Monday, August 18, 2008

Brooklyn's IKEA: Havoc at the Checkout Counters This Weekend

So we went to IKEA in Red Hook Saturday to buy a few household supplies and to have lunch. Shoppers were pouring in by bus, car and probably boat as well.

We had a wonderful time looking at the little pretend apartments and even with all of those thousands of shoppers, we got a table in the cafeteria, no problem. (The food, btw, is delicious and reasonably priced.)

But OMG! When we went to check out this is what we found: the lines extended all the way out of the check out area and almost all the way through the self serve furniture area! If you zoom the photo above (by clicking on it), you can just barely see a little blue sign with the number 13 on it way, way in the distance. (UPDATE: We drew a red circle around it because it's almost impossible to see.) That's the check out area. And we were by no means at the end of the line.

We're talking checkout waits of an hour or more.

Flat Packed: People were getting pretty grumpy, let me tell you. A woman jumped ahead of us in line. When we pointed this out, she moved behind us, only to be challenged by the customer back there. She moved behind that customer, only to be berated by the next one. And so she worked her back to the back of the line, irate customer by irate customer.

We were so far back there was no way to even tell if we were in a cash only line or a credit and debit only line. This accounted for some delays, it turns out, because people were finding themselves in the wrong line when they finally got to the checkout counters.

Since there were three members in our party, we split up and communicated via cell phone. One of the lines we were in didn't move for 15 minutes. Seems there was some kind of trouble with someone's credit card up front. Dozens of shoppers were muttering and a small rebellion was starting to break out because nothing was happening.

One of us stood in the checkout line all the way to the right. This eventually turned out to be a good move, because the store sent a cashier to one of the (non-functional, for some reason) self-checkout machines stacked against the extreme right-hand wall.

Though there is no counter there, there is a working register and a scanner, and the management pulled half of our line over into this pseudo-lane. We sent out a code red via cell phone and our party reassembled at the non-lane and checked out.

It took us more than 45 minutes to make it through the lines, even with all of our conniving and rapid response cell phone work. People who couldn't do this -- those with children or unwieldy purchases -- were just screwed.

IKEA, we love you, but something has to be done. Why aren't the self-checkout machines set up? And why are there so many delays at the cash registers? You have to do something about this.

OK, on a positive note, the bus service to Brooklyn Borough Hall is efficient and plentiful. Even on weekends, the buses keep coming, and coming and coming . . .

UPDATE 2: This past weekend was one of the busiest weekends of the year because the 2009 IKEA catalog just came out, according to the Brooklyn Eagle. Another interesting fact: The Red Hook IKEA “is one of the highest-performing stores in the country." More here.

- Ducks, Red Hook's Erie Basin
- New York Gets Flat Packed
- Brooklyn Ikea Quote of the Day
- Goodbye Ikea Apartment
- Ikea Setting Up Entire Apartment in Borough Hall Plaza, Brooklyn


Photo by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

21 comments:

Wade said...

this horror story is the same no matter what Ikea you go to on a weekend. I swore never to get another item from Ikea after suffering through many Elizabeth-based frustrations. This clusterfuck, plus then getting the crap home and finding out 3/4 of the way through that you put some piece in wrong that requires you to disassemble and rebuild the fucking piece of crap, means that I had to get a better job to afford more expensive, pre-built furniture.

Howard Bannister said...

Mmmmm. Meatballs.

But also, Chicken tenders. I'd normally never order chicken tenders anywhere, but they looked good at the IKEA, and I got some. They were sublime. Who knew?

So, my advice: Skip the furniture and their attendant lines, and stick with the cafeteria. It's nudged the Costco snack bar out of the number 1 spot on our weekend Brooklyn cheap lunch list.

bj said...

We split a dish of gravlax and the poached salmon plate with vegetables. Absolutely delicious. Big question: why is the plate of gravlax 798 calories, while the same amount of poached salmon with all the vegetables is only 399 calories?

queenoftheclick said...

I'm surprised that there was such long lines. I've been to that Ikea twice and I was in and out in a few minutes. The store is beautiful so hopefully management will take care of this.

Anonymous said...

It's a weekend thing. Go during the week and you won't have nearly as long a wait.

colleen said...

This might explain why there's always parking in my neighborhood this summer. Everyone's at IKEA :-).

Anonymous said...

Hey it's the before-school year panic. Especially with folks buying things for dorms, etc. As another poster said, go after work on a weekday.

