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Karolina Susfal Ikea TYOK
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you work in Ikea

Written by
Danielle Goldstein

…according to Karolina Susfal, 39.

London’s Ikea branches are a microcosm of the city

There’s a huge diversity of people in Ikea – both workers and customers. It’s a very international environment and I learn basic phrases every day. I can now say hello in Polish, German, Portuguese, Spanish and more.

The meatball struggle is real

Everyone loves the Swedish meatballs. We don’t get food for free, but it’s such a little amount that it’s dangerously affordable. They are a little bit dangerous, though: I was skinnier three years ago before I started working here!

People ask ridiculous questions…

Customers often ask about the difference between a foam mattress and sprung one. Obviously a foam mattress has foam inside and a sprung mattress has springs, but we still get that question all the time.  Or you’ll tell the customer that a bed frame comes in white or black and the next question they ask is: “Does it come in grey?”

…but also show their gratitude

To plan a complete kitchen, we usually spend hours with one customer, and they’ll often come back to the store to show us pictures. One customer even invited me over for dinner in their newly built kitchen! I was too shy to say yes.

Ikea staff are okay with people making themselves at home

Many times when I go through the showroom I’ll see whole families sitting on the sofas, having a chat and a cup of tea that they’ve got from the canteen. We encourage them to sit for a while. We even invite them to lie down to check how it feels. They always look so comfy, like they’re in a real home.

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