If you're lucky enough to live near an IKEA, then you know that it's the kind of place where you make a day of it.
IKEA stores are huge and a unique layout of showroom after showroom featuring thousands of products displayed in appealing ways. Once you've trekked through, there's the IKEA marketplace where you can actually buy most smaller things and the warehouse area where you grab the flat-pack, ready to assemble furniture in boxes.
But that twisty-turny, confusing layout can have you cursing IKEA and every vowel-heavy Swedish name of every item in the store if you are trying to get in and out quickly, or even backtrack to find something you forgot.
As it turns out, that sensory overload is totally intentional, not to mention monetarily strategic. Another way to look at it? IKEA is trying -- and, in most cases, succeeding -- in making you utterly crazy.
A British professor studied the IKEA marketplace area and believes that the confusing and distracting layout -- which includes multiple shortcuts and very few ways to visually orient yourself -- is designed specifically to keep you shopping.
If you're pretty sure you'll never find, say, those wineglasses or that lamp if you go back to look for it again ... you're going to pop that item right in your cart. And because everything is reasonably priced, it's easy to find yourself with a cart-full of bargains that add up to a hefty total.
This is really no surprise to anyone who's been to an IKEA. Add in the fact that the stores aren't exactly noted for terrific customer service and you understand why the experience can be so frustrating. But with child care, cheap and yummy meals in the cafe, and appealing design at good price, we still keep on coming back.
Image via Karl Baron(kalleboo)/Flickr