Anonymous said...

I was there on Saturday afternoon to pick up a dresser. I got there at 3pm, got the dresser, got on the very long line and moved up within 15 minutes to the "Credit/Debit only" line. I left the register at 6:12pm. To top it all off, we ended up returning the dresser because of the sever lack of consistency of color - even for Ikea.

Hoo Gnoo said...

"The Red Hook IKEA 'is one of the highest-performing stores in the country.'"

In another it of surprising news, the sun rose this morning.

Anonymous said...

If you arrive at 10 am on a weekend, go in backwards and skip the show room. You'll be all alone listening to rock hits from the 90's.

Only fools go during peak hours. I was out by 10.20am and did more shopping then when I walked through the entire store for 3 hours frist friday after they opened.

Brenda from Flatbush said...

Even on a weekday, we had a surprisingly long wait on line (15 minutes at least, and that was just for impulse items from 'Marketplace'). The register messed up, and the cashier needed several extensive tutorials from the manager to give the guy ahead of me correct change. He wound up begging her to keep the change so we could all get going. But definitely terrific cafeteria--and with a killer view of lower Manhattan and the Red Hook farm, to boot.

Anonymous said...

I was there on Saturday. It wasn't that bad (in comparison to a previous shopping experience at IKEA Elizabeth). The most horrific part of the day was waiting in line for home delivery. Initially there were only 2 PEOPLE working the home delivery computers. Just when we thought we were free from the horror of the check out line we had to face the delivery line. People were cranky, children were crying, the line wasn't moving, and I just wanted to get the hell out of there. If it wasn't for the snack bar I think I would have lost it. I would not be surprised if that line has reduced people to tears.

Anonymous said...

The best time to go to Ikea is Friday or Saturday night - after 7 or 8pm. Or, first thing in the morning on a weekday, if you don't have to be at work. Weekday afternoons are insane.

The employees at Ikea Brooklyn seem to be much friendlier and more competent than the extremely rude full of attitude employees at Ikea Elizabeth. Except for the Marketplace employees, who are absolutely HORRIBLE at Ikea Brooklyn. There is no reason why those lines should be moving so slowly.

Anonymous said...

Oops - I meant "weekend afternoons are insane".

Anonymous said...

A couple of weeks ago I waited in line for an hour and a half on a Saturday. When it was finally my turn, the cashier muttered that she was going to take a bathroom break and then left me waiting at the unattended register for another 10 minutes! If you can, go to Elizabeth!

Anonymous said...

I was just there this past Saturday for the first time. First the good: Friendly staff and easy parking (unlike the Long Island store). Now the bad: Checkout lines. I was halfway down the line before the bend and noticed that people would bypass the line and jump past the front. The guy directing people to lanes was overwhelmed and wasn't stopping people from line jumping. When I finally got the the front, I asked the guy about this and he said he couldn't stop people from going to the mattress section on the extreme right (next to the "As-is" section) and then jumping on a line.
That checkout system sucks as well as the layout. I agree with posters here that it should not take that long to get out of the store!
Would I go back again? Probably, but only on an off-peak time.

Andrew said...

I was one of the unfortunate customers with an unwieldy purchase on Saturday. We asked the guy directing the lines what was up, and he said that they had twelve cashiers call in sick that morning. Still don't know if I buy it.

Anonymous said...

regarding how plentiful the buses are coming from borough hall, this is not a positive note when those buses are driving through your neighborhood in oversized trans-America highway buses that spew diesel fumes in your face as they speed by. more than half the time that I see these buses they are less than a quarter full. there is absolutely nothing efficient about these buses and for a company that touts itself as being green, I would have thought that these gigantic dirty buses would be an embarrassment. Don't the diesel trucks that they use to truck their furniture in from New Jersey create a big enough carbon footprint and pollute our neighborhoods enough? On top of it they have to use these ridiculous buses?

Anonymous said...

I waited over an hour for them to bring my cabinets to the pick up window. This Ikea has a long way to go towards working out the kinks.

Anonymous said...

I sharted while at Ikea. I couldnt get to the bathroom in time because of the crazy long lines. I ended up having to take the water taxi back after waiting another crazy line. The one good side is i was able to ditch my sharty boxers in the water taxi bathroom. I had itchy butt and had to walk home carring my cheap knick knacks with no underwear. Moral of the story dont eat at Ikea unless you have an extra pair of boxers.

Anonymous said...

You ended that conversation pretty quick.