Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ikea Småland

Did you know Ikea has a supervised play area for kids? Potty-trained children, heights 36 - 54 inches, can play in a secure play room while you shop. You check them in, and they can play in a ball pit, watch a movie, color pictures, or play with toys. The check in process is impeccably secure: you'll leave with a pager, an arm band, and a filled-out form that you'll need to retrieve your children. My kids love the chance to play, rather than being dragged through a store!
.
This arrangement has one unfortunate downfall: the time limit for children in Småland is 45 minutes. And Ikea is a huge place. The policy used to be 90 minutes, but it has recently changed. Unless you know exactly what you want, it's not enough time. I'd recommend either taking your children with you in the store and going to Småland once they are bored, or checking them in immediately and see how far you get. We hid our cart near the checkout line; retrieved the children; and they only had to wait in line with us.
.
Ikea does try to make things easier for parents. Most showrooms have little play kiosks, and they have hand wipes throughout the store. The Ikea restaurant has unbelievably inexpensive kids' meals, as well as $.99 breakfasts and $.50 hotdogs. Right after the check-out line you can get a vanilla frozen yogurt cone for $.99, a nice way to end a shopping day.

23 comments:

  1. Are you kidding me? That sounds great!

    I've never been to Ikea, and I wanted to go all summer. Maybe I'll have to make a trip soon, even though my boys are too old for the play room.

    I remember growing up in Lilburn. The Rich's at Northlake Mall had the same scenario, and my brother and I loved it when Mom would drop us off in there! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is great, Debbie - I think you'd like it! I've found some amazing deals there. It's not heirloom quality stuff, but it fills a need!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yesterday I put my 3 yrs old in Ikea Brooklyn Smaland. Less than 15 min after I checked her in, they call us back. We were informed my baby neede to go potty -which she does very well by herself- but they discovered her with pull-ups -and that's not allowed! Also it's not allowed for me to go inside & help her- so I decided go get her out. They refused, saying they're NOT going to release my child until a guard is coming! At that point I got really aggravated, as the situation turned into kidnapping: THEY WERE HOLDING MY CHILD AGAINST MY WILL! I could see my girl becoming very distressed on the other side of the fence, and the rudest worker actually HANDLING her arm brutally (AGAINST their rule), trying to get her in the bathroom. So I called 911. The workers got scared & released my baby right before police arrived. Bottom line -we spent over 1.5 hours with this, got my baby trembling with crying & fear, felt threatened, humiliated, my basic rights impaired. I never got any apologies. Those 3 female employees should be laid off for being unprofessional, rude & totally unprepared for working with kids or people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i work in a smaland and I just have to say that it's people like this that make my job so difficult. when I sign kids in, i ask "is she fully potty trained, no diaper, no pullup?" and if you don't tell me the truth then it's not my fault that you get called back down to pick them up. and then when you get there, you either weren't the person to sign them in, or you don't have the piece of paper proving that you did, SO I CANNOT GIVE THEM TO YOU. you getting aggravated at me is NOT worth my job. the only thing that i would actually agree with this woman on is the "handling" of the child because it is true that we aren't allowed to touch them like that and I don't know anyone who would risk their jobs by doing it right in front of a customer.

      Delete
    2. Late to the party here, but I agree with the IKEA employee here ... must be more to the story here - either with the mom or the employees. It certainly isn't usual behavior. I have seen many moms try to sneak their children in with pullups, a little too short, etc. If a child is fully potty trained and able to use it herself, she shouldn't be wearing a pull up, and in the event she was wearing one "just in case" she should still not be in Smaland if she is unable to close the restroom door and take care of business without help. The employees at Smaland are taking care of many children, and part of the "deal" is that they do not help with potty issues. I think that's fair. If they paged her, they obviously planned to hand her child over - something about her behavior or lack of proper ID (card or wristband, etc) must have spurred the opposite reaction. I doubt they tried to hold her child against her will out of spite or malice.

      Delete
  4. Wow! As the mother of 3 kids, 5 & under, I feel totally qualified to say "anonymous" overreacted BIG TIME. Prozac may help. There are rules everywhere saying pull-ups are not allowed, they even usually ask you when you check-in, this lady's "basic rights" would not have been impaired had she been honest.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hmmm... Not that we want to turn this blog into a treatise on IKEA conduct, but I'm really puzzled by "I decided go get her out. They refused, saying they're NOT going to release my child until a guard is coming!"

    Why would IKEA workers not release a child? Did Anonymous #1 leave his/her paperwork with the other half of "us" and the workers couldn't verify that they were releasing the child to a custodial parent? Were they calling a guard so that the parent could be "punished" somehow for sneaking in a Pull-Up clothed daughter?

    There's more to this story but I doubt we'll hear more back from Anonymous #1 about what really happened.

