Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Confessions of an IKEA Hacker - the Big Black 'Cover' Sticker of headache.



a one like that




I love IKEA. I really do. I believe in them. IKEA does a great job at everything that they apply themselves to. Everything except one thing - their kitchen doors return policy.  

I dread receiving an order from IKEA and finding out that several doors pieces are featuring that black sticker. 

For those who are buying their IKEA kitchens for the very first time - and I bet that there is a lot of you - that black sticker indicates that the door has been previously purchased, hand selected at a warehouse location, delivered on a cube van to a dwelling [could be up to 250 km away], handled by the installer [either self-install or a professional installer] and deemed to be 'wrong', often re-packaged; and finally lovingly delivered back to the nearest IKEA store location for a refund. 

Ideally. 

And I buy doors from IKEA all the time. 

Doors are what makes the kitchen - that's the design element - that's your 'flair'. Purchasing a door from IKEA, getting ready to hang it and finding out that it has been damaged [some doors are more prone to damage than others; on some the damage is more visible than others] is always a slight irritant - that means that the door needs to be replaced - delay. And no-one like delays - it means a trip to IKEA [although, I don't typically mind it; it's another opportunity to interact - check out for changes - you know, maybe they changed the script, or they altered their 'talking points' - I pay attention to these things]. 

I have to give it to IKEA that they are very flexible with their kitchen returns - they are very reasonable and are very accommodating. They will really bend over backwards for you - after all they just sold you anywhere between several hundred to more than $20000 dollars of merchandise, and they want to make sure that you are satisfied. But there is a vulnerability in their system - a one that is, I am certain causes them financial losses - and they are looking into addressing some. They already took some preventive steps - keep on reading. 

Today I went to IKEA to pick up 2 doors - Veddinge - white matte slab - really nice modern look. I needed them because I had to hack them to fit a cabinet I put together. Because I wanted for the kitchen to have a really custom look, I decided to match the height of pantry to the height of a really nice Sub-Zero fridge [it's a custom solution; the IKEA kitchen planner had nothing to do with it - custom solutions, that's why I get hired]. By now, I know the drill - order upstairs; pay at self-serve; loiter for about 30 min around the store before even considering going to check if they have the order ready [mine is tiny, just 2 doors]. 

As I am loitering about IKEA, I discover a whole bunch of new things that I did not know before - like this - 


IKEA Etobicoke, stocks a selection of Swedish [or Swedish'esque; I don't believe that a novelty length gummy worms are a Swedish invention; although their length was impressive and you would have to probably go on-line to some obscure candy dealer to find comparable size gummy worms] candy! Self- serve from a bin! How wonderful! 'Where is my youngest boy, when you need him?!' I think to myself. So for about 30 min, I check out the variety, read the ingredients - is the first ingredient corn-syrup or sugar? You know things like that. I settle for this single, long roll of candy tape, and I am off to check my order of 2 Veddinge doors. 

I still have to wait for another 10 minutes - lots of big orders all around me. And then....I see it coming....Wow....they are bringing out a survivor! 

LOL! LOL!

My cart is the lowest count - 2 items - cart that I can see. And the young man who is pushing it towards me is young and has a bright smile on his face. And we both look at that Veddinge pantry door brown box  that's sitting on the cart - and we both know it - it's a survivor. I keep a straight face - but on the inside I am bursting out in laughter. That box looks like it's been through a Zombie Apocalypse, survived and made it back to IKEA, and now they are trying to sell it to me. It's got that BIG BLACK STICKER on it. The box is scuffed. It is dented and scratched. It has got this 'brown paper tape' - closest colour match to the actual box - all over it and reinforcing the corners. The two 'cardboard buffer zones' - that's the part of the IKEA door box that  protects the short edges from damage - are totally crumpled**. I am not going to post a pic of that box - that would be just mean -  and I am certain that this is not indicative of the overall IKEA kitchen doors experience. Maybe that's part of 'the script' - try to sell the returns first - see if the customer accepts it - offer a discount - etc. 

'This door has been to hell and back,' I think to myself. 'Initial here, please,' asks a young lady that checks my order and paid receipt. Keeping my cool, in a very casual tone, I make an observation that the box appears to be 'damaged' and before I sign my life away on these doors, I would like to check them. 'No worries,' I am informed and shown to not to distant - the 'inspection table'. 

And so went the process. They offered me 'as-is' discount on it, but I did not take it - even with cutting them down to size and re-hinging I was not able to cut around the damage.

People check your doors, when you first get them. 

So I did return it for a new one. I got to give it to the 'IKEA return' people that the damage was very slight - it was nothing like the box would suggest - it was a series of easily missed small dents on the long edge, opposite of the hinge side. But I could clearly see them, and eventually the client would notice them too.* 

So what's the lesson? 

You should always check your purchased or delivered doors for damage - especially the ones that feature the BIG BLACK STICKER of headache - that's the vulnerability - and make a claim right away - either in-store or with the delivery person. 


Oh, but this kitchen I'm working on will look real good. 'Like a million bucks!' Building in big fridges - designing them into the millwork - is what I do best. 
If you want a really nicely designed IKEA kitchen - hire me. Also visible are the extra pieces that go into every 'hacked' SEKTION box. A lot of the times if I need modify a box, or the design calls for a 'more ambitious placement' of the box, I will reinforce the box with additional cross-member - it drastically strengthens the box and looks good. 




*Veddinge doors blister. Bodbyn doors dent* - I have video that I made - it was surprising even to myself. 

**Crumple zones on a IKEA SEKTION doors box. If they are gone, then there is a good chance that the doors are damaged.