An IKEA Store along Alexandra Road in Queenstown, Singapore. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When we first moved to the area a year and a half ago, we’d been married over a year and were still sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Since that wasn’t really our longterm plan, we decided it was probably time to buy some furniture. We love do-it-yourself options, so after doing some research and finding one close by, we settled on IKEA as a reasonable option for basic, just-getting-started furniture.
This decision meant that one fine Saturday morning, we drove down to our local IKEA, and, after admiring the cool displays and agonizing over what to buy… we left with nothing because we couldn’t bear to spend the money. (Seriously, this is our modus operandi–plan all the cool things we’re going to buy and then leave with nothing but the money in our wallets.)
But have no fear! After talking it over more at home and doing more research, we finally decided for sure what we wanted to buy and went back armed with a list, the secret to frugal shopping. And then, I kid you not, due to IKEA’s amazingly compact packaging and my willingness to drive home with the seat as far forward as it would go, we stuffed our queen-sized bed (which I love), a double loft bed for the guest room, and two nightstands (similar to this one) into the back of our Honda Civic (not a big car, folks), and actually made it home alive.
Fast forward to this February when IKEA hosted an event called BYOF (Bring Your Own Friend) Day. We had recently moved into our new house and were looking for a few items to flesh out our still-anemic furniture collection, and IKEA was giving away free items for visiting their store; all you had to do was print out the coupons and bring a friend with you. Now, Jordan will tell you, the word “free” and I have a special relationship. I mean, we are tight. So when I saw the promise of free breakfast, free lunch, and free big, blue IKEA tote bags, I was sold. I was willing to fight the madding crowds to get in on the deal. Besides, we needed the furniture anyway, and since we’re best friends, the “bring a friend” bit was easily solved, too. (Is that cheating? I’d like to think not.)
So we braved the crowds. And we braved the IKEA employees asking customers to answer a survey. I tried to avoid them, but we were finally flagged down, and being the non-confrontational person that I am, I sat down to answer their questions.
Turns out they were “trying to get to know customers better” and looking for some families who would let them do a home visit where they would look at the home, take some measurements, and get ideas for future store sets. I didn’t think much more about it after that, thinking they probably wouldn’t pick us, but then last month I got a phone call saying we’d been selected for an IKEA home visit. And in return for our hospitality, we’d get a free $100 IKEA gift card. (Did I mention how I feel about the word “free”?)
So this past Monday, three nice young people invaded our home, asked us lots of questions about our living arrangements, measured some rooms, took pictures of our house and yard, gave us $100, and left. The nicest young people I’ve ever met. 😉
And now I get to the dilemma: how to use our new-found wealth. Jordan has been eying this chair since the first time we visited IKEA, but we’ve also been in the market for a storage solution for our book habit. Decisions, decisions.
What would you do if you’d been given $100 to spend at IKEA? Spend it on something fun? Something practical? Let me know in the comments–who knows, you just might influence our decision!