Furniture News: Flat-pack furniture pioneers IKEA are to introduce in-store relationship councillors from next month in a bid to reduce what staff term ‘customer meltdown’.
“While the company has been extremely effective in bringing down costs and promoting Scandinavian-style modern furniture and accessories, including storage options and pet care, it has also killed love.”
“The unfortunate side-effect of offering such a wide range of domestic products is that it shines a light on many differences of opinion between couples all at once – a kind of torture light, as if you were chained to chair in a basement. Our new service is designed to dim that light and take off the metaphorical electrodes.”
“It’s not true that all men hate IKEA,” says Barry Hampstead, who divorced his wife last year after an argument in the car park of the Croydon branch saw him take a light bulb out of a packet and eat it in front of her.
“Men hate going to IKEA with their partners and vice-versa. They’re organised like some sort of weird shopping race-track and inevitably people go round at different speeds. This sets up an underlying atmosphere of frustration. When you add that to a conversation about whether it’s better to have a three-drawer chest or a six-drawer dresser, all hell breaks loose. In my case I had to wear a plastic sock on my tongue for several months.”
The councillors will be roaming the store trying to identify arguments at the earliest possible stage. They will also be stationed at the end of the till, ready to pacify any volatile situations before the couple get into the car.
“It’s key for us to deal with the issues before they get home,” explains Hagen.
“To have such a high level of tension present before you even try to put the item together is problematic to say the least. If people have gone through such a difficult afternoon only to then smash the wardrobe to pieces with a hammer while screaming ‘It’s ready, darling!’ rather defeats the whole purpose of low-cost self-assembly interior solutions.”
Story: Jasper Gibson
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