In praise of Ikea?

So we broke the bed last night. No, not like that. I was mending the bedroom light, which went kaput a few weeks ago and we’ve been using the bedside lamps for quite a while. After many evenings of saying, ‘Oh yes, I’ll do that tomorrow, when it’s light’, I ran out of tokens. Hubby moved the bed to make way for the step ladder (as I am vertically challenged). And some vital piece that was holding the bed together broke.

I mended the light, but broke the bed. I then spent a couple of hours on the internet looking at the options:

Second hand bed (gumtree, ebay, sofaproject)
Cheap bed (Ikea?)
Expensive, ethically made, solid wood lovely bed

None of these options yielded anything I actually wanted to buy, at a price I was willing to pay. Greenwood’s beds are amazing. But so is the price tag. All the second hand beds I saw were a bit… well, you know. And the bed we already had was a cheap Ikea bed, so replacing it with another bed the same wasn’t a tempting option either.

In the morning, hubby suggested what is obvious really. Why not mend the bed? The part that had broken was a small plastic washer. Hubby was doubtful whether we could get replacements, but I phoned Ikea, and lo – they had spares; they would send them to me for free if I could find the product code; if I went to the store they would find them for me at customer services and it would cost me pennies.

We sat for about half an hour on the leather sofas at customer services, and then showed the youth our broken bits. He found us replacements. He didn’t charge us anything. Not a thing. We bought Swedish organic fizzy apple juice. We went home. We fixed the bed (about 10 minutes, no swearing) and tonight will sleep at the normal height rather than six inches from the floor.

So… I’m in the awkward situation that I am going to praise Ikea, which has an ethicscore of 5.5. Ikea doesn’t have a good environmental reputation in many ways and could be accused of greenwashing by telling us how we’re saving the world by using allen keys to make our furniture ourselves. (And has surely been culpable in several divorces, though for some reason it’s not a problem in our house, and even fun… I know, fun(!)). To be fair to Ikea, they are Ethical consumer’s recommended buy for soft furnishings, and lose out because they don’t specify which of their furniture is FSC accredited. But that assumes that you’re buying new.

We have ‘Reduce, Re-use, Recycle’ deeply ingrained. But there is another R. Repair. And for aiding the repair, for free (!), Ikea score highly with me. The bed wasn’t that expensive when it was first bought, has survived several moves, and now should manage several more years. I guess it’s not going to last generations, but you know, maybe it would if we didn’t move around so much – take it apart and abuse it and expect it to still be good. Perhaps we ask too much of our stuff – hubby wouldn’t have tipped up an antique bed as he did this one. Why – because it would break.

So yeh, I’m happy with our repaired Ikea bed. All credit to them for helping people repair stuff. And the organic apple juice was good too.