    For what it's worth, I love our IKEA; its Smaland has a 60-minute limit (last I checked a month or two ago) and it's a great place to take my daughters and give my wife a break. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Anonymous" is probably looking to pen a lawsuit agains IKEA for some quick "pull up" money. I personally LOVE IKEA and my 7 year old loves Smalland(it's still 60 min here in NJ) . I agree, she probably didn't have her half of the paperwork and pager they give you and just caused a huge scene. This post gave me a good laugh anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hmm..I also would like to know what exactly happened. Not understanding how the commentors are automatically defending Ikea. I like ikea too...but don't doubt that there are messed up people in the world and invariably, some of them will end up at ikea.

    If it was a paperwork issue, I would defend ikea..though I know if it were me and I saw someone manhandling my child, I couldn't give a flying flip about your paperwork and I am going to get my child. I'll stick around for the cops too just to make sure there is no other misunderstandings.

    ReplyDelete
  8. People blow things out of proportion. You probably lying to make yourself justified for what your were doing. You need a chill pill and understand they have we do it for the safety of the child. We dont keep your child anymore than we need to.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I actually work at the Ikea smaland, and if i had a penny for whenever a parent did not want to sign their half of the paper work (We release the child by signature) or turning in the pager i'd be a millionaire. Usually when we escort the child in the restroom it's because their either soaked with urine or dripping with poop, or even naked. We try to rush the child to the restroom, so i'm thinking that might have been the case. Also the guard is supposed to be there to supervise the woman to make sure she doesn't do anything harmful to the other children. But from what i notice, it's whenever the parent yells or makes a drastic scene, is what makes the child nervous because their watching their parents go bananas.

    ReplyDelete
  10. i'm completely sure that there is more to the story and we have always loved ikea's smaland but i must say that when we went recently, my three y/o who is totally and completely potty trained but prefers pull ups to undies was refused. I had undies in my purse but when i offered to change her the girl very rudely told me no and then pulled out the measuring stick. she measured my daughter and said that she was too short - which she wasn't. anyway - she was very rude to us but i downplayed the situation and left calmly. now even weeks later my daughter talks about the fact that she was: "too small for smaland" so it's become a family joke. i must say that ikea's customer service has gone WAY downhill since we first started going there years ago. I had a real frutsrating return situation so not thrilled with them.
    however, we were still able to make it a fun day and the food was great :-D

    ReplyDelete
  11. I also work in Smaland and I can say that everything we do- all the rules and regulations- are for the safety of your children. The guard Anonymous mentioned is a securty officer of the store who escorts everyone who is not cleared to work in Smaland into the room. This includes everyone from Housekeeping to Maintanance. The purpose of this is to ensure that no harm comes to the children. (Not to say that we assume any parent is a threat- it's simply a precaution.) It is a possibility that those coworkers would not release the child because 1.) Anonymous did not sign/have the paperwork, or 2.) Her child was not in a position to leave (unclothed/soiled). I have faced many parents who are frustrated and upset with this rule, but we have very strict guidlines that are meant to keep your children safe. If the situation was reversed, how would you feel if we allowed in another parent without supervision? I think Anonymous would have some reservations about that as well.

    I certainly can't speak for any other store, but in my store, none of the coworkers would ever lay a hand on the children. We can't hug them, we can't have them sit in our laps, we don't touch them at all. If a child needs help buttoning their pants or something, we have to make sure another coworker is watching us. If the coworker did manhandle a child, rest assured that that is not how we do things in Smaland and I am sure that appropriate action was taken.

    As far as the potty-training thing goes, if we know your child has been wearing a pull-up or diaper that day, we are not allowed to let them come play in Smaland. Our reasoning is that if you think they might have an accident, we have to believe that they might have an accident as well. It is a rule per board of health. Also, if a child is wearing a pull-up or diaper, he or she might think that it is okay to have an accident. Accidents do happen, of course, but if a child were to have an accident in the ball-pit, we have to close it. This limits the amount of children who are allowed to play in Smaland, disappoints those who wanted to play there, and is costly and time-consuming to clean up.

    The reason we're so strict about the height requirement is because the room is designed for children who are in a certain range and it would not be safe for children who are too small or too tall to play in there. Smaland is a part of the store where there are absolutely no exceptions made because we have to be sure that everyone who is under our care is safe. One of our beliefs as a company is that children are the most important people in the world, and so it is very important to us to keep the kids safe. That is why there are so many rules and regulations, and why we are so strict when it comes to them.

    I completely understand the frustrations and complaints people have against our system, but at the end of the day, we're trying to provide a free, safe, fun place for children to play that allows their parents/guardians to have at least a little time to do what they need to. Reading the positive feedback left here has reaffirmed that the kids do have fun.

