Friday, May 13, 2016

IKEA - the standards are slipping

My previous employer, Nortel, was once a great global telecoms company. It hired smart, conscientious people; it 'did what it said it would do'; and it had high ethical standards. It embodied Canadian virtues.

In the few years after 2000, it destroyed itself by recruiting a bunch of greedy, self-serving senior executives to cash in on that Internet thing.

We used to keep our cash with the RBS, a stalwart Scottish bank which was a byword for probity and straight, efficient dealing; it was destroyed by a culture of greed and psychopathy orchestrated by CEO Fred Goodwin.

There may be a great deal of ruin in a country, but a company can be brought down in just a few years. Which is why, if it were possible to sell shares in IKEA, I'd say let them go now.


Our mattress. Ordered from IKEA with additional payment for home delivery and removal of the old one. I was a little surprised by the two delivery guys, one of whom spoke not-brilliant English and wore his baseball cap the wrong way round. Neither seemed that bright, though they had, perhaps, a roguish charm.

There were minor alarm bells as the baseball-capped one rolled the mattress, by himself, up our drive, end-over-end. Hmm.

And when they left, all that cardboard and plastic sheeting was just left littering our drive. Customer service in action.

The mattress disposal people didn't come. IKEA customer support were not helpful; I was told I could have my £20 refunded. Excuse me?
"I have a mattress blocking my hall. I'd like you to remove it as you contracted to."

Apparently, the delivery people should have picked up the old one and taken it with them. Ooops.

We are rescheduled for Sunday.


This is very sloppy. When a company takes its eye off the ball, hires lazy and non-conscientious staff and when challenged, tries to evade the problem, it's a pretty good diagnostic that something's wrong with the internal culture.

I know this is an N = 1 sample, but IKEA, you have a great brand - don't blow it all away!


Update Sunday: They came: the  mattresses are gone.

The two guys who arrived to collect it stared glumly at the items-to-go. "They should be wrapped in plastic sheeting," the one in charge said, "It's company policy - before we can touch them."

This was the first I had heard of this new rule. IKEA was making heavy weather of what - at point of sale - had been a single tick-box item.

I sort of understand that IKEA subcontractors should not be expected to deal with the fleas, bed bugs and other mattress-denizens of IKEA customers - but surely we should be warned in advance and perhaps provided with the means to shrink-wrap our cast-offs?

With much ill-grace, the two men rejected my offer to carry the mattresses down the drive myself, and duly departed with them.

Much thanks for that.

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