How to Visit IKEA

The Awakening: Wake up in the morning with a sense of excitement. You’re going to a very special place today!

Go about your activities – bathing, dressing, eating – thinking about things like the excessive amount of syllables in Swedish words or who decided Ligonberries should be made into juice for the masses. Keep an idea of what you’re looking for in your head, however. Remember: it’s a big store. You need to leave early.

Let that idea fly out the window when you get an interruption. Maybe your mother calls. Maybe your cat has a full-scale freak out. Maybe it starts to rain frogs. When confronted with this roadblock, you think “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” and get on with the business at hand.

The Arrival: Look at you! You just crawled (okay, not literally) along one of the busiest highways in your nation to get to a mammoth blue and yellow building on the edge of a major city. You are at IKEA!

Well, you’re in the parking lot. You need to find a place to put your car. Curse your interruption for making you leave hours later than you planned. Finally pull to the rows of parking near the pick-up area on the west side of the building and find a parking spot in between a Ford Freestar and a Toyota Sienna. Look around and notice that the parking lot is comprised of SUV’s and minivans. Feel inferior in your compact sedan of choice. Realize you did not bring out the big guns to bring home some flat packed furniture today.

The Reckoning: Walk through the front doors. Glide up the escalator along with your party and find… everyone in this area code. And several others in your metro area. You haven’t been in this big of a crowd since Grant Park in ’08. (And Grant Park, the last time you checked, isn’t an enclosed space.)

Sally forth. Grab a couple of pencils while you’re at it. You’re on the first floor. You ignore the floor vibrating beneath your feet.

See sofas in every color. Ask yourself if you wanted a couch. While you had a list in the parking lot, it vanished once you found yourself in the scrum of Karlstads and Kiviks.

Sit down on an Ektorp. While you and yours had considered buying the couch long ago, sitting on it made you veto the purchase. You wonder why you wanted to come here in the first place, but you strike that thought from your head.

Now that your strength is back, you drift in a counterclockwise fashion through the floor. All the product names start to blend together. You can’t tell your Poangs from your Hemnes. The floor starts to vibrate harder.

Rub elbows with a United Nations of bargain shoppers. Wonder if they’re swearing at you in Spanish, Polish, German and Tamil. You find yourself in departments and have no idea  how you got there. You could be in the kitchen department, you could be looking at stuff for the children you don’t have. It’s all relative now!

You start picking up items from displays with plans to buy them, forgetting about the clock, pepper grinder, bookshelves and pillows you wanted to look at this morning. The magazine holder will have to do.

You reach the top floor and look out the window. See that red dot? It’s your car! Two miles away!

Finally, you physically come back down to the first floor. You reach the checkouts, where people are buying bookshelves and chairs and beds and kitchens and workstations to fill those huge cars. You feel sheepish carrying the aforementioned magazine holder and a pack of cards from the Holiday section.

Pay your $12 bill. Feel a sense of relief akin to the people on the last plane out of Saigon.

Driving away, you think of IKEA’s old slogan: “Home is the Most Important Place in the World.” You realize they why they say this – no one you know shares their home with thousands of people daily.

(Photo by Dawn Endico on Flickr.)

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One response to “How to Visit IKEA

  1. Pingback: Eight Arms to Hold You: A Tribute to IKEA « Seventh Ward Photography

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