When my wife and I first visited the supersize Ikea in Red Hook, Brooklyn, in 2008, we didn’t take time to stop for the lingonberry jam or meatballs. Soon after we walked in, we just wanted to leave. We realized that the place was a crowded, labyrinthine mess lacking the adequate amount of staff to help us chose between the Ekby Hensvik and the Ekby Bjarnum. We left angry and exhausted, and we swore — for the sake of our marriage — never to return. Ikea, I thought, was just like WalMart or countless other big-box retailers that seemed to have embraced a Faustian bargain with their customers. The chains would sell absurdly inexpensive stuff — like a Lovbacken coffee table for $60 — but as a consequence, customers would have to put up with huge stores manned by small, often unhappy and unhelpful staffs.
Read the full article