Certain things about life in Italy have surprised me. The c-section rate is extremely high. There are earthquakes. And everyone buys their furniture at Ikea.
Only this is not the Ikea that I remember. Either the Euro quality is higher or the place has done an overhaul on their products everywhere. Offering a vast selection of pretty much everything, one can buy nice things at Ikea and more importantly, not break the bank. This is how Paul and I found ourselves there, repeatedly. Unfortunately the process is not without its glitches.
Take our most recent purchase. Melissa and I rented a minivan and headed out to pick up small things like lamps and rugs, plus I ordered a bed frame for our room and a bed for the guest room (my mom was coming in 3 weeks). This was to be delivered in approximately 10 days. Here’s how the whole process worked:
- Wander through the megastore, piling up enough lampshades, pillows and rugs to fill two carts each
- Wobble up to the cash registers, fending off Italians who’d desperately like to cut in line, then place each item on the counter
- 20 minutes of scanning go by and my Italian “credit card” is inexplicably denied
- Two carts worth of items called “Hemnes” and “Lillesand” lay on the conveyor belt, unpaid for and uncertain as to their future
- I try my American credit card but it’s also denied because we have a fraud alert set on high and I’ve never used the card before
- Call Paul from checkout line
- Face angry Italians
- Use Melissa’s American credit card to pay for purchase
- Wait for Melissa to complete her own two-cart transaction
- Watch her Italian “credit card” get declined. She uses her US card as well
- Frazzled but on my way out the door, am assured that the new bed, mattress and frames will be delivered within 10 days
- 10 days pass: No delivery
- The week before my mom is to arrive, Amy who speaks fluent Italian calls Ikea for us
- There’s “a problem with the order” and the only way to solve it is to return to the store!
- I go to Ikea the next day
- Wait in line for 20-30 minutes
- Explain that we haven’t gotten the delivery and am once again promised delivery within 10 days. But my mom is coming in three days, I say. In that case, they agree to bring the items faster.
- My mom arrives.
- No beds.
- Mom sleeps on the cot that our landlords have left us in the apartment. It’s not so bad but…
- No delivery.
- One week passes: My mom leaves.
- Three more days: Ikea delivers the beds but no mattress
- More calling, thank you Amy!
- Once again visit the store. This time with Paul and a cargo van
- Am promised for the third time that the mattress will arrive within 10 days
- I declare that I’m not leaving the store without the mattress
- 30 minutes later: A mattress is wheeled out from the warehouse
- Bending the mattress in half, we manage to squeeze it into the small cargo van…and take it home!
- Forty-two days after the bed-buying adventure began, Barb, Brendan and Colleen arrive, and have somewhere to sleep.
In the end, we got our beds (below) but as Amy said, it was Italy versus Ikea. Italy won.