My possessions have been in storage for four years, today they went to my Italian home. Wandering through the labyrinth of Ikea, one can find everything from minimalist Scandinavian furniture to meatballs that seem to have a cult following.

For over thirty years, I have been a loyal customer, navigating the aisles with ease, but the experience at Ikea Florence turned my Ikea adventure into a tale of horror. Enter the world of self-service enshittification, where the joy of Ikea transforms into a battle against self-checkout machines and indifferent staff.

Enshittification, the word of 2023, is a pattern where online services and products experience a decline in quality over time. But I believe it is process that is now also catching up with the offline world, enter the realm of Ikea shopping.

It’s 3am, I can’t sleep due to this experience.

As I and my husband leaves Ikea Florence, the experience weighs heavily on us. The promise of a new home filled with stylish Ikea furniture has been overshadowed by the memory of my ordeal.


Storage For Four Years

The Joys and Pains of Ikea Shopping

Ikea has always been a haven for those looking to furnish their homes stylishly yet affordably. I remember the excitement of moving into my new house in Italy, eager to recreate my space with some of Ikea’s sleek designs.

But, as with every rose, this one had its thorn. While browsing and filling up a total of six trolleys felt like an adventure, the checkout process became a nightmare.

I own homes in Asia and I bought an Ikea kitchen, there are no self-checkouts in Asia, Bangkok.

Resting just before self checkout

The Stress of Self-Checkouts

I don’t mind self-checkouts I think they can be very handy for those who have only a few small items and want to experience a quick checkout and not wait in long lines. But Ikea in all its wisdom has decided for the Florence branch to go all out and only offer self-checkout. There are no more alternatives like a normal checkout.

The self-checkout area at Ikea Florence was like a scene from a dystopian future—sixteen self-checkout isles of 6 checkout machines, but only two isles were operational. The area was not large enough for six trolleys to pass through, scan your items, unload six trolleys and repack six trolleys. The person behind me clutches a couple of coat hangers, clearly impatient. I felt hurried and ashamed for make such a large purchase.

I am thinking, “Is this progress or punishment?”

Reflecting on my four year storage

A Quest for Service

In a moment of frustration, I asked one of the staff members if they could open more self-checkout stations. The response, in classic Italian nonchalance, is dismissive. “Who are you to ask such a request?” echoes in my mind. This is not just a question but a stab at my worth as a customer.

“I am the customer who keeps you in a job,” I wanted to scream, but I hold back.

The reality of self-service has turned what should be a pleasurable shopping experience into an ordeal.

The Humiliation of Ikea Florence

The scene gets worse. As the queue grows longer and my patience wears thinner, I find myself surrounded by four Ikea staff members. Instead of assistance, they offer hostility. Security is called, and threats of police involvement are thrown around. All I wanted was a little help with my bulky items, yet here I am, feeling humiliated and belittled.

This is what I call the enshittification of service where the customer’s needs are sacrificed on the altar of efficiency. Please IKEA do not become like this.

Global Vs. Local

I reflect on my IKEA experiences across the globe Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United Kingdom. Never have I felt so disrespected. Ikea, a Swedish brand known for its customer-friendly approach, seems to have lost its way in the checkout area of Florence.

I can’t help but wonder why there’s no special section for customers with large, bulky purchases. Instead, they are left to wrestle with the machines and the disdain of the staff.

My olive tree road to my Villa

Small van access only to my Italian villa

The Cost of Self-Service

The argument for self-service is efficiency and cost-saving, but at what cost?

I spent over 1,000 euros and felt like a beggar at the checkout.

The self-checkout system might work for a few items, but for a trolley full of heavy, awkwardly shaped products, it’s a disaster. Why should customers, who already spend their hard-earned money, also have to do the job of scanning and packing?

Enshittification in Action

This term enshittification—perfectly captures the essence of my experience. It describes the gradual degradation of service quality as businesses prioritize profits over people. Initialy this applied to online platforms but I have a feeling it is moving offline.

The 100% self-checkout machines symbolize this shift. Initially, they promise convenience but ultimately result in frustration and dehumanization.

Flying Ryanair has become a totally enshitted experience. Fifty thousand options at the booking process and a complete app-based self-check-in process. My mother-in-law who is 74 years old was completely terrified at the ordeal and vowed never to fly Ryanair again.

At Ikea Florence, this enshittification has reached a peak for me, with customers being treated more like nuisances than valued patrons. Time to go shopping elsewhere.


A Call for Change

Why did the staff refuse to open another checkout? Why was there no provision for those with bulky items? The answers lie in the pervasive attitude of cost-cutting and efficiency at the expense of customer satisfaction. I believe that a change is needed.

Ikea must remember that their success hinges on happy customers. It’s not just about the furniture; it’s about the experience.


As I and my husband leaves Ikea Florence, the experience weighs heavily on us. The promise of a new home filled with stylish Ikea furniture has been overshadowed by the memory of my ordeal.

Enshittification of 100% self-checkout at the expense of excellent customer service must be addressed. The Ikea I knew and loved has always stood for quality and care, not just in products but in how they treat their customers.

It’s time for Ikea to revisit its roots and ensure that no customer feels the way I was humiliated, frustrated, and utterly disappointed.