IKEA, I'm not in a wheelchair, so I understand you might not've noticed I'm mobility impaired. I walk with a cane, which is easily overlookable. But IKEA, one of my major problems is stenosis in my lower back, and I gotta tell you: You don't make it easy to visit your store. In fact, after the hellish amount of pain I experienced today, I won't be back. And that's a pity, IKEA, because I could become a very good, very regular customer.
First of all, those shiny, hard concrete floors? Yeah. Those. They make it hard for folks like me to spend any length of time on their feet in your store. And yeah, you have a couple of little benches outside your "OMG try all the furniture!" section. But the benches aren't very well placed, and there's nowhere to sit, in between.
Furthermore, the meandering, forced path through all your display areas might be fine for young, skinny, athletic yuppies to navigate, but for older folks like myself, with mobility issues? Oh, just fuck you, IKEA. Sideways. With a cactus. And no lube.
Even your "shortcuts" aren't particularly short. Marketing might deem your forced march (in which the customer keeps believing he's finally nearing the end of the nightmare, only to find that...surprise! there's suddenly another entire department, or warehouse, or hangar-sized checkout area that's suddenly appeared ahead) the best idea since someone rubbed two sticks together, but Marketing's apparently never had difficulty walking, or had to deal with excruciating back pain before. Or maybe they just don't think it's important to care about gimps. Because, after all, how much do we really contribute to your bottom line?
And, of course, trying to escape from you, IKEA, because, say, my back is screaming, and if I don't get out and to the car dammed soon, I'm not going to be able to walk at all, is a nightmare in itself. It's apparently inconceivable that someone might want to leave your store without buying anything, so everything funnels through the register stands. I wound-up having to push past a woman in a wheelchair, excusing myself constantly, through clenched teeth, as I could barely speak because of the pain. And then, of course, the checkout area exits to the loading dock, so there's a trek halfway across the parking lot, to get to the handicapped parking, where the car's waiting.
IKEA, I won't be back. I'd love to spend some major time in your store, especially in the kitchen section. I could easily drop a grand there, in an afternoon. But I won't be there because I can't stand the physical pain that visiting your store puts me through. Seriously: A direct, real, shortcut through the building for folks who have trouble walking. A few more places to sit — like, say, one in each department? And a way to get back out the front door, again for people who have trouble walking? You'd be golden. Even with those interminable hard, concrete floors.
I realize that mobility-impaired folks aren't trendy, and I'm not so young, nor so chic as you'd like your target audience to be. But dammit, IKEA, this is bullshit, and with your reputation for both brilliant use of space, not to mention your much vaunted efficiency, you should be doing better. And I shouldn't be unable to walk for six hours after I get home from bailing on a trip to your store because I just. Can't. Stand. The. Pain. Anymore.