The fact that I know all the hotline menu options by heart must be a good indication of how efficient it is. But it's a longish story so no spoilers, I'll start at a beginning.
Disclaimer: this is not complaining. (I've been doing that long enough, an I hate doing it, believe me!) It's just to warn those that go on their bedhunt or sofachase tomorrow.
We live in Geneva (surprise, surprise! =]) so after a bit of field research we decided to buy the bigger items of our furniture at IKEA ("á... Aubonne" -- OK, I can't stop that now. If you've ever called the hotline you'll know what I mean). I'm not saying it was a bad idea, I have more time than money so I still think it was worth it, although I could really do without the complications. Actually I quite like the style of IKEA -- and I'm not thinking of plastic tools in all colors of the rainbow. The more expensive stuff they have (e.g. real wood furniture and fine decorating elements) is of rather good quality and looks really stylish. That is, if you put it together right and provided you get what you order.... Well, we had most of our problems with the latter. So, based on my month long experience (never had problems with IKEA back in Hungary...), here are some ground rules:
1) Check for all the stuff here. Prices, availability, etc. Most of the time it's accurate =D
2) If you don't have a car big enough, call them here at least 5 days before your planned excursion to rent a van. Actually it's really not expensive, like CHF 20-35 an hour (I don't remember exactly) and CHF 100 for the night (5 pm. - 11 am.; if you rent one on Saturday the'll take it back on Monday; a good number of kms included, we did it in 100 kms, which was the limit included in the nightly fee). The only thing I didn't like was that we had to take the van back, and return to Geneva by train. But if you can leave your car there, it should be fine.
3) There are other options like home delivery (4-6 weeks, yes, I know!) and so-called furniture taxis -- but the van's jus the cheapest and fastest solution.
4) Take into account that Tuesday is their least busy day and any morning during the week is quite comfortable. Sunday early afternoon is a nightmare (lots of tired kids, lots of tired parents, lots of people) and it only gets worse towards the closing hours. So good luck! =D Don't expect to spend your Saturday shopping away nicely. But if you're determined and keep the browsing to a minimum, you'll be fine. Just try not to take your kids if you're planning a longer visit. I couldn't see any enjoying the experience, although IKEA's tried its best setting up touch screen drawing boards and such distractions.
5) Check the item numbers, etc. Sometimes shop staff can misunderstand you (even in French... or even more so =D) and give you the wrong size/color/item.
6) Don't be surprised if opening the package there's something missing/extra/that doesn't fit/is the wrong color/size/etc. Call them. According to the customer service hotline there are loads of files at IKEA Aubonne. (They record such problems in files.)
7) In such a case go and pick up/exchange stuff at the store. They do it quite willingly and are really friendly, whatever language you speak.
Unfortunately we only realized we'd been given the wrong size when we put together the bed. I guess we could have payed more attention. The problem is it's too big to take back (yess, I disassembled it! =D) in an ordinary car so I'll have to wait for IKEA to come and replace it. They promised to do so in 2 weeks on October 26, so I'm getting a bit edgy... But just a tad. It's not worth worrying about.
Some people have compleined throughout the web about IKEA mattresses. Well, we have the Huglo and although I only chose it because it was the firmest and I hate soft mattresses I just love it. We though of exchanging it because the thought of a spring mattress felt tacky -- but not the thing itself. It hasn't settled or changed a bit these two weeks. Of course we're kind of skinny (he more so), so that could make a difference. But you can try all of then at the shop.
Be careful if you order/buy a MALM bed. Sometimes the person taking your order tells you this, but in many cases they forget to add that the midbeam (support median) is not included in the package but is very important to buy.
So, apart from a couple of small things (stuff missing or screws not working properly) this is all the experience I've had with IKEA Aubonne. We bought loads of stuff so it's not a bad balance. One should only pay a bit more attention to make the shopping experience a better one.
We're going back tomorrow -- and, interestingly enough, not to complain. We need some more stuff. So all this hasn't put us off. =)
See you guys at the lamps! ;)
(If you're looking for more budget furniture stores in Geneva, try Pfister and Interio. Both can be reached by bus 29 from the train station and a host of others. They're a bit more expensive and of course smaller. Fly is the Swiss equivalent of IKEA and a bit farther from the city.)