I have a theory, about IKEA.
And the theory goes like this: IKEA’s goal is to completely disorient their customers much like placing rats in a rat trap. They want you to lose sense of time and space, and see the pretty things. All the pretty things. They don’t want you to pop in, nor do they want to make shopping at their store convenient by any stretch of the imagination. They know that the longer you stay and shop, the more stuff you’re inclined to buy.
Don’t believe me? Well today I decided to pay a trip to IKEA and if you’re like me, IKEA isn’t just like going to the grocery store or even the mall. No, IKEA is an all-day event you mentally prepare for. It’s not for the casual shopper or the in-n-outter. If Costco is a 5K, IKEA is a full-distance marathon.
The ironic thing is that there are no shortage of directions at IKEA. You’ll find plenty of “you are here” maps, directions and guides overhead and even arrows projected on the floor. However, I’m always wary when a store has a prescribed path they want me to follow. What are they up to, exactly?
As any IKEA shopper knows, the first part of the store contains all these displays. And instantly you start thinking about buying stuff in combination. That pillow? It so works with that bowl. And if you buy the one bowl, you got to buy the set. And the table runner? Ties it all together. Oh, the possibilities.
And tucked into all those displays, you’ll find cute things like this. A mini greenhouse for $19.99.
OR this cute tree and bird decal for $12.99.
The IKEA Seattle has this curious display in the middle of their store – have you seen it? It’s an entire home, in 312 sq ft. Yes, it looks absolutely cute, tidy, and functional – provided that 1) you don’t have kids, a spouse, or a pet and 2) you don’t own any things other than the IKEA things that are already in the model home.
I bought one of these for my daughter several years ago. It’s a pretty awesome deal at just $14.99.
My kids are way past the age of needing plastic utensils, bowls, and plates – and yet, I was still strangely tempted because each set was just $1.99.
But this miniature Christmas tree for $14.99 was really tempting to me today. Once again, it was sitting on a table all cutely displayed for the holidays. I really think IKEA capitalizes on this business of displaying their stuff with more of their stuff.
And after the meatballs, you have all the sweets. I don’t even know what half of these jams are, but they are tempting simply because they look so adorable all lined up on the shelf.
I have another theory about IKEA. (I promise – it’s the last theory for today.) All the bigger ticket items come before the cafe. It’s like they want you to decide on those larger purchases right away (after you’ve been thoroughly tempted by their showroom displays). But after the cafe, most of what’s left in the store are those smaller items – like these glasses for $0.79. Maybe they figure you’ll fill your cart with these smaller items since you’ve already decided on the bigger items. (“After all, what’s $0.79 darling? We’re already spending $400 on a new sofa!”)
If you think I’m kidding: the next time you go to IKEA make a mental note how many items you see selling for say, over $100 before the Cafe vs. after the Cafe.
Check out these cool owls. I found them on a lampshade for $9.99.
Ever notice the sometimes curious and surprising product placements in IKEA? For instance, these stuffed rats for $0.99. I found them in the lamp section. I’m just wondering what the IKEA Marketing Team is thinking here. Do they think customers with cats mostly buy lamps? Or that prankster kids will think about hiding one of these in their unsuspecting parent’s living rooms?
Toilet brushes for just $0.99.
White & gray throw: $1.99
Just when you think things are looking good and you’ll encounter aisles and aisles of stuff. Woe to you, if you’ve decided to purchase furniture! Now you need to find which aisle it’s on and load it all up!
And even if you make it through all that, just as you spill into the checkout lanes are rows and rows of stuff. Usually seasonal stuff, which is the kind of stuff you’d tend to buy on impulse anyways. Oh, and the 50% off scratch-and-dent section. (Don’t forget that.)
Believe it or not, I came out unscathed. Granted, I logged over 3,000 steps on my Garmin, but I’m proud to say I was able to return my yellow IKEA shopping bag empty and walk out without having spent a dime. Just as I was relishing in my success I paused by the Bistro (not to be confused with the Cafe that’s at the mid-point of the store). A 6-pack of cinnamon rolls for $4? I might deserve that after surviving IKEA today….
What tempts you the most at IKEA? Any theories you’d like to add to the mix?
PS if you liked this post, make sure to check out my most recent Stuff I didn’t know I needed…until I went to Costco post.