Adventures in Kitchen Renovation: Part II: Renee vs. IKEA’s rubbish delivery company

18 Oct

I probably should not admit how much I stressed about my IKEA kitchen delivery. It shows just how privileged and stress-free my life is that this was the only thing I had to worry about. But I did worry about it. A lot. I lost sleep thinking about it when the delivery was still days away. Every day I obsessively checked Google Maps to see if roads were closed. On Sunday night, the night before the scheduled delivery, I was like a kid on Christmas Eve. I could not sleep. I kept thinking about what I could say to the driver to convince him not to cancel because of the traffic. I thought about what I would say to Alex our builder when I had to inevitably tell him the kitchen wasn’t coming for another week. I thought about what we would do if Alex rage quit, which would be completely understandable given the circumstances.

On Monday I woke up at 6am anticipating the call. Last time the driver called at 6:24am to say he was 30 minutes away, so I figured we’d be first on the list again. But 6:30am passed and no one called. At 7am I received a text message with a tracking link that showed me exactly where the driver was. He was near Heathrow and still had another drop to make before our delivery. I should have gone back to sleep, there was no way he was going to reach us before 9am. But I couldn’t sleep. Instead, I obsessively refreshed the tracking location, then put the location into Google Maps to ensure there was a clear route here. It seemed more roads were closing by the minute because of the queen’s procession to open parliament. I tried to get some work done, but I was exhausted and driving myself mad with the refreshing. Around 9:15am I saw that the truck icon was one street away and I nearly cried tears of joy. It was coming! My kitchen was actually coming!

I met the truck downstairs and spoke with the laborer. “Is it far up to the flat?” he asked. I showed him the way from the street through the lobby, around the corner and to the lift.
“It’s far,” he said. “They should have sent a three-man crew. We don’t even have a trolley,” he said.

You loaded a full kitchen order onto the truck, including three appliances, and didn’t think maybe you’d need a sack truck (which is British for dolly)? I wanted to ask.

I waited while the driver phoned the delivery depot. IKEA UK outsources its deliveries to a third-party company.

“We can’t do this delivery, you’ll have to call IKEA to reschedule and tell them you need a three-man crew. We’re running behind on our other deliveries and have to leave,” he said.

The old Renee would have said I understand, and then probably cried about it upstairs while listening to IKEA’s ABBA hold music for 30 minutes while trying once again to reschedule the delivery. But I was a new Renee, hardened by carrying massive tiles and wired on matcha, lack of sleep, and adrenaline. I was looking right at my entire kitchen packed up in boxes in the back of a truck. I wasn’t taking no for an answer.

“You drove all this way, I can’t let you leave,” I told them, wondering how in fact I was going to enforce that. Chain or glue myself to the truck like an Extinction Rebellion protester? “I am not rescheduling one more time, you are not driving away with my kitchen.”

The driver continued to strap up my fridge in preparation for departure. The delivery company dispatch called me and told me I’d have to reschedule. “I’m not rescheduling and waiting another week for my kitchen when it’s right here in front of me,” I told her. She continued to rattle on, so I hung up.

I could tell my pleas were starting to work on the laborer.

“Is there anywhere we can store it in the lobby?” he asked. We live in a posh building, the kind that normally doesn’t even let you make deliveries through the lobby, insisting they go through the basement, but these were desperate times. The porters could sense my frustration and despair, so they kindly moved some furniture out of the way so we could store our entire kitchen in the lobby. Not only that, but one of the porters started helping the delivery guys unload. I couldn’t believe it. I definitely owe the porters some fresh-baked cookies when I have a functioning kitchen.

I called Alex to let him know the situation. He was happy the kitchen had arrived, but not too happy when he found out he’d have to carry it up to the flat. He and Vinnie arrived a few hours later and brought all 122 items upstairs.

arnold boxes

I definitely owe them cookies too!

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