IKEA opened its first store in India at Hyderabad on August 9th. *Lame Proud Moment*
Needless to say, I was one among the THOUSANDS that was awaiting this moment with bated breath. Okay, perhaps I went slightly beyond just the anticipation. When IKEA decided to postpone their initial launch from the 20th July, I was devastated. I locked myself in my room and added another 20 days to the calendar, feeling heartbroken. Imagine Samara from ‘The Ring’. That was me.
But life moves on, and eventually the days actually passed by pretty quickly as I immersed myself in the routine.
9th August, 2018
Then came the opening day. Sadly for me, it was a Thursday which meant I could not go. Because I am a grown up with responsibilities. *Sigh* That was a big blow to my happiness, to be honest. But I waited, trying not to listen to the numerous stories about IKEA that everyone had to tell me. That night, as I sat in a 3 hour long traffic jam to go home, I decided it was time to take matter into my own hands. I applied for leave (I hope my manager isn’t reading this!) and set the clock to 7 AM the next morning. It was settled. I HAD to go.
10th August, 2018
I started off at 9 AM after spending the entire morning chasing my mother and sister outside the house. We wanted to be there early so we didn’t drown in the humongous crowds. Well, thankfully, our plan worked and we were among the first hundred people waiting at the gates for the ‘shopping palace’ to open at 10 AM.
The anticipation was unbearable. As the clock struck 10:05, I was about to break into a sweat when I noticed they were finally letting us enter. Gulping down happy tears, we then made our way into what can only be termed as the LONGEST maze of our lives. After walking through the zig-zagged barricades for eternity and then feasting our eyes on the ‘actual’ entrance, we were overjoyed. From this step on, here is how the whole journey went.
Time: 1 Hour
We were led to the first floor which is the area that has the showroom containing readily set-up furniture and decor. After collecting our cloth bags, pencils and notepads / direction guides, we entered the gorgeous segments. The best part was how these settings were structured. You have 11 sections in total, such as Living Room, Dining Room, Bedroom and so on. For example, the living room contains around 4 – 5 different settings of how your living room could look – with book cases, couches, etc.
So, the whole concept is divided into four steps.
- Walk into each setting and look around at all the decor
- If you like something you see, search for the price tag attached to it
- Take images of the tag on your phone
- Pick them up from the marketplace / self-service section on the ground floor (explained later in this article)
Be warned that this will take you a few hours to complete as you go from one segment to another, taking images, talking to various staff, gaining more perspective and discussing potential objects with whoever has accompanied you. At any point, if you get exhausted, you can always go back out towards the restaurant (explained below) that is on the same floor.
Time: 3 Hours
Recommendation: Bedroom Section
The IKEA restaurant is beautiful. It is the first time I’ve seen this ‘supermarket’ style concept for a restaurant in Hyderabad. The idea here is that you need to pick up your trays, your food and you glasses (for beverages – hot and cold) and then make your payment at cash counters. After this, you take your empty glasses, go over to the fountain drinks section and enjoy the unlimited refills. There are vegetarian and non-vegetarian options as well as continental food that will surely not disappoint.
Time: 1 Hour
Recommendation: Coffee, Bread Varieties
Now it’s time to get back on your feet!
You will need to take the MASSIVE lifts and go down to the ground floor. Then, exchange your cloth bags for trolleys and then you will be led into partitions 13 through 27. You may think you don’t need a trolley. Well, think again. This marketplace is where you will be able to pick up every item (excepting furniture) that you saw on the first floor within the showroom. Once again, this is structured into segments such as ‘Home Organization’, ‘Decoration’, ‘Lighting’, ‘Fabrics’ and so on. You’ll find a lot more variety, colours and options as you go through each of these sections. At 23, the marketplace ends and if you look down at your trolley, you will find a heap of items that you never intended on buying!
Time: 2 – 3 Hours
Recommendation: Lighting, Outdoor Furniture
Finally, the furniture. Everything is flat-packed in cardboard boxes in aisles and racks. If searching for your items seems difficult to you, just walk over to the computers set up at the centre of each room and type in the codes. From here, you can add the products to cart, take a print of the items you want and have someone assist you with finding these items. Alternatively, you can also walk over to the information desk, give them your printout and ask for the products to be delivered to you. At a cost, of course. But worth it, in my opinion!
Time: 1 Hour
Recommendation: The Online Purchase Option!
Billing Counter and Beyond!
There are multiple billing counters with IKEA paper bags too. Just get your products billed, make the payment and push the trolley out. But wait! There’s more. You can also check out the IKEA Cafe and get yourself some really economic treats while you rest your aching feet.
Recommendation: Yogurt Ice Cream
You also have additional services like refund counters – with a 60 day refund policy, delivery counters and collection counters – for self serve items.
To Sum Up
IKEA will take you on a wonderful experience and convert ‘shopping’ into a complete day’s event. The staff is very helpful, friendly and will guide you through any issues you may have. The entire store is extremely spacious and even with weekend crowds, it doesn’t feel suffocating. There are easily accessible and well-maintained washrooms that you can use whenever you need to. Plus, there is also a play area for children too! Also, parking is spacious.
I absolutely LOVED visiting IKEA and despite blowing nearly half my month’s salary there, I don’t regret a single minute or rupee. Definitely do go visit, for the experience, if not for anything else.
Final recommendation: Go around 9:30 AM and do NOT go after lunch, at least for the next couple of weeks. The enjoyment will be lost in such heavy crowds.