Shopping Around for an Ikea Ride Share
We are in the midst of renovating our house. Or more accurately, I am coming up with ideas and my dear dear husband is implementing them. We bought the place 10 years ago as part of the New Neighbors program. The City of Portland wanted to decrease the amount of absentee landlords so they offered low interest loans to people who would buy multi-units on designated streets. After one year and 52 house viewings, we found what we were looking for – a simple brick structure on a tucked-away street in the West End.
The tax records show that it was built in the early 1900s as a stable that later became an auto repair shop and eventually a two-family home. In researching the history, I heard other uses that I have yet to confirm – a coffin factory and a molasses factory. When I visited the Portland Room at the Public Library to look at old registers, the librarian told me that she lived upstairs as a child. Then, when we had the floors replaced downstairs, the installer told us that he had lived in that apartment as a child. Small town.
We did some repairs and updates over the years. As our family grew and changed, we needed the building to change too. Luckily, it is built with steel beams which allow us to take down any interior wall. This lead to my great plan of moving the kitchen from the back of the house to the front of the house, combining it with the living room and dining room to create one large space. Our existing kitchen is original to the house and has minimal storage. In the plans for the new kitchen, we would need cabinets. I was flabbergasted to find out how much they cost. Time to go to Ikea.
The closest Ikea to Portland is south of Boston, approximately two-and-half hours away. We rented a U-Haul as Ikea will deliver to Portland (for $266) but not if it is a kitchen.
We went on a weekday, spent 7 hours in the store and still did not leave with what we came for. Some of our items were discontinued, some needed to get shipped from Canada.
This has been our fourth trip in three years and we’ve learned that once you get home, if you (or Ikea) have forgotten an item, it involves five hours of driving or massive shipping charges to get it. Don’t even talk to me about returns.
This leads to my idea: a regular Ikea run from Portland once a month. Let’s say you need a Billy Bookcase extender for $30. If Ikea ships it, it will cost $266. Surely, there are other people in the greater Portland area who also have Ikea needs who do not want to make the drive, wander around a massive fluorescent lit warehouse or pay $266 for shipping. If you knew that once a month you could place your order with your personal Ikea shopper, you could get inexpensive, well designed home goods on a regular basis. This Portland shopper would rent the U-Haul, go to Ikea, pick up your item and then deliver it to your doorstop. There would be a sliding scale fee based on product cost or size. There’s some potential here. Broaden the scope to mid-Coast Maine and this becomes a full time job for someone.
Let’s sweeten this deal. The Portland Ikea shopper could swing by Chinatown in Boston on the way home and pick up bulk orders of scallion pancakes and sesame noodles. Again, a minimal delivery fee would make it worth the while.
I have no intellectual property rights on this idea, just a desire for someone else to make it happen. Before I need to go to Ikea again, please.