Tonight I went to the IKEA store here in Jeddah. The main reason for going there was for kjøttboller (meatballs) and to check out the furniture and knick knacks. I like IKEA. I like their furnishings, the simple style of them and I particularly like their knick knacks.
I have been to IKEA stores in Australia, England, China and now Saudi Arabia. The Jeddah store is by far the worst IKEA store I have been to, one that is not really true to the spirit that is IKEA. I am not talking about the stupidity that is the segregated eating area (families in one area, bachelors in another) – especially as just across the road is the Megamall which has mixed seating in the food court on the top floor – but rather I am talking about the service levels and customer treatment in the store.
The bachelor eating area is small – 6 tables wide by 4 rows deep. The 3 table width to the left is a smoking area, to the right, a non-smoking area. Better not to try and segregate the smokers and non-smokers at all as the smokers just sat where they felt like and IKEA staff would not do anything. Better to ban smoking outright from in the store, after all, there are children present in large numbers and I did think that IKEA had a social conscience.
The store itself was laid out like all other IKEA stores, just smaller because it was in Jeddah. Maybe the Riyadh store is bigger. There were many things not displayed, near as I could see, because of the smaller size. When shopping though there were catalogues available with a note on the red/blue plastic covers that these were for use in the store. The covers noted that there were copies available in customer service on the way out. There were not. They were out of stock.
The only positive thing I could say about the trip to IKEA here was that the kjøttboller tasted the same as in every other IKEA store. However, it was not a pleasant experience eating there, or indeed shopping there. I really hope that IKEA senior management take a trip there and have a look at the absolutely worst IKEA store in the world.