Weird People in L.A. – Second Edition

Excuse me while I pull out the “I’m Pregnant” card and dance around on a street corner like a raving lunatic.

I’ve made three trips to hell Ikea this month.

Every time I go to Ikea, there’s no way to make it less than a two hour trip. There’s no way to walk in, walk to what I want, and walk to the cash register. In addition to the mouse-looking-for-cheese store layout, Ikea has a customer service ratio problem. Without fail, every time I go, I get ignored by 5 associates who won’t make eye contact with me, and then there is ONE associate who will act as if I have a right to shop in the store.

Today, I had to drive (my pregnant self) back to Ikea for an exchange, then I had to carry a sixty pound box from a parking structure, across a street, up a ramp, through the “summer items tent,” and into a door (my pregnant self).

At the door of Ikea in L.A., I was greeted by Ikea’s token Swedish guy named Nils. Nils was a doll. He told me where to put my box down, ran and got a cart (for my pregnant self), and walked me to the hallway which would lead to the returns.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t pack Nils with me in the shopping cart for the rest of my trip around Ikea. And, Ikea has their 5/1 unhelpful-to-helpful ratio to maintain.

I waited 15 minutes to make the return, while staring at a sign that says “we pride ourselves on doing 9 minute returns” or somesuch. At the returns counter, the returns guy mumbles inaudibly at me and then takes the cart that Nils gave me, so I went on a pilgrimage to find another cart. It would be too logical to place shopping carts at the entrance, I have to walk (my pregant self) through half of the store to get a cart in the middle(?) of the store, near the soft goods. I also have to walk by 2 associates who refuse to stop walking and make eye contact, to find a third who will tell me that (duh!) I have to take the elevator to the other floor to get a cart.

Onward, to replace a bookshelf that we thought could hang on the wall, but only came with the hardware to bolt it against the wall while on the floor. Half-way through the-mouse-looking-for-cheese-maze Ikea, I find the shelving units. I look up, and there is the exact shelving system that I just returned (my pregant self), and it is hanging on the wall.

Somebody shoot me now.

I turn around to get help, and spot the guy who sold me the set I just returned. This is my second encounter with the office furniture guy this week, and now he tells me, “Oh, you need a $10 mounting rack to go with it.” So I get the part number and walk through the cheese maze to get to the “self serve” pick-up items.

In self-serve, I find the box and the mounting rack that I need, but I can’t lift the sucker UP into my cart. I followed FOUR Ikea associates around, and ALL of them, saw (my pregnant self) me, avoided eye contact, and started walking faster in the direction that they were going. So I decided to stalk someone that was helping an associate with a fairly large order. I can wait my turn.

I can wait my turn, when I haven’t just lugged a sixty pound box to returns (my pregnant self). I can wait my turn when I haven’t just spent two hours on my (pregnant) feet, looking for the cheese in this maze. So the guy I’m stalking, he is working on a very big order, but he can’t bother to look at me and say “I’ll be with you in just a minute.” He completely ignored me for FIFTEEN MINUTES. By this time I was alternating between following him around and sitting (my pregnant self) on the concrete floor.

He finally looks up at me, “Did you have a question?” No, I need you to lift a box (for my pregnant self).

So I finally get my box. The cashier avoided eye contact, and mumbled even more inaudibly than the returns guy.

The bistro lady, had stopped making yogurt for the night (at 6:30? they’re open til 9!). Big. Pregnant. Indignant. SNIFF! But I survived all the way to the exit of hell Ikea!!!!!!

On to go fetch my car and bring it to the loading dock. I parked my cart at the loading dock and took my receipt from the attendant. Wow, he acknowledged that I came near him! Wow! He made eye contact! WOW! He spoke audibly (with a Spanish accent, and a very severe speech impediment)! I wanted to kiss him. The one employee in the whole store with a legitimate speech barrier, and HE’S ONE OF THE ONLY TWO making an effort to communicate with customers. What gets me is that the loading dock guy is probably getting paid half of what everyone else in Ikea is getting paid.

This trip: two out of ten employees made me not want to gouge out their eyes. At least Ikea’s customer service ratio is consistent.