Beijing's Mamouth IKEA - Not all that it's cracked up to be!

Contents Beijing IKEA Photos Originally uploaded by chrisdrum.

A few of my loyal readers have complained that I haven’t been ranting lately. You want a rant, here is one. First, on with the good stuff… Sure, IKEA is great. We spent about US$100 on our first trip there last night. The new location, which opened in April, is 3 or 4 times as large? Here is a list of the positives:

  • Free covered parking in same building (3 underground levels)
  • More stuff! My favorite section - Kitchen Ware - has a ton more goodies.
  • Swedish Food Market - we’ll be having Swedish Meatballs for dinner later this week.
  • Closer to home and my office than the old location.

Now, here is the rant… Here is a list of the negatives:

  • They charge you for bags. Yes. Plastic bags. Yes, I know. How crappy is that? 1 RMB for a large one, 0.5 RMB for a small one. Free parking, but they charge you for a bag?!?!
  • Limited English signage! When I came to Beijing in 2003, and I went to the IKEA here (the old, smaller location), I was impressed. Almost every item had two tags explaining what it was. One in Chinese, one in English. All signs were bilingual and easy to read. Now, Just about zero of the items have English tags. All signs have big Chinese characters in white on a blue background (easy to read), and very small English words in dark grey (on a blue background). Thanks, IKEA. Guess us stupid foreigners who can’t read Chinese characters aren’t part of your target audience. I have money, don’t you want it?

All in all, my experience at the new IKEA was neutral. Great stuff, but just a few things that ticked me off. I’ll go back, but I’ll still be ticked off in the process…