So it's the first day in five weeks of school holidays that we've had childcare for the full day. Finally we sit down together and start to plan our stand at next month's trade fair and make a list of things we need to buy.
Item one: six IKEA shelves. But oh dear, the IKEA website says they are out of stock. So I ring up to find out when they will have more, and the operator reminds me of that character on Little Britain ("computer says no"). But apparently they ARE in stock, despite what the website says. But only eight of them, and no more for another 3-4 weeks.
This sets us into an immediate panic, as our trade fair is in 4 weeks and we need six shelves. Paul hooks the trailer up to the car and makes the 1.5 hour trip from the country into Melbourne. And when he gets there, yes, you guessed it, no stock! And worse - 80 units are due in tomorrow.
Unsympathetic warehouse manager shrugs and of course does not apologise for the complete failure of IKEA' s stock inventory system. Nothing can be done. Nothing for it, but to make the trip all the way again tomorrow, probably with the kids this time. And what if we get there before the stock arrives? Or if it doesn't arrive at all?
I understand IKEA's cash n' carry business model, and I appreciate that the lack of basic customer services like delivery means that we get to buy affordable furniture, but really, can't they at least sort their computer system out so that their warehouse manager, website and customer service team are giving consistent information? Surely this can't be good for sales - but then again, does anyone ever give up on IKEA? I wont give up, we will be driving another 3 hours every day until we get the blasted shelves...
I wondered, can it be true that people really keep forgiving IKEA endlessly for the shoddy way that they treat us? I think it must be.
Which led me to undertake some scientific research on Flickr. And my thoughts are confirmed - the IKEA Lover's Group has 3075 members and the IKEA Hater's Group has only 8.