ONLY because once I finished the never-ending path that took me through the store, combined with the mental struggle of ‘this throw pillow or that throw pillow’ that seemed to continuously confront me– I was pretty much ready to throw my hands up, toss my clothes in a pile and jump into a hot, steamy bubble bath.
But, maybe that’s just me?
This was my third trip to IKEA. I went for the first time just after it opened with my Cruise Media internship, where I was given the task of setting up my office area for under $50. Easy Peasy- had that task in the bag. Kept things simple, crisp, comfy, and allowed silver, white, and black accents to emulate the feel of the Cruise Media office and their white desks.
The second trip involved Nicolas and I. We were shopping for throw pillows for his boudoir. Never. Again. I felt so much pressure to make a speedy decision since you can’t just magically return to the previous section. The store is designed to take you through various sections of the store, and it isn’t an easy task to just mosey on back to a previous area due to its maze-like structuring. My navigation on the street is sub par, never mind a plethora of home furnishings to add to the confusion. Needless to say, the pressure was too much. Nicolas returned home without throw pills, annoyed, and we even wound up in a bit of a fight. Apparently throw pillow shopping takes a few trips? Who knew.
My third trip to IKEA was pretty different. I was able to kick-back and let the former Psychology student in me take over as I allowed myself to not only observe people, but also how they behaved in their surroundings. I love people watching at the best of times– mix this in with advertising and I am in IKEA Heaven.
I reviewed our market research questions prior to our arrival and made some early assumptions on a few questions. While a few assumptions were correct, I was a little surprised at some of the shoppers out at 10AM. I was expecting to see a lot of older women who had likely just retired, plus, new moms looking for affordable items to fill out their new homes and new families. I was correct, there certainly was a strong presence of these women. However, I also found a number of men shopping together and younger couples in their early thirties. I made the assumption that these young couples must be a combination of mat leave and/or shift work looking for items to finish their home furnishings. They were looking at things varying from tables, to pots and pans, to lighting fixtures.
I found that a number of people were quick to snatch up smaller items, but took their time on larger items. I observed one older woman shopping for dining room tables for a good ten minutes. She was comparing seat height to table ratio, checking the quality of the wood, and comparing prices among an array of dining room tables. She brought her son along and asked him for his opinions along the way as well.
I personally found that I was quick to pick up smaller items, because I feared not being able to find it later and didn’t want to feel as though I had missed out on anything. Even on a poor student budget, I was handling jars, pillows, candle holders and lint rollers. Realizing the items were unnecessary at the end, I managed to put them down. I definitely get the sense that a number of people would impulse shop at IKEA. Truthfully, I believe the store is designed that way. The long maze takes you through various sections of the store, but makes it difficult to return to past areas due to fear of congesting the flow of IKEA foot traffic. So, you pass by a set of glasses, they’re pretty cute…. you don’t want to miss out– Oops! They’re in your bag.
I think IKEA is great for Winnipeg. I think it’s a great thing for our economy. It’s great for people living on a tighter budget. Especially those starting new families, or people looking to find some affordable finishing touches to their homes. Sure, the quality falls short at times. It can also be a pain in the butt building these items. It is very clear prior to purchase that IKEA items need to be built. No surprises there. I don’t think people invest in IKEA products because they’re going to last them a lifetime. I think they find the price, convenience, and the somewhat modern styles very attractive though.
Once I wrapped up my people watching shift, I headed to the cafeteria with a few girlfriends to enjoy the $2 coffee and cinnamon bun deal. Like most Winnipegers’ I do enjoy the odd deal, and this one was too hard to pass up. Screw the diet for a minute. Great friends, tasty coffee, and a gooey bun to finish my IKEA trip? Great way to start my week.
Peace and Love.