Sunday, August 24, 2008

An Open Letter to Ikea Customer Service

Dear Ikea Customer Service,

I love you. Your meatballs are yummy and your kitchen knives are to die for. Our family adores trips to Ikea so much that we consider them "field trips."

But really, dear Ikea, why are you such a tease?

When we went to Germany last summer to visit our exchange student daughter who lived with us a few years ago, her family bequeathed upon us the traditional German bedding that we'd fallen in love with during our trip -- two fluffy individual down-filled duvets, each in its own zipped fabric cover, to be paired with matching large, square pillows. While in Germany, we purchased a few sets of duvet and pillow covers, but recently I decided to add to our linen closet by purchasing a few more sets at (where else?) Ikea.

I wasn't surprised that German-sized duvet covers weren't offered on the American Ikea website, but I expected that they'd be available on the German site,, so I hopped on over there and began to shop. The choices were immense and I even had the added bonus of having seen many of the same fabrics in the bedding department of our local Seattle Ikea store, so I knew exactly which duvet covers I wanted.

Fast, easy... perfect!

Since I know some German, I easily navigated around the site, adding choices to my cart and heading to the "Kasse" (the check-out page), thrilled that I'd soon have new German bedding without ever even leaving home.

Once on the check-out page, however, I began to encounter problems. Even though I expected the primary shipping options to be shipping within Germany (or maybe Europe), I also expected that somewhere in some corner of the site there'd be a radio button or check box that would say something like "do you want to ship internationally?" Ikea is, after all, a global company with global appeal, with common merchandise across global markets, and with a worldwide faithful customer base.

Surely I'm not the only one in America (or any other country) who wants to buy German bedding at Ikea! And what about my expat friends in Germany who might want to buy American bedding at Ikea Germany? Does this global company really only allow shipping within one's own country? Why can't they ship to me in America if I'm willing to pay the shipping costs? (And hey -- with the dollar in the toilet as it is, there might even be an extra profit to be made here!)

Sure, I have a friend in Germany who asks me to ship him Levis once every few years and yeah, he owes me a favor... but must I really go that route? I really like those duvet covers with the cool red abstract design and I want to give you the business. So what do you say, Ikea Customer Service? If I can't count on you, who can I count on?

Warm (as in under fluffy Ikea duvet cover) regards,


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Unknown said...

I know how you feel - just in reverse. I am stuck in Germany constantly trying to get retailers to ship to me. Shipping and customs fees be damned (customs alone are 19% of the shipping cost and the price of items).

Jen said...

I think this is fairly common for the multinationals, unfortunately. I've run into this problem even with the UK Amazon site in terms of books.

jen said...

Carol, carol, carol. My darling woman. let's work something out. I can purchase and ship to you via a super secret way that does not involve customs tax OR I can purchase and bring to you in December. Let's talk.

Carol said...

"Bring them to me in December??" Yeah, I like that idea! Not the "bringing" part... the "you're coming to Seattle?!" part! Jen, my dear woman, SF and Seattle are not just a jaunt away!

But thanks! Lemme try Thomas, since he "owes me one" for all the Levis I've sent him, but I might be Skyping you... :-)

Love, Carol

Lynda said...

Well it is just tit-for-tat. I spent most of the Summer trying to get somebody ANYBODY in the US of A to ship me a set of music books for my darling Miss 6 and her piano teacher... not a hope - can buy those books everywhere online, but without a shipping address in The USA... well, buddy, forget it. I too, would have been happy to pay whatever it cost (its not like I am going to have them ship the books to Egypt!)

I have been travelling the world with German bedding that needs to be topped up every now and again - European pillowcases .. impossible size to find anywhere else.

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