ikeaI visited an Ikea store at the weekend. It wasn’t my first time and won’t be the last either. I’d just like to state for the record that I don’t really enjoy it and usually get dragged there by my girlfriend. She thinks she likes it but always ends up coming out the other end feeling rather deflated that she didn’t find what she was looking for.

I don’t think I’m alone in my dislike as when I’m walking round the store I see many other people looking like I feel.

Ikea have a strange business model, one which tends to induce a zombie mentality into it’s customers – people blindly wandering along a predetermined route, a bit like being on a giant conveyor belt as cheap goods whizz past. If you see something you want you’d better make a note of it quick as the conveyor never stops or slows and if you want to go back it’s easier just to come out of the exit and start again.

The strange thing is that Ikea is big business.

This is how it works. People go to Ikea with a purpose, say for example a cupboard they want to buy but invariably they can’t find what they are looking for and end up buying something they didn’t want because it’s cheap and enticing.

The Ikea brand shouts cheap but at a reasonable quality and also stylish too. There are also very few stores around and this tends to promote desperation, you see one and you just have to pop in. Also some people travel hundreds of miles to visit a store and when they get there as a reward they are encouraged to stay with a wealth of very cheap but good food in their restaurants.

People don’t like the idea of missing out on the bargains either so when a new store opens or they have a sale on Ikea know exactly how to get the trade in using super time-limited deals.

This can and does cause chaos.

A new store opened in the UK last year and people got crushed trying to get in the doors. Worse still 3 people died, trampled to death when a store in Saudi Arabia re-opened in 2004 with the promise of credit vouchers for the shoppers.

Behavior like this is not acceptable and in many ways is similar to looting during a riot.

Is it the fault of Ikea that incidents like this happen or is it purely the greed of human nature?