Ikea – stock problems

I wanted to write this while it was fresh in my mind.

About 3 weeks ago I decided it was high time I displayed some of my cherished items on a better shelf. They are all jumbled where they are and they deserve to be shown off for how rare they are now.

I ran into the DETOLF cabinet on Ikea.com. The site has this menu that will tell you how many are in stock at any store you choose. At my store it said they had over 10 left so I thought it can wait until I can get over there on the weekend. I checked a few days later and there were only 2 left! Curses!

So I went over there the same day to get one. There were none on the shelf. So I went to the help desk and said “I am looking at the stock on my phone now, it says there are 2 but I don’t see any, what do you see?” Stock guy looks on the computer and he says he sees just one. I figured the site just hadn’t updated yet and the other one is on the show room. So I asked him when they would get more.  He told me it looked like they might not be coming back to the store but to check back in the first week of the year. I asked could they hold one.  He said not now but, just call and they will put my name on it.

Fair enough.


A couple days ago I saw that the stock prognosis was good. If I just waited till Friday I could get a shelf. I waited and as soon as I was awake I called the number provided for Atlanta on the site. After 15 min of hold I got someone. Of course that doesn’t steer you to the Atlanta store. It steers you to some call center. I asked her to hold one of the shelves for me. She replied that they don’t do that and that it is first come first served. I said that wasn’t what I was told. She asked for the name of the person who worked there that told me that. I said I didn’t know. She said that if she knew a name she could call there and get them to hold one. I said someone was named Kevin but he wasn’t the guy helping.

I waited a few minutes for her to call over there and she said she couldn’t find him. (Actually talking to anyone in the warehouse would have solved the problem)  Then she checked stock just like I did and said “They will likely be in stock for a month, if you go over now you can get one.” I said well you did all you could, so thank you.

I looked on the site again for any “pay for it now and pick it up” No dice. They don’t have that sensible option. Shipping was out of the question because it cost $60 more than what the shelf cost.

So as soon as Peter arrived home I got in the car and drove the 40 minutes to get there.

I popped right to where the shelf is and what do I find? NOTHING. I knew 15 shelves can’t sell out in 2 hours, so back to the help desk. The man there checked and sure enough, the computer said they have 15. He said they probably just hadn’t pulled them from the back yet. I asked could they pull one and he said he wouldn’t be able to check until 9 because he had some other people to help. I said that was fine with me, I’m ok with waiting.

About 30 mins later I saw him come from the back and he told me he couldn’t get it. They were under things and they had no one to lift it out. I frowned and said “It says they are here and I can’t have it even though it’s here.” He said I could come by tomorrow and get one. Disappointed in their lack of service,  I gave them my name, phone, and email so they could ear mark one for me.

Seriously though, they wasted about 3 hours of my time because of their system.

Update 1/5/14:
I see the stock has gone down to O. I call them again to find out why was it O when I had one reserved to pick up. Of course they didn’t know, couldn’t call the actual store, wouldn’t reserve another one, and offered no alternative solutions.  Only thing they could tell me was more would be in later and to go get one then. (i.e. the thing I did already)


And brick and mortar stores wonder why Amazon and other online services are stealing their business. They aren’t stealing anything, you’re giving it to them.

Your business may be big Ikea, but it’s only as good as the people you hire and the policies you make them adhere to.

That’s said, I’m not some mean old grumpy customer that just wants their way. I’ve worked in some form of customer service for most of my working life and I know how it is. That is how I know they messed this one up.

Here is how they can fix this:

  • Clearly there is a difference between in stock and ready to buy in the physical world. If the real world makes that distinction then your system should too. Of course you should scan in things as they arrive. But they shouldn’t be touted as in stock until they hit the floor. Do a different scan for that and THAT is what should appear on your site.
  • Your phone numbers should be to the actual store and not a call center elsewhere.
  • The call center should be able to reserve items & if they can’t then see below.
  • The site should let you pay and then pick up your items.
    Every big box store lets you do this. How can you not have this as an option?


I had planned to redo the bathroom and bedroom with Ikea items as the focus. If it’s this hard to obtain a little cabinet I won’t bother with them.


About Gabi

I do person things.
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