~my thoughts about life~

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Shopping Trip Gone Sour

I think I could make a living writing strongly worded letters.  It's something I'm really good at.  I can portray so much aggression and irritation after a To Whom it May Concern and a colon.  I try to write my letter while at the height of my frustration so that I can remember each detail and make sure that every speck of my anger comes spewing out.

Over the weekend, we made a day trip to Ikea.  We don't have one locally and have to drive a couple hours to get to one.  With so many little kids around the house, I don't like to pay a lot for new furniture.  They're going to end up banging it up or coloring on it, so I might as well get something replaceable.  That's where Ikea comes in handy.  Every couple of years, we make a trip to the next state to pick up a big item or two and several little household things that cost a few bucks.  This trip, it was a computer desk we were after.  We need something bigger that can seat two people.

The store was packed and there were people everywhere.  We finally located what we wanted, asked a few questions, and wrote down the necessary information.  From previous trips, we've learned that you write down the aisle and bin numbers on your little card and pick up the items from the self-serve warehouse.

Then, we were browsing through the kids furniture.  Hubby spied a bright pink and red toddler bed and declared that Baby Girl needed to have it.  Big Sis was awestruck by it's girly-ness and wholeheartedly agreed.  I didn't care for it but spotted a white, iron bed next to it that looked so precious.  Poor Baby Girl is still in a crib with the sides down.  She gets in and out as she pleases but I haven't had the time to decide what route we were going to take with her Big Girl room.  Hubby confirmed that we had the money available and I decided to get it.  However, there was no tag on the item with warehouse information.  I sought the help of an employee who explained that the bed would need to be picked up from the satellite store across the street.  I was fine with that and he wrote me up a ticket.  We also picked out a frumpy little mattress to go along with it.

The shopping trip was over; the desk and the bed were both piled into the trunk of the minivan.  All was well and we drove home.  Hubby wanted to get the bed up right away so we turned our home into a mini workshop.  We took down the crib and started putting together the new bed.  Of course, we had a few problems as the instructions include only smiling and frowning people with no words.  But it finally came together. 

The last step showed a faceless man putting slats onto the frame of the bed.  "Where are these?" Hubby asked.  Panicked and becoming nauseated, I looked around the room and in the box.  No slats.  I read and reread the instructions.  No words, no notes, no information whatsoever.  Getting irritated, I looked up the style of bed on the internet.  It said that this style of bed requires the use of a certain type of wood slats, which are included in the price but packaged separately.  Oh, great!  That's no good to me now! 

Quickly, I picked up the phone and called customer service.  It was nearly closing time and the Baby's bedtime.  The man on the phone informed me that the slats are necessary but not included.  I was instructed to return to my local store and pick them up.  I explained that I don't have a local store.  We live a few hours from the closest store and that was not an option.  "Oh," the man said.  "Well, I can transfer you to home shopping to purchase the bed slats."

"Let me ask you, sir," I said, "how is a person supposed to know that these particular bed slats are needed when there is nothing on the box that says so and no one at the store informed of this."

"It's on the tag, ma'am."

"Hmmm...." I continued, sarcasm rising in my voice, "there was no tag anywhere on the bed.  There was a sign hanging from the ceiling with the price.  There was no other information.  I had to seek help from an employee who ordered the bed from the warehouse.  He did not mention this information.  Again, I ask you, how is a person supposed to know?" 

"I'm sorry to hear that." he said.  "You can order the slats for $9.99."

"On your website, it said the slats were included in the price but packaged separately."

"Yes, that's just for internet orders," he said.

"Fine."  I was getting more irritated by the moment and just wanted this to be over.  "I will just buy them."  He transferred me to home shopping and I explained my story to the fella there.

"Oh, I see you need the XXX bed slats.  Those aren't available from home shopping!" he said with a lovely spring in his voice.  My blood was boiling at this point.  I won't replay the entire conversation but it went much the same way as with the last guy.  He finally explained to me that I can order twin-sized bed slats, which will work, but will only allow the bed to be used in one size.  I won't be able to adjust it like I'm supposed to be able to.  I sighed and said that will have to work.  He then told me it will take 7 to 10 business days.  "Is that OK?"

"Well, I guess it will have to be, won't it?  I don't have any other option.  I've already gotten rid of my daughter's bed so I don't know where she's going to sleep for 7 to 10 business days."

"OK, ma'am.  Those slats are $19.99." 

"$19.99?  So they went from being included, to $9.99, to $19.99 plus shipping?  Forget it!"  I hung up.  I was frustrated with myself for not asking to talk to someone much more important than him.  But it was bedtime for Baby Girl and I needed to start finding a sleeping solution for her.

I always cry when I'm ticked off.  I cried.  I decided to put her in bed with Big Sis and retreat to a hot bath with a candle and a book.  Co-sleeping did not go well.  Baby Girl got up numerous times, walked around, played with toys, wrestled with her sister, and was basically a menace.  About this time, I began thinking Why in the world did I want her out of a crib anyway??  In the morning, Big Sis said, "She got up in the middle of the night and was looking out the window and stuff!"  A serious change was needed.

I wrote my letter to Ikea.  I thought it was a pretty good one.  Anyone who would take the time to read it would certainly feel my frustration and would want to somehow make the situation right.  I got a form letter in response.  Guess what it said? 

We recommend you contacting IKEA XXX to place a home shopping order for the slatted bed base by calling XXX or email at XXX @ikea.com. We are open everyday from 10am-5pm.

Gee, thanks guys!  If I could have done that, I wouldn't have needed to write my letter, now would have I?  They didn't even read my letter!  Anyone speak Swedish?  I think I'm calling Mr. Ikea himself at some point today!

Last night, Baby Girl slept in "The Hole."  The bed frame is still set up in the middle of her room.  I made a little area for her to sleep on the floor inside of The Hole, which she adequately named herself.  She cried during the night, lost her pillow, and pulled the ole' "Mama, I NEED you!" 

Needless to say, Hubby told me he's never taking me to Ikea again.  I feel bad using the name of the store in this rant but they have done nothing to resolve the problem.  I'm stuck with a useless bed and a girl who has nowhere to sleep.  Period.

Happy Monday to you.


~she~ said...

Funny addition- I found a blog that is all about humorous letters sent to Ikea as a mode of complaint! It totally made my day!

emmy said...

My daughter and I consider Ikea a form of entertainment, kind of like going to the zoo. I know that it will be inconvenient and cost a bit of gas, but baby girl has no bed. Drop the older kids off at school, put baby girl in the car seat and drive back to Ikea. Take your receipt to the store manager and explain the situation. After he completely apologizes and sends an employee across the street to retrieve the slats for you, see if he will front you lunch in the cafeteria for all the trouble you have had to go through.

Kendra said...

Oh, that's awful! I hate frustrating things like that. That bed is adorable, too bad it didn't come together as planned.

Anonymous said...

We have some things from Ikea...some are better than others. Those slats are necessary to support the mattress they should be boxed WITH the bed or there should be a BIG label on the box stating YOU NEED BOX XXX ... WOW, annoying!

But you have inspired me..we went to a museum yesterday and it was so HOT inside that all we wanted to do was lay on the floor and take a nap! Forget learning...

Linda said...

Frustrating situation. I totally understand why you're angry, and you don't have to apologize for using the name of the store in your rant. That's what inspires companys to improve their service (or not, depending on how obtuse they are).

Really, the slats should come packaged in with the bed. Who came up with the idea of packaging them separately?? Must have been a man...ooops, did I say that?

Well, hope you get this resolved soon. The bed is cute though, but the service isn't. Too bad.