-)) I like their 'Effektiv' branded shelving (under office stuff). The book shelves in my living room are Ikea 'Bondi' brand. They've moved 4 times with us, including to Africa and back to Europe. They're still good.

I'm all about the Expedit. Seems to hold up well. Moving the buggers can be a pain though.
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on April 9, 2012


I've had several pieces of IKEA furniture (book cases, tables, even a folding bed with apparently-dreadful moving parts) for several years and they hold up fine. What is this criticism supposed to mean?

I've had an Ikea sofa/bed that fell apart after we moved it a couple of times, and the cheaper shelving - "Ivar" - is basically good for a couple of years and then starts bending and collapsing. Both of those are dirt cheap. Anything I've paid more for has held up well.
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on April 9, 2012


Your goal is to successfully traverse the five awesome worlds of IKEA before your patience runs out.

WORLD ONE: PARKING LOT (just park and walk already)
WORLD TWO: HOTDOGS (enter thru the exit, fuel up with 2 hotdogs)
WORLD THREE: AS-IS SECTION (walk past self-serve checkout, check out as-is items, looking for cheap drawer pulls)
WORLD FOUR: MEATBALLS (use shortcuts and walk against flow to get to the meatballs. Get a big plate of them, and pray your stomach does not hate you.)
WORLD FIVE: SELF-SERVICE CHECKOUT (Walk from the cafe to the check out. Use the self-service to buy the candles you picked up in the candle section.)
posted by 23skidoo at 10:43 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


In fact, I'm pretty suyre that Ivar is designed to last for exactly as long as you are at university, which is really as long as it needs to last.
posted by Artw at 10:46 AM on April 9, 2012


My biggest problem with IKEA is that I don't own a truck so anything I buy I either have to be able to fit into a Toyota or rent a truck to move/pay delivery, which kind of cuts into the affordability part.

Just another way having a small car has saved me money.
posted by emjaybee at 10:53 AM on April 9, 2012


A skeleton, probably the remains of a lucklackless consumer, lies here.

Fixed that for them.
posted by davejay at 10:53 AM on April 9, 2012


Oh, cool. I played the Emeryville edition of Ikea a few weeks ago; I went in without a compass, and the twists & turns, combined with the lack of distant landmarks to aid in navigation, made for a disorienting experience. When I found maps of the first and second floor (shortcuts marked!), I saved them for later reference; perhaps they'll prove useful to other adventurers.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:55 AM on April 9, 2012


Incidentally, I never bought into the "IKEA is bad-quality furniture" idea, as I'd historically either abuse it into poor condition or discard it quickly for something new. Eventually I bought five tall bookcases, their mid-line, and mounted them to the wall. Over the last five years, they've been babied and they've held up reasonably well, but now the veneer is starting to pull away and bubble -- and so I can see why someone used to wooden bookcases simply sitting there being bookcases without starting to crumble being disappointed. I certainly am.
posted by davejay at 10:56 AM on April 9, 2012


Of course, my wife likes actual real mid-century stuff, and some of that is INDESTRUCTIBLE. Also heavy, we have a stainless steel framed credenza that i would swear has a depleted uranium core.

(The lamps, though, tend to be flimsy as hell, even more so than retro knock-offs)
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also: Expensive as hell.
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on April 9, 2012


I love certain items at IKEA. I do not love visiting the local IKEA store in Round Rock, TX. I manage to wander in once every 6-7 months, because it takes almost that long to forget what exquisite torture the last visit entailed. Lines in the restroom, shrieking children, no room to wander leisurely and look at what I want without a herd of out-of-town-shoppers-on-a-mission crowding behind me impatiently, you name it. And now they're expanding the store. Bonus! Extra room for more hellish shopping!
posted by PuppyCat at 11:06 AM on April 9, 2012


Yes, we are actually also one of the "soulless" people who considered many, many different cabinets for our kitchen...and went with IKEA. (Here are early photos of it. The walls are whiter now.) I would never buy a dresser or bed from them. But we have a Poang chair, office desks, many kitchen supplies, some lanterns...and a whole damn kitchen from them. Now, granted, the guy who installed it is an absolute genius who used to work for IKEA and only installs their cabinets. (And has put them into some pretty pricey Lake Shore Drive condos, even.) Here is his own house...with IKEA cabinets.

