Annoyed with @IKEAUK today

I have been told I am mad to go to IKEA any weekend. I have been told I was mad to go to IKEA, full, stop. But Sandra is not well and needed my help so I agreed to go with her to IKEA.

I was not keen as last time we went to IKEA was to Wembley and the whole trip was 5 hours due to some horrid traffic and weather.

This time we went to Southampton. Slightly longer forecast journey time of a little over an hour, but it did not allow for the second hour taken getting from 0.9 miles to 0 miles which was essentially the queue to get in to car parks in West Quay.

Finally in to the car park we could go to level 0 or higher levels, and there were numbers of spaces. I do not recall the exact numbers but both in the 20's I think. I do recall it was a close choice, and so we went in to level 0.

We immediately realise there were no spaces. Well, actually, there was one that was half blocked by a van, two spaces for car chargers, and two that were coned off for no apparent reason. Even the disabled and pushchair spaces were occupied. We went around and around for 10 minutes or so after a very long journey.

Eventually, while Sandra waited for someone that was waiting for someone that was leaving, I walked around and found that the coned spaces were no longer coned off - yay! Normal clear parking spaces, and she came around and was going to drive in to the one remaining space.

I was met with some abuse by someone that was expecting a van to park, advising that this space was for a van. That there was nowhere else for a van to park(?), and we had to move on. Now, obviously I was arguing, no way if I was driving would I not have simply parked in the un-marked, un-restricted parking space for which I had been waiting over 10 minutes. Sadly, Sandra drove off. It seems she thought clamping cars was still legal. We found a space a few minutes later, but the whole trip was marred by the experience.

I called IKEA, and still have not had a proper explanation of why these unmarked spaces are reserved for vans.

I'd like an official answer - if these are reserved spaces, why are they not marked as such?

If we had parked, what would have happened? I am told we would be asked to move, so what if we had said no, or rather "yes, when we have finished shopping"? Clamping is not legal. Parking in marked bays is within the terms and conditions. I cannot see that legally there could have been any recourse at all.

What makes that van, AU64 NYS, special? Why do they have a right to park before me and my wife exactly? IKEA, I await your reply. I appreciate "car size" is not a protected discriminatory factor, but I do feel I have a right to an answer on this.

I also want to know why your signs lie about the number of spaces available.

P.S. Round trip was 5 hours and 7 minutes. Will be better when IKEA Reading open (if we ever shop there?) - let's hope that is under 3 hours.


  1. I did wonder if that big blue building by the m4 I spotted this weekend was going to be an IKEA - is that the case? Looked like the IKEA blue.

  2. At a guess, they bought something they couldn't fit iton their car and had to rent a van, and had staff (or somebody) cone off a space so they could get the van straight in and not have to stand around with their purchases even longer.

    The parking was equally bad when I was there too - I think at least two spaces in that area were unusable, plus another because somebody brought their motorhome along which overhung two spaces!

    From what I could see the problem was people blocking the ramp while queuing to get a space at the first floor, when the other floors had PLENTY of spaces. I think the parking space indicator is complete fantasy... quite why such a busy place doesn't have occupancy sensors I do not know...

    1. In Japan, where I live, there would be plenty of parking attendants in such a situation, guiding the cars to the free spaces.

      I don't know why the UK (where I lived for 16 years) has become so screwed up: incompetent planning, incompetent execution, don't-give-a-damn attitude, etc. Maybe it has something to do with the decline in education, where outrage ensues about an A-level question about the optimal route of a crocodile traversing water and land, and everybody gets a degree in media studies or international relations, but nobody knows how to calculate the number of parking spaces for a shopping centre. Hell, I learned how to that at school (in Germany).

  3. They have a website, why wouldn't you just order stuff online for delivery.

    1. Sadly a sequence of events meant we suddenly needed a chest of drawers today. Complicated.

    2. Last time I checked a year ago IKEA wouldn't do online ordering, or rather would but you still had to go there in person to collect it. Which destroys most of the point of online ordering.

  4. I guess it was probably a van operated by Southampton IKEAs' home delivery contractor. At the Nottingham store they have a dedicated loading dock; given the location of the Southampton store (in a shopping centre) that is probably the best IKEA can do to accommodate them. :-(

    1. There's a separate delivery / pickup / loading area under the store but it doesn't include "parking", so anyone coming in a van to go round the store has to find a space in level 0.

      We almost always head straight up to level 4. it might be open air but it's usually got some spaces and you're straight in the entrance.

  5. The road to West Quay is a nightmare. When we do go - and we do, just not often - we try to be there for when the doors open, to avoid the traffic. Definitely not convenient for everyone, but seems to have worked so far for us.

  6. Did they perhaps reserve space on the ground floor for vans because they can't get up (or down) the ramps? (Consider the geometry.)

    You mention a threat of clamping but who actually threatened it?

    Frankly if you go to Ikea on a Sunday you ... well...

    I'll let you into a secret. Get there at 10am when they open for viewing. There are about 20% of the customers that will be there an hour later. You sort out what you want and get a position at the tills, which won't be open until 11. Get coffee or whatever and get out just as the floodgates open.

    Did you try the meatballs?

  7. Vans/high vehicles cannot go to any floor other than 0 which may explain why they thought you could go elsewhere. Also, those space remaining counters always seem to be totally inaccurate.

  8. A couple of rather random comments:

    - Out of town shopping centres are frequently beset with parking issues. It is incomprehensible to me how the so called planning and traffic "experts" can get it so wrong. In my line of business, such incompetence would result in financial liability and loss of customers.

    - The parking area is most likely not managed by Ikea, but a contractor, so your complaint to Ikea may not get beyond that statement.

    - It strikes me that two people spending 5 hours to obtain a chest of drawers immediately, as a opposed to spending 5 minutes to order it online and have it 24-48 hours later, is a poor allocation of resources, for which I cannot fathom any rational reason. That said, if there really was a valid reason to have the item immediately, a local furniture retailer may have been the better choice, and the likely price premium paid would have been well worth the saved time and aggravation.

    1. I believe the next day delivery service is only available in store and only for items that you've collected and paid for already.

      Online purchases have an agreed delivery date that is usually a week or more in the future.

    2. IIRC It's managed by Symonds Hydroclean or something similar. It took me ages to work out, including a call to my credit card provider, the first time I paid there by card as I couldn't reconcile the company on my CC bill with anyone I'd done business with.

  9. When we were trying to park in it, it was *NOT* coned off.

  10. Indeed, but if we have complied with the published terms and conditions, and then are refused access to the car park or store, I would sure for a liability in tort for my time and costs based on their falsely advertising that the store is open to customers. I would also contact the press about it.

    You cannot go around pissing off customers like that and not expect consequences.

    It would not have been complicated to put up clear signage of reserved spaces as done for electric car charging, disabled, and pushchair access spaces.

  11. > if we have complied with the published terms and conditions, and then are refused access to the car park or store, I would sure for a liability in tort for my time and costs


  12. Ikea Milton Keynes isn't too bad in my experience. But going to any Ikea at the weekend is indeed a test of any marriage. Absolutely better to go mid-week.


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