This is part two, where we actually reach IKEA. For part one, go here.
From the taco shop, we headed to the arboretum to take in the fall colors and remember that we live in a world, and we get all philosophical about how people used to leave their shit behind to come to a landscaped version of Nature and regenerate But, now they bring their smart phones to take selfies and at what point does it stop being nature when you bring technology with you? (Yes, we realize the irony in our pictures.)
Fully invigorated by Nature, we held each other for a bit, hoping it wasn’t the last time, and headed to IKEA. Our main goal was to get some lighting, hooks, and a shelf, but we were open to other items that would help.
The IKEA store in Minnesota is next to the Mall of America. It’s a huge blue box of a building with ginormous yellow letters IKEA. It’s so ostentatious that Becky and I have an in joke that never gets old when we happen to take the road past the store. “Hon, I feel like we could use some furniture, but do you know where we could find some?” “Nope. Not around here anyway.”
This time, we were heading to the store. Voluntarily. Warily.
We parked, looked at each other, and took a deep breath.
Becky here: The first indication that this is not a place for us happened in the parking lot. EVERY single child was screaming, whether going in or coming out. It was an omen, man. A fucking omen.
We followed the general flow of foot traffic up the escalator and began our journey, armed with a pencil, order form, and ruler. The journey began.
Becky again: NEVER go to a place that forces you to give up your free will. The second you enter the doors, you have to get on the escalator. There was no choice in it. What if I forgot something in my car and wanted to go reclaim it? Nope, not in the IKEA world. That item is dead to you. You must go up escalator. You must go up escalator. You must go up escalator.
Then you receive a panic attack because you didn’t walk over to the stand at the door as you entered. You realize everyone around you has pencils and crap in their hands. You didn’t grab any of that stuff. You didn’t know you were supposed to. It’s like a nightmare, you are the only one of these pod people who didn’t grab the paper work, and IKEA knows. They know. So when I saw another one of the stands, I grabbed the order form, ruler, pencil and map with abandon. I was NOT going to be caught in IKEA without whatever they force you to have in your hand in the store.
The most aggravating part of this entire experience is for the first floor, which is the second floor, (serious Willy Wonka type shit) the ENTIRE first or second floor, Joel stayed calm. CALM. Nothing made sense. You didn’t know if you were supposed to pick up shit in one place on that floor or the warehouse. And I kept seeing stuff and wondering, do we need that lamp that looks like an exploding atomic bomb? We must. It’s here; we MUST need it. And I would wonder if we need the blonkenfucker to complete our lives. At these times, I would force Joel to sit down at a dining room table with me and go over our list, again and again and again. A few yoga breaths later, and we would be back at it. Only to see a balooningenberry that we NEEDED for the bathroom.
IKEA is HELL. Yet, I really wanted those silver candlesticks, I mean either the Skimmer or the Blomster or even the Sittning for our Christmas decorations.
I kept my bad jokes to a minimum, unlike this guy.
IKEA’s general layout is a one track maze, with turns every 50 feet to keep customers “interested” and also hide how freaking much store is left. The path goes along past tons of living rooms and kitchens, like a staged house dissected and splayed out for study in a Frankenstein fashion.
Everything has a tag with the name and where you can find that item – sometimes in a bin later in the store, sometimes in the warehouse. Arrows keep you moving in the right direction. It’s not long until you are aware of the people around you and how you keep seeing them for several hours, unlike any other store.
I called these strangers our IKEA clan. The key to getting out was to stick together. We had to stay with our clan!!!!
IKEA also makes you walk through the entire store before you leave. Sure, they say they have shortcuts around the place, but they are very difficult to spot, and we had no clue if we would be skipping the place where the things we’d spotted would be available for grabbing.
After a half hour, we came across our first map. We’d only covered about 5% of it. I chose not to show Becky where we were on the map and how we hadn’t gone anywhere. Her anxiety / panic / hyperventilating was to the point where I wasn’t sure how far we were really going to make it. If we were going to get out of there before midnight, we’d have to pick up our pace!
IKEA also has tarpy bags all over so you can carry the shit you find. I gradually became weighted down with hooks and various other bric a brak we picked up – a blue bathmat that will fit our eventually Tardis themed bathroom, a brush to clean glasses, various catalogs for further study. We did have a few tense discussions about a small bookshelf before moving on. Eventually we got through to the cafeteria. Which is the halfway point. We had a whole other floor to explore.
IKEA’s just a genius of a store. You have to walk by everything. So much of it is ridiculously inexpensive, so you end up getting two of most things because hell if you want to come back later to get another one. And they demonstrate all their products, which will inevitably answer questions about storage you’ve had for several weeks concerning the ridiculously deep kitchen cabinets that are hard to use. The beds looked pretty good, and might be an option next time we need a mattress. The couches, less so – too angular. I guess that’s a reaction to people wanting to perch laptops on the arms of the couch – but I’m not a fan of the ergonomics of that, plus I like a couch I can lay on without an edge to navigate.
We sensed the end of the store after another hour. The warehouse doors opened. Becky was on her last legs of energy. I hoped I could go get our stuff and return to get her, but no luck. The only way out of the store was through the warehouse. We picked up our shelf and a fabric screen to segment one of our rooms in the warehouse, exactly where promised. But I could see some empty shelves and knew I would be furious if the thing I had noted was not available after 3 hours of wandering through the store.
Joel brings up such a great point. “The thing I had noted.” What the fuck? Seriously? Somehow we relinquish all that is familiar and historical in American shopping and note words that aren’t words on a piece of paper with a fucking miniature golf pencil to get these items in a warehouse, that may not even be in the warehouse. We take these heavy flat packages and put them into the cart to take home and build incorrectly. One of our lamps, oh I’m sorry, one of our Alangs, has a high pitched squeal when we turn it on. Why? We bought 2 and the other Alang is fine. Joel attempted to get help for this problem. But IKEA didn’t answer. IKEA didn’t care. Why have we let IKEA invade our lives???
Seriously, I really do think I need at least 5 sliver sittnings for our buffet table as Christmas decorations.
Yes, it was a 3.5-hour excursion for lamps, shelves and hooks. We went through the checkout, got some lingonberry flavored soda, and headed out into the night. Our last planned event, a pumpkin luminary walk, we scrapped in order to go home and recover.