Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hell, Thy Name Is IKEA

We moved. We’re poor. Some of the furniture we’ve used since college finally fell apart. A trip to IKEA was in order.

I needed to bring my mother with me. When she decorates a room, it looks like this:

Everything coordinates. How odd...

When I decorate a room it looks like this:

Oh good! The carpet, sofa, AND coffee table match the plant! But why is that poor, disturbing
woman reading a book to a doll?

Problem is, no one else could watch after my kids, which meant they had to come with. Packing up the car for any extended journey with Toddler and Baby is like stocking up on supplies for a journey on the Oregon Trail. Who knows how long it might take, or what perils you may encounter? I hope I don’t have to shoot a buffalo; I’d only be able to carry back 200 pounds of meat.

So the four of us piled into the Conestoga wagon minivan, and headed into Schaumberg, IL where we drove in 38 circles and across 4 dimensions before finding the IKEA. Toddler lost a shoe in the minivan. I still don’t know where it is.

Then came the IKEA itself. I’ve been to several IKEA stores across the country, so I’m no stranger to the unique IKEA shopping experience.

They give you a little piece of note paper and a golf pencil to mark the aisles and bins where you can find your furniture. This would be useful if you were playing golf. I am not playing golf; I’m shopping. I brought my own green notebook and carefully wrote down all the details of everything I wanted in MY GIANT HANDWRITING.

I finally found my way through the maze of display rooms. We got nearly all the way to the first floor where they kept the flat boxes of furniture when I realized, I lost the green notebook.


My children were threatening atomic warfare. Also, they needed naps. So my mother took them to the minivan, and I started afresh. It was kind of like that joke about Pete and Repeat except instead of falling out of a boat I was falling into one of the giant bins, which may or may not have been a portal to the seventh layer of Hell.

Once again, I found myself on the ground floor staring at a mile-long expanse of shelves. After realizing I could not lift an 80 pound box by myself, I hunted down the only employee on the floor, a very helpful man named Carlos. He helped me lift my first box onto the flat cart, and then quickly retreated.

I soon realized why. By the time I found the next aisle where my next box was located, and found Carlos again, he was faced by a line of approximately 18 patrons clamoring for his strong back.

After he helped me again, he started to leave. WAIT! COME BACK CARLOS! DON’T LEAVE ME!

He left.

Eventually, I had everything I needed and went to check out. After checking out, I was told that there were three loading docks located this way:

There were many doors labeled “Exit.” There were zero doors labeled “Loading Dock.” I took my chances, and went through an exit. It turns out the exits are also the loading docks.

Just as before, I had to track down one employee several times before getting everything in the minivan. But in the end it was worth it. Because instead of looking like this:

Note: This photo is only representative of my living room. All my photos are of
my kids, not my living room.

My living room will look something like this:

It’s amazing how far you can get with an allen wrench and some Swedish design.


Lindsay Schultz @sayschu said...

Ah, Oregon Trail. I can't think of the game without picturing the old Apple computer in the corner of your parents' living room. The oxen were always dying. And it may be the only game where you can die of dysentery...

Stasha said...

I spend most of my twenties in various IKEA stores around the world wandering. My friends used to say it was like Breakfast in Tiffanys-simple girl edition.
Then I had a child. Apart from eating in peace while he is playing, there is nothing fun about IKEA with a preschooler.

Marianna Annadanna said...

What a joke! We used to drive fromHometown to the city for Ikea - it was like an adventure. Now I live in a city with an Ikea and you can't *pay* me to go.

Angela@BeggingTheAnswer said...

@Stasha - IKEA without children = heaven. IKEA with children = hell.

@Marianna - I miss being in a town with an IKEA nearby. The closest one to me is still about 2 hours away.