How long would you wait in line to get a free Ikea couch?
In honor of Ikea's 46th U.S. store opening in Jacksonville, Fla. this morning, the store gave away EKTORP three-seat sofas to the first 46 customers in line. Some started lining up two days ago.
Camping out in line to get free stuff is nothing new. People do it for iPhones, concert tickets and video games. But this in-tents anticipation for an Ikea's fifth Florida store is definitely one we haven't heard before.
Who knew the Swedish furniture retailer had such a cult following? Ikea did, apparently. They provided phone entertainment, music, charging stations, snacks and other amenities while people waited, as jacksonville.com reported.
You don't even need to be in Jacksonville to cash in on the fun. In honor of this store opening, Ikea is slashing the price of their popular BILLY Bookcase to $49 at all U.S. stores. "It is estimated that every five seconds, one BILLY bookcase is sold somewhere in the world," the Ikea site boasts. "Pretty impressive considering we launched BILLY in 1979."
And if you don't need another bookcase, you could probably use some Swedish meatballs. Today only, you can also get three bags of IKEA meatballs for $19.99. Stock up!
Ikea fever hits its peak
Ikea nervously opened its first U.S. store in 1985 in a Philadelphia suburb. "IKEA VENTURE IN U.S. A HIT" reads a New York Times headline nine months later. (The article even tells reads how to pronounce the name of the new-to-the-market Swedish retailer: eye-KEY-ah.)
The frenzy has only grown from there. Today everyone knows how to pronounce Ikea. And likely has at one time lived with an Ikea something in their home. This year, Ikea started venturing beyond the bookcase.
The biggest news came when Ikea purchased gig-economy startup TaskRabbit for an undisclosed amount in September. They've also launched a pet line and brought new attention to their wireless charging furniture. "Vintage" Ikea pieces have attracted the dollars of millennials with disposable income.
Bummed you missed out on the Jacksonville store opening? Another one is just around the corner. Ikea opens another store in the Dallas-Fort Worth-area on December 13. Start planning your trip now. You just might be lucky enough to get a free couch. ?