I hardly thought it was an accident, but some researcher at University College London has confirmed what should have long been evident to anyone who’d ever found themselves hunting for an exit there: IKEA deliberately “traps” customers in a carefully laid-out maze:
The path is “effectively their catalog in physical form” says Penn. “You’re directed through their marketplace area where a staggering amount of purchases are impulse buys, things like light bulbs or a cheap casserole that you weren’t planning on getting … Because the layout is so confusing you know you won’t be able to go back and get it later, so you pop it in your [cart] as you go past.”
That might seem like genius to IKEA headquarters, but it’s also the reason I never go to their ridiculous stores. Hopefully the customers they’ve driven off with this cynical contempt outnumber the customers who’ve bought a stupid extra widget they didn’t need. Wouldn’t it be nice if treating customers with respect was something capitalism rewarded, and the inverse something it punished?