Is IKEA Missing the Boat?

By Donna J. Jodhan

Here in Toronto many seniors and persons with disabilities continue to face a very challenging problem and that is: large furniture stores and departmental
chains are still not willing to provide services to deliver, assemble and remove large appliances and furniture. If you are able-bodied, can drive, and
can assemble purchased items for yourself then lucky for you; but for those of us who are unable to drive, and who have difficulty assembling purchased items we are out of luck. Shocker or shaker? No shocker or shaker but rather disgusting that stores such as IKEA are managing to get away with it but
hold on!

IKEA dares to announce to the world that they do not provide services such as delivery and assembly to their consumers and they do not seem to care. In
effect, they are completely ignoring a rapidly growing sector of the consumer market; seniors and the disabled. What IKEA continues to do is to cater
to a specific portion of our population. The able-bodied. No, no one can force this store to change its policy but what we can start to do is to boycott
them in protest over their policy.

I suppose that IKEA’s comeback would be that we can shop elsewhere and they are probably right. After all, it is a free country and they can do whatever they want. However, I gently wonder if this policy could be viewed as being discriminatory?

IKEA is not the only culprit when it comes to this type of policy but they are probably the ones who are bold enough to state it. In my neck of the woods,
Canadian Tire delivers but does not assemble. Ditto for Sears and The Bay. What most companies still do not realize is this: more and more of their
bread and butter consumers are going to be those who are unable to either transport their own large purchases and/or be able to assemble them. It still
amazes me that they do not get it or maybe they do not care. The fountain of youth is rapidly growing older and they are the ones who will be the most
influential in the not too distant future.

As I see it, there is a great opportunity for smaller chains and establishments to hone in on this gap and attract customers. Yes, through the provision
of specialized services. I believe that IKEA is missing the boat here. Their flag may be flying high today, but will probably start to slide down the flag pole within the next few years. What we need is for more departmental chains to provide more specialized services to cater to the needs of seniors and the disabled and if they are not willing to conform, then we will probably see the smaller establishments stepping up to the plate and becoming more
successful in this arena.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan, your freelance writer and reporter wishing you a terrific day.

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