8 things you should never do in an Ikea, according to employees

IKEA locations across the Netherlands have stared to reopen after voluntarily closing in late March.
Ikea has locations around the world.Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Insider spoke to former and current employees about things customers should never do in an Ikea.

  • Ikea stores are big, so be patient with employees who are trying to help.

  • Bringing food or drinks to the furniture area is frowned upon, as is going under the covers on beds.

Eating and drinking in the display areas is strongly discouraged.

ikea display area.JPG
Ikea has numerous large display areas throughout the store.MATTHEW CHILDS/Reuters

Ikea is famous for its food halls, which offer a literal smörgåsbord of Swedish treats and snacks.

But former Ikea employee Sonny Cartright told Insider that it's polite to refrain from eating and drinking in the furniture display areas.

"So many people come in with snacks and drinks and you can see all the marks they leave behind on furniture," Cartright said.

If you need to take a snack break while browsing, it's best to make your way to the food court instead of dining on the display furniture.

Never leave food wrappers or other trash on or in the furniture.

Throw any trash away in the provided garbage cans.MAX ROSSI/Reuters

Cartright told Insider that even though Ikea tries to make its customers feel at home, they should still feel inclined to pick up after themselves in the store.

"The staff have to clean up the empty food and drink packages customers leave in the furniture area. It's disrespectful to employees," he said.

There are trash bins located throughout the store, so be sure to use them if you have any wrappers, flyers, or other garbage.

Don't forget to keep a close eye on your children while you're shopping.

ikea kids shopping.JPG
Make sure children don't have any spillable drinks or snacks with them.Neil Hall/Reuters

Even the most well-behaved children can get overwhelmed by all the items to see and explore at Ikea, so it's important to guard against spills and other accidents.

"There is nothing worse than children running through the store, screaming, messing things up, and leaving sticky handprints everywhere," Cartright said. "It's taxing on the staff and unfair to other customers."

Also, make sure your child isn't carrying any food or beverage that could make a mess.

"Please don't let your kid run around with a drink in their hand. It's a recipe for disaster and if they end up spilling it we're the ones that end up cleaning it up," Ikea merchandise associate Kelly Roberts told Insider.

Caretakers of young children may want to take advantage of Ikea's Småland supervised play area, where trained staff members will watch kids for up to an hour for free. Just be sure to check with your local store to see if this service will be available during your visit.

Don't ask staff members to use their employee discount for you.

ikea employees shopping customers
Ikea employees are happy to help in other ways.Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Roberts told Insider that asking a member of staff to use their employee discount on your purchase is definitely verboten.

"Not only does this put us in an awkward situation, it can also put our jobs in jeopardy," she said. "Whether we say yes or no, it's not very fun to answer that question."

If you're trying to save money at Ikea, she said, consider signing up for the free Ikea Family card.

The rewards card will let you take advantage of special pricing and discounts, and cardholders can also pick up a free hot drink in the Ikea food hall.

Crawling under the blankets on the beds or getting too relaxed on the other furniture is frowned upon.

ikea furniture.JPG
Feel free to test out the furniture, but don't get too comfortable.Claro Cortes/Reuters

Cartright said customers should avoid getting too comfortable on the display furniture — and they shouldn't treat it like it's already theirs.

"We once actually found that someone had used a display toilet for their own needs," he said. "There have been interesting finds in the beds as well."

Sitting on beds, chairs, and sofas to try them out is perfectly fine. But getting under blankets, resting your feet on furniture, or attending to personal hygiene on the store floor is not OK.

Customers probably shouldn't expect employees to race through the massive store to help them.

ikea employee store customers shopping
Ikea stores are very big, so be patient.Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Ikea stores are quite spacious, so getting from one side to another can take a long time. That's why it's important to be patient when you've asked an employee to do something for you.

"Don't be rude or judgmental if you see an associate walking instead of running like you want them to," Roberts said. "We're on our feet for nearly our entire eight-hour shift, and we only have so much energy."

It's also important to stay in one place if you've asked an employee to bring you an item. Trying to locate a single customer in a massive Ikea store can be very difficult.

Refrain from putting items back on the wrong shelves.

ikea merchandise
Ask a staff member for help if you don't remember where something goes.Subrat Patnaik/Reuters

Shoppers should try not to leave items far from their original shelves. This is especially important in the warehouse area of Ikea.

"A lot of the time, furniture comes in several boxes and if one pack is misplaced, it makes it impossible for staff and customers to find a complete set," said Cartright.

Unless you're absolutely sure where you got an item, it's better to ask a member of staff to reshelve something rather than risk putting it back where it doesn't belong.

The store hires additional employees around the holiday season, so don't expect every staff member to have the same level of knowledge at that time.

ikea store customers
The stores are extra crowded around the holidays.Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

The holiday season is a busy time for Ikea. Because of this, stores will sometimes hire extra staff members to help deal with the seasonal surge. It's important to remember that some employees may not have as much experience with the location or its stock.

"Please have some patience with staff during the holidays," Roberts told Insider. "A lot of the people that get hired during these times are new and temporary, so they may not be as knowledgeable as you would like them to be."

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