At IKEA, 'In Stock' Doesn't Mean 'We'll Actually Get It Down For You'

Michael wanted to drop $600 on a pair of wardrobes from IKEA, and even called ahead before driving out to the store to make sure the items were there. When he arrived, though, he learned that “in stock” doesn’t actually mean “you can purchase it today,” because someone would have to get a new pallet of wardrobes down from an upper level of the warehouse. That wasn’t going to happen: a warehouse manager told Michael that they’d rather lose Michael’s business rather than risk the safety of employees. While this emphasis on worker safety is refreshing, Michael thinks it’s unfair.

During my shopping trip today to IKEA of [redacted] I was extremely dissatisfied with the service I received. I have made two dedicated trips to IKEA to purchase a pair of PAX wardrobes (a $600+ purchase). During my first the PAX wardrobes were out of stock. The IKEA employee in the warehouse area was very kind and helpful and informed me the wardrobes would be back in stock the next day. Unfortunately, I was not able to return to IKEA until today. After first calling to verify the inventory (22 in stock) I made the 30 minute drive to IKEA to purchase the PAX system. After making it to the IKEA warehouse, I soon realized the boxes that I needed were out of stock on the base level, but a new pallet of the wardrobes were stocked on the second level. I requested assistance from the warehouse employee but was told that “it is against IKEA policy to bring down stock during store hours”.

I thought to myself, surely this could not be correct. I have seen many warehouse stores restock shelves during business hours. In fact I have restocked shelves during business hours using a drivable lift during my employment at Best Buy. So, I requested to talk to the manager. [redacted], the warehouse manager came to talk to me about the situation. [redacted] again informed me he could not bring the inventory to the accessible level. At one point [redacted] informed me that IKEA is willing to “lose my business rather than put his employees at risk”.

I can still not understand how IKEA’s employees would be at risk by closing 1 aisle to perform the task of restocking merchandise, which I am sure that they are trained to do. I can say that surely [the warehouse manager] was correct in the fact that IKEA will lose my business. It is tough for me to convince myself to support a business that is not customer centric.

Update: Thanks to commenter sadie kate, who pointed out that this dilemma sounds familiar.