Of course I’ve been to Ikea – but not often and the last trip was a while back. And I’ve never been to Ikea Springvale. On a bit of an impulse we ventured down there. Hmmm, it was more-or-less as I remembered it: a long winding aisle past everything in the store. True, there are maps to indicate where you are, and even “short-cuts”, but a combination of a desire “just to have a look at such-and-such”, plus the fact that even with the “shortcuts” you still pass a lot of things, conspired to turn what I had optimistically hoped might be a comparatively quick in-and-out visit into an expedition taking a couple of hours. And we came home with more than I at least had intended.
Obviously this is exactly as intended by Ikea! There are facilities for children and a restaurant, all clearly designed to make Ikea a “destination” in itself. I know that this isn’t news to anyone, and it certainly seems to work for Ikea.
Out of interest, I googled Ikea, and came across this article about a store in Brooklyn. Many of the pictures could have been taken at Springvale, so much is almost identical, right down to the ugly checkout lines (for some reason, none of the self-service checkouts were operating on the day we were at Springvale). And the coffee price! 75 cents in Brooklyn for your bottomless cup, $2.99 in Springvale. Yet I bet the coffee (out of the machine) is identical. But at Springvale, you can still get a $2 breakfast (scrambled eggs and corn fritter) on weekdays. The signage at Brooklyn shown in the article is almost identical (except no Spanish at Springvale), and even the mock-up apartments were similar (but 35m2 (!) at Springvale, compared with measurements in sq ft at Brooklyn).
Of course, Ikea’s tax arrangements aren’t particularly transparent, and it seems that the ownership structure is tightly controlled (see this article in the Economist, even if a few years old now). But, why let little things such as that interfere in the quest for a “good deal”?