    I hope that those who have had negative experiences with Smaland have better ones in the future, and that those who enjoy our service continue to do so. As I said, I can't speak for everyone, but as a Smaland coworker, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the store. My job is fun and rewarding, even if it is a little stressful sometimes. I hope I've cleared some things up. Also, we have computerized surveys throughout the store called HUTIs, so if you have a complaint/compliment/question, feel free to let us know!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've also experienced a very frustrating experience at Ikea over the past weekend. As stated previously, Smaland does indeed have "strict rules and regulations", but the Ikea staff does not follow their own rules and regulations. I brought my son to Ikea, he was rejected because he "didn't look like he was 37 inches". Although, he measured 37 inches on their measure tape. I questioned why their "perception" has any bearing when he's clearly above 37" (and passes the written rules). But they then indicated that the 37" is a measurement from the BACK of head, and not from the top of the head. That's the most ridiculous reason I've ever heard. After talking to her manager, he also indicated that although he's 37", he clearly doesn't "look" like 37", so they can't let him in. I can't believe they would reject my son based on this "unwritten" rule of "discretionary of the staff behind the counter". And to make the matter worse, the manager would support this twisted logic presented by his staff (who in their right mind measures height from the back of the head anyways!?).

    Not to mention, upon requesting to speak to the manager of the manager, he lied to me indicating that he was the highest ranking manager at the store (which I found that it's not case after talking to another staff). The motto at Ikea is, treat your customers like they're idiots, if they insist, then lie to them.

    Needless to say, I filed an official complaint, but judging from the corporate culture of Ikea, I'm not too confident that complaints will be handled in a profession manner.

    It takes years to build customer confidence and satisfaction, but it only takes one incident to lose it all. I for one would not be shopping at Ikea given the way they handle their customers.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've also experienced a very frustrating experience at Ikea over the past weekend. As stated previously, Smaland does indeed have "strict rules and regulations", but the Ikea staff does not follow their own rules and regulations. I brought my son to Ikea, he was rejected because he "didn't look like he was 37 inches". Although, he measured 37 inches on their measure tape. I questioned why their "perception" has any bearing when he's clearly above 37" (and passes the written rules). But they then indicated that the 37" is a measurement from the BACK of head, and not from the top of the head. That's the most ridiculous reason I've ever heard. After talking to her manager, he also indicated that although he's 37", he clearly doesn't "look" like 37", so they can't let him in. I can't believe they would reject my son based on this "unwritten" rule of "discretionary of the staff behind the counter". And to make the matter worse, the manager would support this twisted logic presented by his staff (who in their right mind measures height from the back of the head anyways!?).

    Not to mention, upon requesting to speak to the manager of the manager, he lied to me indicating that he was the highest ranking manager at the store (which I found that it's not case after talking to another staff). The motto at Ikea is, treat your customers like they're idiots, if they insist, then lie to them.

    Needless to say, I filed an official complaint, but judging from the corporate culture of Ikea, I'm not too confident that complaints will be handled in a profession manner.

    It takes years to build customer confidence and satisfaction, but it only takes one incident to lose it all. I for one would not be shopping at Ikea given the way they handle their customers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi everyone, I just got home from Ikea and I feel very discriminated how the stuff treated me and my kids at Smaland.My girls played only twice there, but they loved that so much.Today I promised they can have fun there, but the staff said one of my daughter is banned to get in because last time she was upset.This was a shocking information, because they had a very good time last time ,and they stayed exactly one hour there.If she were upset, why did not called me earlier with the buzzer?She was totally happy when I picked her up.
      When I said to the staff, why did they say this ban thing for me ,she said: I was not here that, but she banned.Thats it.

      My poor girl( she's 3.5 years old) was so upset, she cried ,and still does not understand why this humiliating thing happened with us.This is a big shame on you Ikea !Here in Australia ,they say kids are first all above and never alloved to hurt them physically-then my question is :how can this heartless person hurt mentaly my little girl???

      Delete
    2. Another interesting question:if my girl was upset, how long was she inside like this?Nobody told me that she was upset right than.It means better to avoid this playground,because the unprofessional stuff let the kids suffering without letting the parents to know-but I am sure, this is just an excuse to refuse to let my kids in.This is kind of discrimination against innocent people.

      Delete
  14. subscribe to an IKEA family card and get 30 minutes extra in smaland!

    ReplyDelete
  15. you drop your kids off to smaland for a FREE hour of fun, they have fun, you relax getting rid of your kids. if you don't like or agree with their policies, don't go there. The reason why they have all of these rules is because of nutcases like you, whose children get hurt and then they sue ikea...thats why they have rules to protect the company from lawsuits.

    ReplyDelete
  16. In the event you could e-mail me with a number of ideas on
    just the way you made your weblog look this excellent, I might be grateful.


    Feel free to surf to my webpage; trying to conceive tips

    ReplyDelete
  17. I was there 3 days ago .. wanted to leave my two kids there... they refused to receive the kids as they couldn't speak English or French..The kids were eally disappointed...

    ReplyDelete
  18. Our ikea in germany doesn't have any height rules.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I work in ikea canada and our rules are much like the ones in the one in two states how ever the smaland I open for everyone to see. We have windows and sight that indicate the rules. And we have streamline the process so that when parents are cashing out and the pager goes off, all they have to do is tell the cashier to call smaland and have the kid get ready for pickup. And if the parent is still shopping, just tell the nearest employee. We all have phones on us and the number to every department in the store. Just a tip from an employee.

    ReplyDelete