Saturday, February 22, 2014

An IKEA Update

The Story

If you read my last post, you're already aware that I went up against big old IKEA on the blog this past week. After furniture fell on my two-year-old in their store, being ignored for three weeks, then finally having a "customer service manager" accuse my family and my child--I decided to vent publicly on the blog.

Welcome to 2014! My blog is my megaphone.

My mother works for a company that every person in America has heard of, and they have employees whose job is to sit there responding to tweets directed at their company. Yes, this 2014; like it or not, social media plays a distinct role in customer service. My blog is my megaphone, and after the way IKEA Centennial handled our situation--very nearly seriously injuring my child and ultimately blaming us for it--I decided to air my grievances publicly. I am not sorry I did.

It was not an easy decision. I consulted my mom and husband, as well as a few others whose opinions I hold in high regard; I had my mom editing my post for days. I thought hard over posting it. Finally, I decided, I wanted IKEA to know they couldn't ignore us and just have my family go away. My daughter wound up in the hospital over this incident, and was ultimately accused by an IKEA employee, it was no small issue as far as I was concerned. I picked up my megaphone...

It seemed to have worked.

Justin even emailed my post to international IKEA offices. Why go so far? Because when one finally feels compelled to reach for their megaphone, one doesn't merely murmur into it. One shouts.

The Response

I was shocked at the response I got from my IKEA experience post.

When I'd been consulting my mother, asking her opinion, she was supportive but warned, "You know...you're going to have people who disagree with you. People will call you bad parents and side with IKEA, they will criticize you. I just want you to be prepared for that".

I knew exactly what she meant. I've read blogs for over six years, and have read enough Daily Mail articles to know that there will always be those who take the devil's advocate route and decide to blast right back at you. I knew that going into this, and I accepted it. Obviously, I felt our story was worth it. Still, when I hit "Publish" on that post, I covered my head and ducked.

What surprised me? The overwhelming support I received! I was shocked at how many people shared my post on Facebook. I was surprised at the number of supportive comments I got, and even a few shared my post on their own pages. I received personal emails of encouragement. I was even surprised--though I've long known that Instagram is *my* social network, I love Instagram, my people are there--at how many strangers on Instagram shared, commented--even went after IKEA directly on their own page!

Wow.

I was humbled. Thank you! Some of the comments seriously moved me to tears. I felt validated. I felt like people--friends, family, and even strangers--understood my frustration and agreed. I can't say it enough...

THANK YOU!

The Call

I finally received a call from someone at IKEA Centennial that was a productive phone call. The store manager himself, John, called me to finally address our concerns over the way we had been handled since furniture had fallen on Violet at their store.

I do know my family's story has reached the IKEA USA corporate offices {quicker and with more force than a mailed letter would have, no doubt}, and was even told that our case has reached "international levels" at IKEA.

A part of me felt a bit "too little, too late" toward IKEA. I resented that I had felt pushed to such extremes to get what should have been an automatic response of concern from IKEA...the moment the incident happened, not weeks later.

But John carried the diplomatic professionalism that Rosanna hadn't. They still insist the Godmorgon was attached to the wall. Here's the thing: I didn't inspect the piece before Violet had it fall over on her. I can't say for sure, I only assumed when their employee said, "That was supposed to be attached to the wall," combined with the fact that it had fallen, that it had not actually been attached to the wall. They say their video surveillance reveals it was.

That said, I don't care whether it was attached to the wall with an iron chain or with dental floss, the point is: it fell and it shouldn't have. John and I agreed on this, thankfully. Apparently, they are still "investigating".

I am pleased to report that IKEA Centennial has apparently never had furniture fall on a child in their three years of existence. Not until Violet's incident.

I still stand by my main point, what this all whittles down to: Furniture that is PROPERLY attached to the wall WILL. NOT. COME. DOWN. Even under the strength of a mighty two-year-old.

There is no excuse. No child--whether they are wild or not, whether they have irresponsible parents or not--deserves a piece of furniture to fall on them. PERIOD. Whether Violet was being rowdy or not is a moot point. (She wasn't.) She should not have been able to pull furniture over on herself, especially within a business that presents itself as both family-friendly and expert in family furniture. Anyone who has ever been in an IKEA store would know what a joke this is. Fine, delicate furniture store IKEA is not.

John did say "We dropped the ball". And I was happy that they finally admitted that. I tried to get through that Justin and I were capable of "forgiving and forgetting", but the three weeks of no communication followed by Rosanna's call was the straw that broke the camel's back, it sent me into a justice-seeking rant of indignation. I wanted to be heard regarding a point we should all be able to agree on: furniture safety and zero excuses for a business lacking it.

He kept insisting during our 40-minute (plus) phone call that their Centennial store did  try to call us after the incident. He was so insistent that I became curious as to whether their store has been receiving pressure from "above" regarding their lack of communication with us. I'm sorry to say this is just not the case as, again, my phone records prove:


I received exactly three calls from IKEA Centennial. As you can see, all three of them were answered by me. The first was from Julie, then another almost twenty minutes later from Rosanna, and finally the call this week from John.

{Again, my attempts to call IKEA Centennial are not on this log as finding their direct phone number--though I have it now since they called me--was seemingly impossible. I ended up being directed to what seemed to be a call center, where a woman with an accent asked which store I was calling in reference too. This is something at least even John agreed was frustrating: their customers inability to call their store directly.}

He did also agree that what Rosanna communicated to me was not appropriate and that he "would be speaking with her later today" regarding our phone call. It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that the first manager I did speak to was Rosanna. I told John, that if I had been able to reach him or another more professional manager, that this might never have come this far. Unfortunately, the day of that call with Rosanna, her words represented IKEA's opinion. What an ugly opinion it was in my eyes, that some children {like my Violet} get what is coming to them by having furniture fall on them. Ick. Yes, I'd say that's a very ugly opinion.

