Home & Living

Ikea Delivery Nightmare: The Business Rationale For Subpar Front-Door Service

08/23/2013 03:27pm ET | Updated October 23, 2013
COVINA, CA - OCTOBER 19: (Editorial Use Only) IKEA customers line up to see television host Lisa Ling and the IKEA Life Improvement Squad kick off the third year of IKEA's Life Improvement Project, which helps customers make a positive impact on their homes and their lives within at IKEA on October 19, 2012 in Covina, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for IKEA)

It all started because I wanted the Nelson Swag Leg Desk. Not a new, licensed reproduction--I wanted the scuffed-up, 1960-vintage Nelson Swag Leg Desk I found on eBay. It seemed to me mostly irrelevant that I could not afford the Nelson Swag Leg Desk. But my husband suggested a budgetary adjustment: Instead of pairing the Nelson Swag Leg Desk with pricey custom-built bookshelves as planned, we could economize with a jumbo set of Ikea's Billy bookcases, which fit the appointed space almost to the centimeter. At first, I resisted this financially expedient arranged marriage of a modern-design icon to a prosaic dorm-room staple that I associated with beer pong and Gustav Klimt's The Kiss. Eventually, though, I started talking myself into the compromise. I tried to think of it as a chic high-low flourish, like Anna Wintour pairing couture with jeans on her first Vogue cover, or Mike D plonking a Target pouf smack in the middle of his otherwise ultra-customized Brooklyn townhouse. Or something.