I went to IKEA's Edmonton branch today to get two Billy bookcases to match the dozen others I've collected over several years of bibliomania — and made the mistake of not persuading a friend or family member that he or she needed to buy some furniture too (I don't drive).
It must be easy to get there by public transport, I thought, and they've got a delivery service.
Wrong on count one: Angel Road station, which opens for two hours every day, is a mile-and-a-half away, as far as Neasden tube from the other north London IKEA. I did manage to avoid the horrible experience of the showrooms by going to the exit and walking straight into the warehouse, and I got through the till with my 2m tall Billy flatpacks at £29 each within 20 minutes. Hey, success, I thought, and I've beaten the IKEA hard sell! I've left without cushions, picture frames or rugs I don't need and I've not wasted a whole day!
Then came IKEA's revenge. I went to the delivery counter, where a young man solemnly told me it was going to cost me £90 to have the stuff delivered. I thought about telling him to stick it. I looked at him. He looked at me. And I realised I the only alternative was abandoning the bloody things and walking out, which would cost me £60 and leave me without the bookcases I need. So I coughed up. But never again.