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08/23/2013 03:27 pm ET Updated Oct 23, 2013

Ikea Delivery Nightmare: The Business Rationale For Subpar Front-Door Service

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It all started because I wanted the Nelson Swag Leg Desk. Not a new, licensed reproduction--I wanted the scuffed-up, 1960-vintage Nelson Swag Leg Desk I found on eBay. It seemed to me mostly irrelevant that I could not afford the Nelson Swag Leg Desk. But my husband suggested a budgetary adjustment: Instead of pairing the Nelson Swag Leg Desk with pricey custom-built bookshelves as planned, we could economize with a jumbo set of Ikea's Billy bookcases, which fit the appointed space almost to the centimeter. At first, I resisted this financially expedient arranged marriage of a modern-design icon to a prosaic dorm-room staple that I associated with beer pong and Gustav Klimt's The Kiss. Eventually, though, I started talking myself into the compromise. I tried to think of it as a chic high-low flourish, like Anna Wintour pairing couture with jeans on her first Vogue cover, or Mike D plonking a Target pouf smack in the middle of his otherwise ultra-customized Brooklyn townhouse. Or something.

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