IKEA is a magical place that everyone visits at least once in their lifetime. And every magical place and retailer is full of its own secrets. Sometimes, those secrets are never revealed, but other times, we’re lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into places we love to shop the most.
Here are some IKEA secrets that employees were gracious enough to share.
1. There are secret shortcuts everywhere
In an Reddit AMA (an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A forum), one IKEA manager pointed out a pretty open secret: there are shortcuts we don’t even notice. We all know to look for those open doorways between sections if you need to get from bedding to office furniture quickly, but apparently, there are actual doors that lead to different departments. On the maps available all over the store, doorways are indicated to let you know how to move the most efficiently through the store. You can be in and out without getting distracted!
2. The backsplashes are expensive for a reason
Going to IKEA usually means you have certain price expectations on what you’re buying — but the kitchen backsplashes are a different story. Often pricier than the average item, the reason that those gorgeous tiles are so expensive is because they are the only product not mass-produced for IKEA. In fact, kitchen and bathroom backsplashes are custom made for IKEA from a third-party seller!
3. Yes, it’s okay if you take a nap while shopping
In fact, they kind of encourage it. IKEA is meant to be a place you not only spend a lot of time in, but also a lot of money. Sitting to relax and try out furniture is part of the deal, right? Well, if you happen to nod off, no one is going to stop you and wake you up —unless it’s closing time! In fact, a manager said that a store in Shanghai has turned into a place for long-haul workers to stop and take a nap before continuing their journeys home. Sleep away!
4. Everything on the floor was built by an employee
One IKEA employee revealed that all sales people are actually trained to build every piece of furniture there. In addition to that, they also build all the furniture you see on the floors of your local IKEA — so much for show pieces! Even the furniture you find in the As-Is section is built by the employees there.
5. IKEA loses money on products all the time
Part of their complex marketing strategy involves taking strategic losses to ensure long-term success. One example is the twice-yearly sales they do — aka, the most magical times of the year. Many items are marked down just so IKEA can get rid of them. And, if an item is marked “last chance,” odds are you’re getting a deal so good that IKEA is losing money by selling it to you. Aside from the yearly sales, some pieces are so cheap that they continually lose money. LACK coffee tables are a good example. (Where else can you find a $10 coffee table?)
6. The walls move
You’d think that the walls that make up the divisions between departments, as well as the staged rooms inside, would be locked down, but they’re actually not! The modular walls can be unlocked and moved at a moment’s notice, including under emergency conditions. In fact, the “maze” of IKEA is designed to allow all areas to access emergency exits immediately.
7. The bins are stocked high for a reason
Ever marvel at how big and full the IKEA bins are, especially on the bottom floor? Well, that’s all done purposefully. It’s a technique called “bulla bulla,” which basically gives us shoppers the idea of excess. See a ton of something? Your brain tells you that those things must be cheap then, and therefore you might want it. IKEA refers to that area as the “Open Wallet” section —you’re more likely to reach into that bin and open your wallet for whatever is inside.
8. The employees are trained to leave you alone
Part of the reason you’re free to wander through IKEA with little pressure is because the employees don’t hound you. Rather than ask if you need anything, it’s up to you to find them and ask them for help. Since IKEA employees aren’t exactly hard to find, this helps them know exactly what you need help with, and leaves you to your own shopping devices until you’re ready to get some assistance.
Featured Image: Instagram/@kkkamyin