While John was polite, cordial, respectful--basically everything Rosanna hadn't been--I did note a few hidden barbs throughout our conversation. He brought up my reference in the YouTube video I posted, as to IKEA "throwing furniture at" Violet. I pointed out--as most of my readers who know me would undoubtedly understand--that this was merely my sardonic sense of humor. Since he seemed to be using this to defend Rosanna's rudeness, I also pointed out that I hadn't posted that video until after my phone calls with Julie and Rosanna on February 13.

In the end, the phone call from John seemed to be an overall retraction of the claims Rosanna had made and so at least there's that.

The Supporters vs. Anonymous

I had known some people would criticize me and my family. I didn't expect it to be just one person. Or at least, I think it's one person.

If you've followed my Lark & Lola IKEA post, you might have noticed the handful of "Anonymous" comments I've gotten that have been critical of me and my family.

I am fairly certain these posts are all from the same person, or at least a couple of the same people. I'll go a good day and a half without any comments, then suddenly there are three to four new "Anonymous" comments within a few minutes. This certainly suggests to me it's the same person. Their wording is also highly defensive and personal for a stranger who merely disagrees with me.

Due to the wording and very passionate nature of these Anon comments, I suspect they are from someone AT IKEA or related. I also have my blog tracked, I have my visitors' IP addresses--and then some--and thus have it on good authority: this Anon commenter is either from Denver, Littleton, or Calgary, Canada. Probably an IKEA worker, if I had to guess. Maybe Rosanna? Maybe John? Doesn't matter.

I give little credence to comments posted by nameless people, especially after being overwhelmed and validated by those who truly know me and my family.

That's just the thing, the comments from my friends mean a lot--because those people know Justin and me. They know what kind of parents we are. We're not negligent ones. Again, the support has meant so much. 

The Point

The entire point of my previous IKEA posts have been to 1) get their attention and 2) raise awareness about this topic. I'm pleased to hear that IKEA Centennial has never before had furniture fall on children.

I'm disappointed it took my blog/megaphone to actually get ahold of someone. Call me old fashioned, but I think customers should actually be able to reach store managers, especially when it's to discuss trips to the ER after visiting their store.

I feel little need to respond to Anon comments. Though I figure some, even friends, might wonder why my two-year-old was wandering around IKEA that evening.

First, my two-year-old turned three yesterday. Happy birthday, Violet! In that way, Violet is not "a year from infancy" and maybe not even a toddler anymore?

The thing about parenting--and anyone who has been a parent for any amount of time will know this--there is not always a right or wrong. It is not always black and white, parenting. That night at IKEA, Justin and I were using our best judgement.

IKEA was dead that night, there was no crowd for our kids to get lost in. Over the last couple of months, Violet has expressed eagerness to join her sister outside of the cart. Also, our seven-month-old baby has started sitting up in shopping cart seats. So, over the past couple months, we've been allowing our now-three-year-old to walk about a bit.

This is not the case in most stores. For example, just this yesterday I visited our very busy and brand new Trader Joe's. Paxton was safely in his car seat in the shopping cart, Violet had her seat in the shopping cart seat--buckled in--and Eisley, my oldest, is commanded to hold onto the cart while we're shopping. In fact, I keep my hand over Eisley's hand while shopping--so that if I'm looking the other way, no one can snatch her without me knowing it. I'm that cautious.

But IKEA is a store that invites children in. They have play areas all over. The restaurant has a play/movie area, the kitchen section has a play station. This is a family-friendly store we're talking about! That quiet night at IKEA, since my husband and I were both present, we left our three-(ish)-year-old and five-year-old to walk with us. Not from us. Every day we face different situations and we adjust our rules and guidelines appropriately.

I'll make no further explanations or apologies for that.

Regarding boycotting IKEA...

Again, I was shocked at the uplifting support we received after I posted on my blog. One of the things that most surprised me was how many friends pledged to either "never shop at IKEA again" OR "think twice about visiting IKEA".

THANK YOU for your support. It was humbling.

On that note, I want to say: IKEA is a fun store. They have a lot of great products. I hope it's true that ours was the first incident of its kind in IKEA Centennial's three-year history.

If I'm being honest, even Justin and I visited IKEA and bought a mattress in the last few weeks. Of course, this was before I felt ignored for weeks, when we still thought we'd be hearing from IKEA in a professional manner, and certainly before my call with Rosanna! I'm now not sure if and when I'll go back, or even if my family really feels welcome there anymore, after all that has transpired. That said...

I don't blame any of my friends or acquaintances for wanting to shop at IKEA again, and please, don't feel like you're being disloyal to me or my family by shopping there. If you want to visit IKEA, shop away! Have fun. Just maybe avoid the Godmorgon section? ;-)

I do hope they improve how they handle situations like ours, but I don't expect you all to completely boycott IKEA out of loyalty to us, flattering as that is! We're not asking you to boycott, and I don't feel that would be fair to anyone. Humans make mistakes and hopefully one like this will never happen again.

That said, you find out who some of your real friends are in these situations! I was prepared for the criticism, but I had not been prepared for all the support. It made me all emotional. Again, I thank you for the support. TRULY. Thank you.

Cheers,
Heather

We will now return to our regularly scheduled happy blog posts. ;-)

P.S. If you can handle it, here is another story of a girl who had furniture fall on her, only she was not so lucky. Read Brooke's Story.

2 comments:

  1. ;)) Looking forward to your happy blog posts. I am a new follower. Linda@Wetcreek Blog

    ReplyDelete
  2. With all of the wonderful and exciting things in your family's future. I am so glad that you've got some closure and can move beyond this unfortunate incident. Best Wishes for all of you.

    ReplyDelete

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