IKEA has become notorious for being a stressful place to shop, even more so for couples who hope to stay together. The Scandinavian furniture maker has offered a solution to this epidemic: Their new in-house program, Divörce Prevention, has been designed to help marriages survive their shopping trip.
Relationship expert Richard Head, who is leading the Divörce Prevention project, offers us some insight into the four stages of shopping at IKEA with your spouse, noting that they are each equally stressful:
1. Navigating the crowds. It can be tough to keep your cool when you keep losing each other because of all the people everywhere, who are also fighting.
“My first suggestion is to never ever ever ever go to IKEA on a weekend together. You’ll be yelling at each other before you know it because your spouse literally can’t hear you any other way,” says Head.
2. Agreeing on furniture. Whether you’re just moving in together or have lived together for years, it can be downright shocking how terrible your partner’s taste is.
“There are a ton of options at IKEA. You may prefer the simplicity of the ARKELSTORP series, while your spouse might prefer the modern feel of the EKTORP collection. It’s important to compromise where you can. Our service can help you find a middle ground that you’ll both hate equally,” adds Head.
3. Finding/loading/buying merchandise. Once the furniture is finally agreed upon, it needs to be found in the warehouse, loaded into your cart, and brought to the cashier.
“Typically, by the time a couple finds the items and has figured out a way to load the awkwardly-shaped boxes into their cart like some fucked-up game of Tetris, they are no longer speaking when they reach the cashier. This is where we look for the relationships that may need our services,” says Head.
4. Assembling the furniture. After the furniture is loaded and unloaded from the car, the furniture needs to be assembled at home.
“This is where the majority of relationships fall apart, in part because IKEA instructions are just a series of nonsensical pictures. Our findings indicate that ONE person should put the furniture together, while the other goes for a walk or to the bar for a few drinks. Otherwise, the couple will become hostile when they each try to micromanage the way the other is assembling the furniture,” adds Head.
While Divörce Prevention is still in its preliminary stages, Head is confident that it will help improve IKEA’s current reputation as a homewrecker, and will make couples less wary about shopping at the Swedish superstore together.
“The program isn’t perfect,” says Head. “But what do you really expect from a company that sells meatballs along with furniture?”