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The IKEA Pilgrimage

"Hez!". If you were in Hyderabad for the opening of first IKEA store in India, you would be forgiven for thinking that it's a religious chant for followers of a religion who are trampling over themselves for getting into their place of worship. Except they were visitors to the new IKEA store.

For the past few days, the news had been carrying multitude of articles related to IKEA opening. The marketing by IKEA team only hyped the situation. Since I was looking to buy a bed, I made the unfortunate decision of going to the IKEA store for a quick in-n-out shopping with my wife on my way to office. The first red flag should have been when we couldn't get parking at 10 am in the morning of a weekday and were asked to park at one of external parking locations. The IKEA folks were kind enough to handout a map of the same.


We were asked to park near ITC Kohenur. From that location, like every well organized pilgrimage, there was a shuttle service to IKEA after every 30 minutes. I thought that the ordeal was over at this point. Boy was I wrong!

When we arrived at IKEA store it was around 11.30 already. Then there were long serpentine queues to get inside similar to the ones you may find at Tirupati, Shirdi etc. IKEA folks were trying their best to make everyone comfortable by offering water and cookies. But those can do only so much so cheer up a person standing for nearly 2 hours to get in. At many points, I wanted to quit and get the hell out of there. But sunk cost fallacy reared its every time.

At this point, patience of the crowd was wearing thin. You could see few hooligans throwing water bottles at IKEA staff who were still trying to salvage the situation and smiling.



Finally we got in. To their credit, I must say that the store is really well designed and thoughtfully laid. Its a HUGE store so one must move quickly if they want to see all the stuff. 





There were discounts on certain items but the big ticket items like beds, sofas etc. were not much cheaper than what you would find elsewhere especially if you factor in the delivery and transportation charges.

I must also say that the IKEA staff were very nice and helpful. One person asked how my experience had been so far in the store and I could only muster a smile from the multitude of emotions swirling inside me. He seemed to have understood and mentioned that the store was designed for 30000 people in a day but they already had seen 70000 people entering the store till 2 pm. Go figure! 😲

The warehouse collection and checkout was on par with what you would find in US and other countries but I also saw people struggling with collecting items from warehouse and self checkout process. To be fair, most of the people lurking around today were not real shoppers but from lower income groups who wanted to see what the fuss was about. I got out of checkout in 5 mins because there weren't people actually buying stuff!

Finally we managed to get out of there unharmed but I still had to face traffic jams.



I have decided that IKEA isn't for me until the crowds thin out (or Thanos does a snap again for halving IKEA Hyderabad crowd) which it would hopefully in a month's time. If you still want to visit IKEA, I wish you good luck.

Say "Hez" to IKEA gods for me!

Comments

  1. Mayank, I visited last Sunday and the experience is still tough on the nerves. I finally asked one IKEA employee when to come so that I can shop in peace. She said weekdays!! We did not have energy to even wait in the restaurant lines. So exited pretty fast and crashed at Chutneys😁

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still that bad huh! I was thinking of going there for Diwali shopping but would plan it better now

      Delete

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