Pick your poison: Ikea or Costco 2


Went to Ikea’s sales-tax free sale, but wound up leaving without buying anything. There a couple of good reasons for this:

  • Ikea doesn’t allow rain checks so if you can’t find what you wanted, you just have to come back again (and again and again …).
  • Believe it or not, TJ Maxx has the same quality of furniture at reasonable prices. You are paying a premium for the Ikea brand and hype.

and less practically,

  • Ikea is overexposed and overhyped… I like the Fight Club scene where the main character considers the addiction to Ikea furniture as an evil. And we know what he winds up doing… in the movie anyway.
  • It’s the Ikea color scheme:

    “To create a neutral color scheme in a room, use a range of “un-colors” like brown, beiges, gray, taupes, and whites.”
    Furnishing your first home

To add, Costco doesn’t have the best prices or service.

  • You can find sale items at walgreen’s for instance or safeway that are lower than Costco’s never-sale items.
  • You have to wait in lines that look like an airport terminal traffic jam.
  • You have to pay in cash or whatever disadvantaged credit card that is trying to peddle market share (first discover, now American Express).
  • You have to pay $40/year just to be able to walk in and look around.
  • You wind up buying mass quantities because they don’t have anything smaller than 1 gallon of olive oil, or because you dread having to stand in line for 30 minutes to just buy a couple of items.
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  • http://wwww.black-ice.org/links/ mkb

    At my housewarming, my friend Winnie walked in the door saying “Let’s play ‘spot the Ikea furniture!’” After a brief look around at my new home, she said “Oh… let’s play ‘spot the non-Ikea furniture.’”

    She was right. Post-divorce I needed to furnish an entire household. Ikea was close by and had decent looking stuff at reasonable prices. I bought a lot and it has served me well.

    However, I am now done with them and haven’t set foot in there since 2000. I am hoping to continue that trend indefinitely. The 2×4 that broke the camel’s back was having to wait well over an hour to receive an item I’d already paid for. The real clincher though was having the experience of trying to pop in for one quick purchase rather than doing an entire tour. The store is deliberately laid out to prevent people from leaving easily, instead channeling them through ever department, one by one. I found that when I was overtired, I actually couldn’t find my way out for a while. It sucked.

    I am done with Ikea though not yet ready to be delivered from my existing Sweedish furniture.

    (Joebob sez to get the Fight Club soundtrack, btw.)

  • http://ideamatt.blogspot.com/ Matthew Cornell

    Nice article. My wife loves driving two hours to CT to go to Ikea, and I just don’t get it. FYI I just wanted to point out an article from a month ago that may be of interest:

    How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/business/yourmoney/17costco.html

    Registration is required, but it’s also here: http://www.thinkequity.com/about/articles/nyt_071705.html

    I generally try to avoid big box stores if there’s a local equivalent, but I’ve vowed to never go to Wal-Mart (shiver).

    matt