‘What is good for our customers is also, in the long run, good for us.’ Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA Founder
You would think after setting up home here five years ago and subsequently moving twice since that we would have enough MDF in our lives, but no with the cavernous IKEA showroom at Yas Island is less than ten minutes up the road it’s just too easy to pop along and buy some more.
Returning from the UK at the end of the summer, after seven weeks and a birthday, meant that my daughter had accumulated lots of new things (think whole extra suitcase full!) and apparently that required a new storage unit for make-up, hair and jewellery so a trip to the Swedish flat pack superstore was in order. Armed with a list (as I get easily sidetracked) we headed off and whereas in the UK I always came home with the standard purchase of one hundred or so tea lights, I now cannot leave the premises here without brightly coloured serviettes.
IKEA seems to cause a rift amongst people, just like Marmite, people seem to either love it or hate it! As an expat where all my furniture, utensils and appliances sit in storage in the UK, IKEA has been an absolute god send for all the basics (and also for setting up two sons at university in the UK) to which we have added a touch of local items from other establishments to make it feel like home.
Blue and Yellow, Blue and Yellow
You have to admire IKEA, they have the art of flat-pack off to a tee, offering customers a complete experience with practically everything you need to set up a house at reasonable prices. Yes, not every one wants mass-produced art on their walls and build-your-own identical furniture that comes in a box with a million screws but even the most belligerent of folk cannot knock their storage solutions, kitchen equipment and accessories.
Before and after, here’s one I built earlier……..girl power!
Alongside the showroom and marketplace there is of course the IKEA cafe with arabic offerings alongside the standard meatballs, a Swedish food shop and takeaway. There is nowhere else in this city where you can get a Latte with a cinnamon swirl for 7 Dirhams (that’s about £1.22) and the coffee is refillable! Now that’s worth the visit if nothing else. My teenager is always a willing IKEA companion as she cannot resist the temptation of their Chicken Shawarma (5 Dirhams = 87p)
Did I mention the coffee is refillable??
The people over at IKEA have a sense of humour too and that even comes with a regional twist. They are currently remodelling part of the main showroom and have disguised it in comedic fashion (see photo below). Well, it made me chuckle (note to self, must get out more!) but the teenager was not impressed, “Really Mum! You are taking a photo of that!” said in a slightly condescending voice with the obligatory roll of the eyes. Apparently I am soooooooo embarrassing! Is it wrong that I see that as a challenge?
They have even banned those infamous plastic shoes with holes in from their travolators! Really this Swedish humour is too much! Right I am off to browse the new 2014 catalogue that has just been released or maybe I will just go to store and look over it in the cafe with a latte and a calorie free cinnamon treat, after all if they are that cheap the calories must have been taken out, right?
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2013. All rights reserved.