Long Weekend Reading: Ikea Trip From Hell Edition

Shipping and delivery comes to $160? Forget it!” That was my reaction to the idea of placing an online order for Ikea furniture to be delivered to our home in Lethbridge. Besides the high price tag, the items would also take weeks to arrive. I had to find another option. You see, we don’t have a truck, and the Billy bookshelves we wanted to order for our daughters’ rooms were too long to fit in our Sante Fe.

I thought I had a better idea. Rent a truck for the day, drive up to Calgary, pick up the bookshelves from Ikea (along with some other items while we’re at it), and come home to assemble the goods. The truck rental cost $94.95 and included unlimited miles. With gas I figured it would cost $145 altogether. Not much of a money saver, but we’d get the items faster and have a chance to look around the store.

Big mistake! I showed up at the rental car office and was told they didn’t have a truck for me. After waiting around for 30 minutes they managed to find a different truck – a comically large Dodge Ram 2500.

I did the walk-through, signed the paperwork (waiving the collision and damage coverage), and grabbed the keys. Vehicles were jam-packed in their parking lot, and the way the sales associate had parked the monstrosity I had to do an Austin Powers three-point turn to manoeuvre out of the lot.

I managed to get out of the lot and onto the road, but 10 minutes later the rental car office called and said I had damaged a vehicle in their lot. Apparently the back end of this tank had rubbed against the front bumper of a Ford Taurus, leaving behind some paint and causing slight damage to the bumper. $#@!

I checked the Dodge Ram for any signs of damage. Not a scratch. So we continued on with our trip and I would deal with the car damage and an insurance claim when I returned the truck the next morning.

Then we got to Ikea, which is busy enough on a Saturday, let alone the Saturday of a long weekend. Insane. Our plan was to drop the kids off at their play area, but the sheriff at the entrance refused to let my oldest daughter in because her hairline barely grazed the “you’re too tall for this place” measurement. Not wanting to leave her little sister alone, we lugged the kids around the store with us for two hours.

The next bit of trouble came after the check-out, when we discovered two items we grabbed from a $9.99 bin got charged at $34.99. We spent another 45 minutes standing at the returns counter while a team of disempowered associates stared at each other in disbelief that the items were even in the $9.99 bin in the first place.

When I finally got the price refunded we headed back to Lethbridge to assemble our furniture and await the next steps from the rental car fiasco.

I called American Express, who put me through to their insurance partner. After explaining the situation I discovered that the card’s rental car coverage excludes trucks and vans (!), and does not include damage to other property. So, essentially useless.

Now I need to open a claim with my own insurance provider to cover the damage to the Taurus. The estimated damage is unknown at this point, but I’m bracing for the worst and having to pay my deductible.

So much for a money saving trip to Ikea! Next time I’ll pay for shipping…

This Week’s Recap:

Here on Boomer & Echo this week I wrote about why we should stop asking $3 questions and start asking $30,000 questions.

Over on Rewards Cards Canada I explained how to level up your credit card rewards game with a few strategic new sign-ups each year.

In my Smart Money column at the Toronto Star I shared why TFSAs are an ideal way to save for the long term.

Finally, on the Young & Thrifty blog I looked at ESG, SRI, and impact investing and how they differ.

Promo of the Week:

Since I’ll be doing more online shopping in the future I thought I’d highlight two cash back websites that help me save on my online purchases. Whether it’s Amazon, Lululemon, or eBay, we always first check the cash back rebate available through one of these portals.

Become a member of Great Canadian Rebates and take advantage of online coupons and earn cash back rewards. GCR features over 400 merchants to satisfy all your shopping needs.

Ebates.ca pays you cash back every time you shop online, and it’s FREE to join. Sign up now and when you spend $25 you’ll earn a $5 cash back bonus.

Weekend Reading:

First, a huge shout-out to Ellen Roseman who wrote her final column for the Toronto Star last week. Ellen has been advocating for consumers for the past 20 years and her work has made a big impact on this financial blogger. Thanks Ellen, for standing up for consumer rights and holding companies accountable for their service.

Speaking of holding companies accountable, Capital One is the latest “victim” of data hacking with a breach that compromised more than 6 million people in Canada. Unfortunately the real victims will likely get several years of free credit monitoring and not much else for their loss of privacy.

