Thursday, 25 March 2010
My husband hates IKEA. To him, it represents something he is terrified of becoming-"a castrated suburban husband".
So, when my daughter needed a bedside table,I thought it would be lovely to go to IKEA ourselves. Because we, girls, love IKEA. For us, it is a day out.
Our nearest shop is in a very awkward area. First of all, I had to arrive there without getting confused at the North Circular.
I then had to find what I needed in an enormous store, right down the item code, aisle and location, load the boxes on a trolley and take them all the way home without breaking anything. All that might sound simple to normal humans; however, to me, that is an awful lot of tasks, each of which has a potential to go terribly wrong.
But I managed to get there beautifully. I got a good parking spot, right in front of a pushy Indian man, who gave me a dirty look. I then managed to find a perfect bedside table, cheap and cute, get the right box and bring it home without chipping the edges.
Proud of my achievements and supported by my daughter’s excitement, I decided to go all the way, and actually assemble the piece. Why not? It had instructions after all, and they provide you with everything you need. I can be technical, you know? I studied how to build buildings, I can surely put together a small, light piece of furniture.
Husband would never believe it, I thought smugly, as I evenly spaced 24 little nails along the back panel.
So, imagine my horror, when, having assembled the whole thing, I realized that I had placed the shelves back to front.
IKEA makes cheap stuff. This means, the back edges do not have to be finished. And now, not one, but two of my shelves were facing me with their exposed backsides. I was devastated. Is there any limit to my stupidity?
“Don’t worry”, said husband, who arrived just as I was about to throw the whole unit out. “We can take it apart and put it back together. “
“Not when you see how well I nailed the back panel”, I told him and we agreed that I was, after all, a moron.
That night, I had a Skype call from an old British friend, who used to work with me in Baku, and has recently moved to Turkey.
“Can you imagine, he said, what it would be like? IKEA in Baku? Can you imagine, he said, Azeries and IKEA?”
I don’t have to imagine, I said, do I.
We discussed why it would not work in Azerbaijan. Just the idea of self-service would simply fall flat.
My friend insisted he knows for a fact that IKEA did consider coming to Azerbaijan. And, after a very careful consideration, decided not to. Wounded, I asked if there was an IKEA in Turkey. “Yes”, he said. “With a very, very large restaurant. Turks love to go there to eat.”
Of course, I thought. You see... They had to adjust their business model slightly to fit Turkey. So why can’t they do the same for Azerbaijan?
It would work. Of course, it would.
Look, here is my business plan for Ikea in Baku. (I knew I would eventually find some use for my expensive MBA.)
1. Allow 10% for furniture, 90% for a restaurant.
2. Provide horns on trolleys, as Ikea’s one way system will never work in Azerbaijan. Everybody will cut across, move in an opposite direction and will need horns to constantly blast at each other.
3. Provide policemen at corners and junctions inside the store.
4. Provide service staff- to find the aisle and location of boxes, load them and take them to customers’ vehicles.
5. Increase the number of free pencils by 50%
6. Provide service staff to visit customers’ flats to assemble the flat-packed furniture
7. Re-design colour scheme. No whites, especially no beige tones. Instead, more gold, some silver and purple.
IKEA concept will work in Baku. All they need to do is adjust their business model to the local environment.