I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for months now and I’m finally getting around to it! The title originally was meant to be “Things Not To Say To An IKEA Bistro Employee” but it evolved and the shorter the better, right? In case you’re not sure – the Bistro is not the restaurant which is on the second floor and is like a cafeteria almost – the Bistro is the little place close to the exit where you can purchase hot dogs, cinnamon buns, soda and frozen yogurt.
Disclaimers: All Bistro prices already include tax – so you really do only need 50 cents, or a dollar etc. The hot dogs are indeed always 50 cents. That’s not a special that they run every single day of the year. And they are also all beef. The frozen yogurt is fat free and it tastes almost exactly like vanilla ice cream, and the employees will know what you’re talking about if you refer to it as ice cream.
And while I do agree with the saying that there is no such thing as a stupid question…I’ve run into a few interesting situations that I thought I would share with you for humor and information.
- IKEA is a bagless store. Say it with me now. BAGLESS. Please don’t look at me like I have 10 heads when I say it, laugh, snicker or tell me that’s ridiculous. I understand that it can be really inconvenient to purchase a bunch of products and be told/remember that there are no bags. But IKEA believes in being sustainable and green – plastic bags are none of those things. They do have reusable bags that you can purchase and sometimes they have empty cardboard boxes but that’s about it unless you want the empty hot dog bun bags or you brought your own bags.
- If you do ask for a hot dog bun bag don’t look at the employee in disgust when it has crumbs in it. Yes, actual bread was in those bags. I know, it’s shocking.
- Don’t ask for the employee to throw out your receipt. This also means please don’t throw it back at them when they hand it to you. Yes, I know, who wants a receipt for a 50 cent hot dog taking up space in their purse/wallet/pocket? No one. But employees are required to hand out every receipt. Do they want to do it? Not really. But rules are rules and they would rather not get in to trouble and also save you the trouble of being accused of stealing a 6-pack of cinnamon buns because you don’t have a receipt to prove it. Feel free, at your own risk to throw it out at the numerous trash cans that are placed around the Bistro.
- Don’t yell at the employees – whatever your reason may be. Honestly, you shouldn’t be yelling at anyone in any store (except maybe your kids…just kidding). I once had a woman literally yell at me, with a huge line of people behind her, because I told her that we weren’t able to give her extra icing on her cinnamon bun because our shipment was late and we were almost out (like our managers had told us to). She continued to berate me until I told my co-worker to give her the extra icing, told her to have a good day and ran into the back room to cry. People who are working in the service industry should also note that that is a great example of what not to do. I know I should not have let her bully me, I should have called my manager and Loss Protection if necessary because it is not okay for a customer to treat you like that.
- No, the employee can’t give you change for your $20. The drawer only opens when someone makes a purchase so make sure to tell them you want change before your transaction is complete.
- Don’t ask for the employee to put “extra” frozen yogurt on your cone. I know, it’s delicious and addicting but the price is $1 and you get 3 swirls, more than that and IKEA is actually losing money on that cone. You can however have your frozen yogurt in a 5oz cup – the same size as what would be on the cone or pay another dollar.
- Napkins are at the end of every counter. At least at the local store. People are often confused as to why they aren’t directly in front of them when they are at the register…but there would literally be no room to put your food on that counter if there were napkins.
- Make sure you are taking your food – if you ordered one slice of pizza don’t take a pizza box that has an entire pizza in it and proceed to only eat one slice (yep…that happened).
- Be very careful when you are digging through the wall of cinnamon buns to get to the ones on the bottom. The plastic lids are only able to support the weight of 3 boxes (they are only stacked 4 high for a reason), they will be crushed if you put another box on top of them and fall.
- There is no way to re-heat cinnamon buns other than the oven, which would burn them. They also come to the store with the exact amount of cinnamon on them, so they can’t put extra on for you.
- It is very possible for the 6-packs of cinnamon buns to fall backwards when you are putting them back, which will make the lid come off and iced cinnamon buns to go everywhere.
- Generally, they do put the hot six-packs on the bottom, sometimes it’s too much of a hassle to do that though so they’re dispersed throughout or on the top. You are not going to find out which ones are hot by touching the plastic lids that we put on after they let the 6-packs cool. You will be much better off touching the pan or looking for steam on the plastic lids.
- Cinnamon buns are made daily. They sometimes have some left over at the end of the night that they sell in the morning – they are still fresh and will last 3-4 days. Saturdays and Sunday they are constantly churning out fresh ones to keep up with the rush so yes, they are fresh.
- It does take about 3 minutes to cook a slice of pizza and you will have to wait if it is M-F because they are slow enough that they cook pizza to order.
- No, you can’t purchase products from the store at the Bistro – only food items. You also can’t purchase gift cards. You also shouldn’t be bringing unpaid store items to the Bistro because that means you walked through the checkout lanes without paying…
- No they don’t sell apple pie, or popcorn, or pretzels…By the way, those things are not on the menu.
- The Number 1 Combo comes with 2 Hot Dogs, Chips and a Drink for $2.50. Not sure why they didn’t make it the Number 2 combo…but the number 2 combo only comes with 1 slice of pizza and a drink for $2.50.
- Yes, you can walk around the store with your food.
- While you’re standing in line it is highly recommend that you peruse the vast menu, prepare your money and get excited!
Above all else, I ask you to remember when you are interacting with people who are serving/helping you that they are not actually your slaves and that they are human beings that deserve respect and attention. You have the power to literally make or break their day. Have you shopped at IKEA recently? Have you found yourself asking some of the questions I answered above? I hope this gives some perspective into the life of a person working in a customer service field.