I have had my kitchen for over a year now, I am freaking picky, and I have to admit that I love it and NO ONE ever guesses my cabinets are from IKEA until I tell them. The usability of the drawers in the bottom cabinets is awesome, and something I would have had to pay an arm and a leg for anywhere else.

The counters, tile, light fixtures, and appliances are NOT IKEA, FYI. Sink is from eBay. Faucet and food disposal from local supplier.
posted by jeanmari at 11:32 AM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love their Billy shelves and Expedit shelves. I think Ikea's strength is the storage solutions for small apartments. They have loads of nifty ideas for hiding things and sorting things under other things.

Also, some of their designs really make an impression on the market. For instance this leaf (a canopy for children's beds) - as soon as they had it, I immediately saw it featured in tv-shows where they fix up people's houses for free. Or the Mammut design for children's chairs - I've seen those in the kid corner of every doctor's waiting room I've been to this year.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:16 PM on April 9, 2012


Btw. are you sure that first link is actually correct? The date of the article is April 1st.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:27 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even crap Ikea is nice if your quality point of comparison is walmart/zellers press board, the kind I associate with being very poor. A lot of what they're good for is poverty access furniture- their lowest end stuff is competing with curb salvage and stuff that splinters as you try to put it together, if you want a realistic price comparison.

It's got lots of defects and cheap welds, but when you're so poor your book case is fashioned out of more books (hey, fifty cents each, it makes me a happy, happy person) even a saggy plywood/chipboard bookcase is nice.
posted by Phalene at 1:01 PM on April 9, 2012


i am kind of bored of reading Ikea smashing without also an hint on why other products are necessarily superior. Some comparison would help, as opposed to just pointing out a store sell crap...really? which store doesn't also sell crap, if anything just to make slightly better product look a lot better?
posted by elpapacito at 4:30 PM on April 9, 2012


"Don't you have MUJI?"

Yeah, we have Muji, which is great if your interior decor style is "Soviet-era Russia". They have a wonderful selection of light brown, light gray, medium gray, and dark gray furniture and decorations you can use to make your house look like a set in one of those "Do you suffer from depression?" adverts. Ok, I do overstate my case a bit (my bed is from Muji), but Muji is only really good for buying a few things. Put more than 3 Muji things in one room, and it crushes the soul.

Ikea has, in my experience, better quality than Muji, plus it's cheaper. And (besides Muji) it's really the only medium-quality brand out there (here in Japan). Otherwise, you're buying cheap shit that breaks, or paying an arm and a leg for quality stuff. Great, if you can afford it, but I don't know any families with kids and mortgages who can. Ikea makes stuff that looks nice, that is decent quality (in my experience), and that you can buy without having to sacrifice your kid's college savings.
posted by Bugbread at 7:34 PM on April 9, 2012


Put more than 3 Muji things in one room, and it crushes the soul.

Isn't that a direct translation of MUJI's latest ad copy, Bugbread?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:34 PM on April 9, 2012


which is great if your interior decor style is "Soviet-era Russia"

Well...
posted by Artw at 9:53 PM on April 9, 2012


i am kind of bored of reading Ikea smashing without also an hint on why other products are necessarily superior.

I'm not an IKEA smasher overall and, for their price point, they rock. But we've been working slowly on this old house for the past 9 years, upgrading without overdoing or overspending for the market and neighborhood. In the last 3-4 years, that has also meant furnishing the house, so we've spent quite a bit of time looking at furniture. When it comes to bookshelves or dressers or dining tables or chairs, we've gravitated towards the following sources in order from "feeling frugal" to "feeling flush and want something timeless":

-Vintage/second hand shop pieces, Craigslist finds or alley pickings (especially when I used to have time to refinish myself)
-CB2
-Crate and Barrel, Cassona, Dania
-Room and Board
-Design Within Reach (have not gotten to this level finally yet, sigh)
posted by jeanmari at 10:17 PM on April 9, 2012


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