Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Paramus, and can this be?

I'm at the IKEA in Paramus, New Jersey. I buy another basic "Billy" bookcase, having once again run out of space for all those volumes I honestly, honestly mean to read before I'd ever dream of handing over my credit card once again to Patrick in Arcade, our local bookstore, I promise, and this time I really mean it.

Trundle the 86-pound package into the parking lot and feel a back muscle go as I stuff it single-handedly into the back of the Sierra. But I struggle back into the building again, feeling the call of a Swedish cinnamon bun before I hit Route 4 back to the George Washington Bridge. And I pass a display that shows the bookcase I thought I bought, on sale for $49.99. I check my receipt. I paid $69.99.

Off to Customer Service, where a scowling young woman explains long-sufferingly that I actually bought something quite different. The sale item is 31 1/2 inches wide and 79 1/2 inches high. But my bookcase, according to her computer, is 32 inches wide and 80 inches high. (And what bothers me is that she seems to have no clue that these dimensions are virtually the same, even when I point it out. The numbers aren't the same, so I must have screwed up and chosen an entirely different product.)

Now my theory is that these are the same sizes in metric, and the rounding is just a little different, because IKEA has no concept of adjusting its manufacturing standards for its biggest market. Yeah, perhaps it's a petulant Swedish attempt to drag the US into the twentieth century, but if the shame of being the only nation other than Myanmar not to have adopted the metric system hasn't worked, I don't think the land of ABBA's going to make a dent in our resolve. These bookcases are made in Canada for God's sake, they're used to dealing with us.

So I go back to the car, unload again (noticing as I do that the package says the contents are actually 31 1/2 x 79 1/2), take it to the same customer service representative who credits my card with $69.99, still treating me as if I'm the idiot, go back into the store, get the identical product from a different spot in the racks, buy it for $20 less (a whopping 28% discount), and struggle back to the car.

The customer is always right, he just doesn't always get to feel that way.

P.S. Lodged my cinnamon bun on the front seat of the car while I loaded the replacement bookcase, my back now really hurting. The bun flipped over, but I righted it fairly quickly.

So which would you be more concerned about? A patch of sticky icing on the front seat? Or upholstery fibers on the bun?

1 comment:

  1. I would be most concerned about pulled back muscles. Do update and let us know you're alright? (Also, enjoy the bun, whether or not there are stray upholstery fibers on it. Those buns are not to be wasted...)