One IKEA Location Is Letting People Pay with Time Instead of Money

published Feb 18, 2020
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A trip to IKEA can be time-consuming. We’re not just talking about the time spent shopping, but with many stores located on the outskirts of cities, also the time spent getting there.

That’s why IKEA, to reward its customers for making the journey, has announced a campaign called “Buy With Your Time,” which lets you buy products with a unique currency based on time. Here’s how it works, and it’s actually pretty simple:

The currency can be calculated by using Google Maps Timeline, which records past routes. Upon arriving at IKEA, just show an employee the time it took you to get there, and they’ll convert the minutes (or hours, if traffic is really bad) into cash. So, in this case, time literally is money.

The campaign is currently only available in IKEA’s Jebel Ali store in Dubai. According to Engadget, basing the “exchange rate” on the average Dubai salary, an hour of travel is said to be equivalent to AED 105 (about $28), which could get you a free LACK coffee table. An almost-two-hour drive will net you a Billy bookcase, while a five-minute trip will be enough to get you a veggie hotdog.

“We think it’s only right to reward our customers’ efforts by repaying them for the time spent reaching us,” an IKEA spokesperson said. “It’s our way of helping the Dubai community make the most of every minute.”

The promotion is, in a way, brilliant in that it encourages us to make more trips to IKEA, and more trips mean more actual money spent on new stuff. But then again, new stuff plus a free veggie hotdog, who’ll say no to that?