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Ikea is a lot of fun. Okay, so navigating one of the stores requires a GPS but you get in your 5km daily walk and there is a restaurant embedded in there somewhere for all those people who forgot to pack a cut lunch.
But as for buying furniture in these megastores, it just doesn't work for me. I hate following directions and anything I have to assemble myself ends up looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Worse than that its the Reeling Tower of Pisa after an earthquake.
So my favourite part of Ikea is the "As-Is" section which could easily be overlooked by most customers because it is tucked away in a corner near the cashier's section.
Most people are so focused on the long queues they don't think to look to their left or right.
The As-IS section stocks returns, discontinued items and damaged stock. Luckily it also stocks ex-floor stock or in other words stuff that Ikea employees have made up (and they know what they are doing!)
Sometimes there is a scratch or two or even a loose screw, but the beauty of these items is that most of the furniture is assembled.
Prices are always at a good discount, with the original price clearly marked. It is common for items to be 40% to 50% off the rrp and they will go down by 10% for every week that they are still on the floor.
But you really have to ask yourself "How long would it have taken me to put this together? And what is my time worth?"
With my abilities it would take me at least two days to make up something simple so buying from this section saves me heaps of dosh, given that time equals money.
The section also has lots of odds and ends - random shelves, pieces of fabric, slip cases, light shades without bases and so on. For anyone who is a lot more talented with their hands than I am, you could have a field day finding bits to inspire you for DIY projects.
You need to keep an eye on this section. Most of what you want will eventually turn up there. So check in regularly.
If you like a certain display rest assured that eventually the whole rigmarole will end up in there bit by bit including curtains, furniture and so on.
To avoid getting caught in the Ikea maze enter through the cash register section only. Try not to enter the rest of the shop as everything is just so damn tempting and you are here for the cut price bargains only.
Check the item out carefully. I famously bought my desk there which I love but it kept on making my pens disappear. Then I discovered the drawer had come adrift down the back and my pens were sliding down the gap and into the nether regions. But I still love the desk and now I just don't use that drawer.
If you can find an Ikea staff member in this section they they can be of great help. They can help you load the item onto the trolley, give you some tips on touch ups or repairs. You can ask them to tighten things up for you and they can even show you where the original buyer went wrong in making the item up.
Take care if you get something delivered because stock from this section is seen as faulty and if something happens to it on the way to your place then you cannot return it.
Now over to you. What have you found in the As-Is section that was a bargain? And perhaps you know of other stores that have great clearance or As-Is sections? Fill us in below.
Ikea's As Is section is great!! I recently visited Ikea looking for a office desk. Everything I liked was in the 279 - 399 range. on my way out the store I stopped in the As Is section, there I found the exact desk top I was looking for priced at $24.50. It had a scratch on the side and was missing all four legs. No problem the scratch was mostly rubber that had rubbed up against the it desk top which came right off and I was able to find new legs in aisle #41 for 3.50 a piece. Long story short I rolled out of Ikea with a desk that would have been north of $200 new for $38.50... SCORE !!!