When I originally purchased the Billy bookcases, I knew I needed some spare bookshelves to slot into them. There were two in stock and I bought them at the time. And ever since, I’ve been checking the website and calling back to buy some more.
Every time I check the website and find them in stock, I call in the store only to discover that they’re not there. Ikea Belfast get in around 15 spare Beech Veneer shelves a week ... and they disappear within hours.
If there’s such demand, why don’t they order 100 one week? It’s not like there isn’t room to store them in the warehouse.
But the real bug bear from this morning’s trip wasn’t the lack of stock. No. It was the car park, and in particular the staff directing traffic into the car park. I don’t like to be too nasty, or to stereotype everyone. But for the two guys at the entrance to the multi-storey car park at noon, one word applies:
There was no queue of cars going into Ikea at noon. Traffic flowing freely from the roundabout, down in front of the store, and round the corner to the car parks. Winding my window down I asked if I could get in down below – “it’s a lot easier with a toddler on the ground floor”.
“Very top floor, parents’ parking beside the lifts” he replied, and insisted I drove up the ramp and not through the cones into the nearly empty ground floor.
Top floor, corner near the lifts ... full of 4x4s with no kids in sight, conveniently loading huge trolleys of gear into the back of their monster trucks. Levels 1 and 2 of the car park completely bunged full.
Finally parked, and having tramped down the wet stairs with a three year old (since the queue for the lifts was huge and they hadn’t appeared on the top floor for five minutes) I stopped at the Info desk on the way into Ikea.
The staff were amazed that the bottom floor of the car park was closed. They explained that earlier on they’d caught someone closing the car park stairs so they could do some painting … on Saturday – their busiest day.
They rang through to security who said they’d send someone over to open the ground floor again, and that it had been closed to ease congestion at the roundabout! Answers explaining the logic behind that on a postcard to Ikea Belfast manager Paul Reid.
No bookshelves and five minutes later, we got back to the car and drove down the ramps and out onto the road. The ground floor was still over half empty, with the car park attendants still directing two in three cars up the ramps.
Makes a mockery of the sign on the way into the store:
A warm welcome to Ikea.