A hedge fund manager pleaded guilty to securities fraud, lost his freedom, and found religion. He also found federal prison more forgiving than Connecticut high society.

This post in a site called The Outline asks, is it time to get rid of the lottery?

Michael James shares a painful lesson in cutting your losses short.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. New reports say Canada is set for a big drop in home prices:

“Canada is highly susceptible to a housing price correction in the near, but unknown future. This is due to the high price-income ratio and abnormal price-rent ratios having been a hard reality for some time now.”

The antidote to endless, thoughtless consumption? The life-changing magic of making do.

In his latest Common Sense Investing video, PWL Capital’s Ben Felix explains whether investing in the S&P 500 is a good idea:

And here’s Dan Bortolotti answering a reader question about whether Millennial couch potatoes should consider an all-equity portfolio.

Behavioural finance professor Lisa Kramer writes that financial advisors are just as susceptible to behavioural biases as investors.

A guest post on the Cut the Crap Investing blog looks at the three most common mistakes Canadian investors make.

Should you cut stocks, or add to them? Morningstar looks at this key dilemma for your retirement plan.

How to place buy and sell orders for your ETFs? Dale Roberts has you covered.

Just how different are Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers at work? Despite our typical stereotypes, this Harvard Business Review article says the difference are smaller than you think.

Finally, Refinery29 brings its popular and often controversial Money Diaries to Canada, where its first profile features a week in Toronto on a $40,000 salary.

Enjoy what’s left of the long weekend, everyone!

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  1. Christian on August 5, 2019 at 8:14 am

    Amongst all the credit cards your currently holding, not one of them would cover the truck situation?

    • Robb Engen on August 5, 2019 at 9:13 am

      Apparently not! I charged the vehicle rental to my Amex Platinum card, too, which you’d think would have top notch coverage. I’ll do some research into the other cards to see which has broader car rental coverage, because this was beyond useless for my situation.

  2. Michael James on August 5, 2019 at 8:19 am

    I got hit with the accident-in-the-rental parking lot scam once before. I know I didn’t hit anything because I had a buddy guiding me through the 23-point turn to get out of the parking space. The “discussion” with the rental people got pretty loud. Every other place I’ve rented a truck or van, they bring it out to the front for me. I guess that’s the difference between a legitimate business and scammers.

    • Robb Engen on August 5, 2019 at 9:19 am

      You know, the skeptic in me wonders if I’ve been played by the rental car company. I definitely didn’t notice that I bumped into anything, there’s absolutely no damage to the truck, and it took them 10-15 minutes to call me about it. Unless there’s video footage?!?

      We’ll see how this all plays out when I hear back from my insurer tomorrow.

  3. MikeW on August 5, 2019 at 11:00 am

    I once bought a bookcase at Ikea too and took a chance I would be able to fit all the parts into a Corolla sedan.

    I packed my son into his car seat and took all the short shelves and fit them into the trunk. The long pieces I was able to put sideways besides the doors in the car.

    If the long boards did not fit I would have had a problem.

    Made it home to assemble the book case with my son who was five hammering the nails for the backboard.

    I was able to avoid the truck rental or the delivery charges.

    Life is an adventure.

    • Robb Engen on August 5, 2019 at 7:25 pm

      Hi Mike, what’s life without a little risk, right? We did all the measurements and knew this wouldn’t fit in our car…and definitely not with the kids in the back.

  4. Cheryl on August 5, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Maybe you could have put an ad in the gigs column of Calgary Craigslist for someone with a truck to meet you at IKEA and drive your purchase to Lethbridge for $100. We had a Ford 250 with the extra cab and that was enormous to drive and maneuver around. I lost a huge board out the back once. Didn’t notice until I got home. The other boards were still there. I thought I heard a clatter in the bed but saw nothing in the mirrors. Just figured they were shifting around, not jumping ship!

    • Robb Engen on August 5, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      Hi Cheryl, yes – we could have tried something like that. The link TJ posted below, that would have been perfect.

      Thankfully all of our furniture stayed in the back…I had visions of losing something on the highway to top off a lousy day.

  5. TJ on August 5, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    https://kurier.ca A Lethbridge based company that will process your order, deliveries and even assemble furniture.

    • Robb Engen on August 5, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      Amazing – thanks for this! Now to find a time machine…

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