is ikea too cheap? aibu to worry that its very unethical?

(13 Posts)
livingintheNL Mon 01-Feb-16 15:38:20

I need a little table, was going to make it myself out of wood, but it is cheaper to buy one from ikea.

5 quid for a 55cm 2 coffee table. I know it will be low density and not last more than a few years. But still it seems too cheap. How do they do it?

http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/20011413/

sleepyhead Mon 01-Feb-16 15:42:08

The Lack stuff is mostly air. There's something about how they make it in the instructions (iirc), but it's basically a plywood or similar frame filled with a sort of corrugated cardboard filling.

The legs are chipboard.

Doesn't stop it being unethical - I think most of the stuff's made in Eastern Europe? Not sure - but it's cheap because there's not much to it and it's light to transport. Plus huge bulk savings.

Joopy Mon 01-Feb-16 15:43:23

They're made of cardboard. I have one which is 4 or 5 years old. It's not in great condition but it does the job.

sleepyhead Mon 01-Feb-16 15:43:58

There's a video about it here:
www.geek.com/news/ikea-factory-tour-reveals-the-secret-of-ikeas-8-table-paper-1009541/

BertieBotts Mon 01-Feb-16 15:45:15

Yes the Lack is made from cardboard. As found here.

I think they are fairly ethical as retailers go, actually. They are cheap because they hardly ever change their designs, they mass produce things and it's self serve. Even their delivery service uses an external courier and costs a bomb.

DilysPrice Mon 01-Feb-16 15:49:06

Most of the money they save is due to obvious stuff like making you make it yourself which makes it so much cheaper to transport, and not employing loads of shop floor staff.

If the fact that it's so cheap leads you to treat it as disposable then that would be ethically questionable, but if you're not going to do that then you're fine.

BarbaraofSeville Mon 01-Feb-16 15:53:36

I have a couple of Lack coffee tables that are 15-20 years old and have lasted fine. I think some products are loss leaders to get you in the store.

They are extremely efficient in production, distribution and store layout etc. They probably have a lot fewer staff than other furniture stores. Of course you have to pick, deliver and assemble everything yourself or pay them quite a lot to do it for you, to cover the cost fully.

I live 2 miles from Ikea and have paid £30 or more for delivery before, because that’s what it costs to send 2 people out in a van and to unload a load of wardrobe boxes into my bedroom. Other furniture shops do ‘free’ delivery but charge a lot more for their products.

Some of their furniture is made abroad. I have just bought one of their kitchens and the worktops were made in Eastern Europe. It is probably cheaper to make worktops there and ship them here than it is to make them here due to wages and Health and Safety requirements etc.

I can’t comment on their ethics but can see lots of other unrelated reasons why they are cheaper than other places. But then, everywhere mass market is probably no better ethics-wise.

And some places deliberately price their products at a higher level to attract the Ikea = cheap rubbish crowd.

BillSykesDog Mon 01-Feb-16 15:54:56

I had one of those which lasted 11 years.

Given that all the board and manufacturing is done in Europe under European labour laws, plus they won't use illegally logged wood; it's probably much more likely to be ethical than more expensive wood furniture made in the Far East under exploitative labour laws.

BarbaraofSeville Mon 01-Feb-16 15:56:34

Just thought of another one. Other than kitchens, they don't usually do free credit.

Buy a DFS sofa and you can pay for it at £20 a month for the next 4 years.

Buy one from Ikea and you pay for it all in one go - free finance costs money, which is included in the purchase price, whether you take it or not.

livingintheNL Mon 01-Feb-16 17:50:08

Gosh ladies you sound like your all working for Ikea PR! he he anyway I really like that ethos of not overpaying for stuff like credit and store, so I will buy it. Will be light too is its made of cardboard!

thismumismad Mon 01-Feb-16 21:24:02

I saw one of these tables going for £15 last week

TaraCarter Mon 01-Feb-16 21:44:10

Well, ethics-wise, there are fair-trade furniture companies, or you could buy second-hand instead?

ilovesooty Mon 01-Feb-16 21:53:46

I'd like to hear more about your skills in making tables out of wood.
<misses point>

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now