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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Went to IKEA and Lived to Tell About It

Last Saturday I decided it was high time I paid a visit to the place I've been hearing so much about lately. Seriously, every time I turn around somebody somewhere is talking about some treasure they scored for a bargain price at the wonderful world of IKEA. 

There is one in Charlotte, which is right at an hour's drive for us so as I was busy cleaning house Saturday morning and supervising chores I announced to Devin that we were going to Charlotte when we got done.  He moaned and groaned when I told him we were going to a furniture store followed by a grocery store because I had great expectations of also checking out a Trader Joe's, another fine chain I've been hearing so much about and that also supposedly has some great vegetarian selections.  

Living in a small town does have its advantages but a vast selection of retail stores and fine dining establishments is not among them.

Devin immediately got on the phone and called his popaw to line up going fishing after their chores were done and I'm not gonna lie, I was all kinds of okay with that because taking those two on a shopping trip to Charlotte is not my idea of a good time.  I'm just saying. 

He apparently told Dracen that I told them they couldn't go in order to assure that he would go fishing with him and Popaw instead of to the great big city with the likes of us (they have a bit of a love/hate relationship, those two) because he told Charlie as such.  And we just left well enough alone since he would have likely chosen fishing anyway.  

It was two o'clock by the time we got out of the house and I didn't realize just how little energy I had left after the housework which involved my vacuuming and mopping the entire house because I think I nodded off about five times on the way down there. 

When we finally arrived at the IKEA Blvd Exit, I perked up and may have uttered a four letter word or two when I saw how massive this institution was because I had sure as heck not opted for sensible walking shoes.  I had no clue!  I was half serious when I asked Charlie if we'd have to be taken to the door on one of those little tram cars because what with the sixteen thousand cars in the parking lot and the ginormous flags out front and atop the building, it looked more like an amusement park than a home furnishings store.  
And here I just thought they sold furniture. 

There were people everywhere!  Charlie quick grabbed a giant yellow parachute bag to strap over this cart thingy and I got in line for a FREE membership card mainly because I had no idea what to do or which way to go and because it looked like the logical way to go.  After I finally got my turn at the machine, entered my full name, address and criminal history and had my card in hand we were ready to roll!  

"Which way should we go?" I asked. "To the left? To the right? Up the escalator? Oh wait, we have that cart (that horrible, awful, rickety cart that is making more noise than the neighbor's leaf blower).  We'd better take the stairs...No, no wait.  Let's just see what's in this room.  Oh for heaven's sake, let's leave that flippin' buggy here!  I'm sure we can get another one later if we need it!"   

Charlie gladly obliged because that thing just truly was that annoying.  I had no idea he also possesses the same knack for picking the most rickety loud ass buggy in the store as I do.  It really is a curse.  

After we ditched that sucker and I saw that the room we were in looked like nothing more than a bunch of dishes, we hit the escalator that promised to take us up to the "furniture showroom" but was surprised to also see a monster food court/restaurant area.  WTH?  I was overwhelmed.  And not really in a good way. 

I think we got to going the wrong way a few times because I nearly got taken out by a lamp and a bouncing toddler once or twice.  "Oh crap!  Look, there are arrows on the floor.  We're going the wrong dang way! HELP!"  

About an hour in, I was complaining of my aching feet, my growling tummy and my throbbing head and Charlie was cracking jokes, Moo-ing and saying something about feeling like cattle and "Which way's the water park?!" 

I was not really impressed with the lack of character and the way too modern for my taste look of most of the furniture but for some strangely odd and unknown reason (I think it was something they were pumping into the air vents) I could not pull myself away from that place before I had explored every single square foot and there was no way, no how I was coming outta there empty-handed.  

Insane, right? I know, I know.  But I had to have something to show for my efforts.  This could not all be in vain.  I deserved a bargain for this and I was darn well gonna get one!  After we made our way back down to the first floor I quickly snagged up this little treasure...
No, it's not a horse toothbrush.  I don't own a horse and I felt a little ridiculous carrying that one little thing around when everyone else had lots and lots of STUFF.  It's for cleaning my gas stove burners because Woo Hoo! I just love to clean!  Okay, not really but the burners do need a good scrubbing and this just seemed like the perfect thing.  Charlie, clearly delirious by this point, begins laughing hysterically and asking where the toothpaste is to go with our toothbrush.  

We really weren't drinking, y'all. I swear.  

In the end, we made it out through the self-checkout alive, each in one piece and totin' two bathmats, two lightweight cheaply-made table lamps for the bonus room and our very own Mr. Ed toothbrush.  But we never did find the toothpaste and I don't think I have to tell you that Trader Joe's didn't happen either. 

I try to make it a point to never say never but if there ever is a next time, I'm getting a full twelve hours of sleep first, packing a picnic and wearing some Dr. Scholl's because pulling off a successful trip to IKEA is some serious business, my friends.  Serious biz-ness.      

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  1. I had your sentiments exactly.

    I love to shop, but that place is way to overwhelming for me!

  2. I can remember the first time I went to the IKEA in Atlanta. I was like WTH and my husband had a look on his face like "Oh crap what have you gotten me into". It is an experience. I have found some cool things there, but yes it is crazy and yes you will get run over.

  3. We took my daughter to that same Ikea. It is overwhelming but she had already been there and picked out the furniture she wanted. Only the finest in self assembled furniture for my family! We looked at a whole lot more stuff than I ever wanted to. I am more Early American than contemporary so they didnt have an office desk that I liked.

    Did you see the 300+ square foot apartments they had designed up? They were kinda cool but I wouldnt be able to breathe.

    Trader Joes was just 3 miles down 85 from there.

  4. Yeah, not the biggest fan of IKEA.

    My first experience I had picked out what I needed (FireGirl's toddler bed) online, checked its availability at the store, and went expecting to walk in, get it, & walk out. I had no idea the store was set up in a way that forced you to walk FIVE MILES just to get out.

    If I had known, I would not have worn 3 inch heels.

    We went back a second time to again get something very specific. More comfortable shoes, but still not thrilled.

    The only good time I've had there was when I went with a couple of girlfriends. None of us had anything specific to get, we all wore comfortable shoes and planned to spend the entire day there. That worked out well, although combined we probably only spent about $20. It was way more about the socializing.

  5. I was so afraid reading this post. Everything in my house except living being was purchased at IKEA. I was so excited to see they now carry horse toothbrushes because that was the one thing I had to purchase at a local store :)
    Next time you should eat there and put the kid in childcare!!

  6. I wish Charlotte wasn't quite so far for me, because I'm dying to get to an IKEA. They keep putting them in towns right after I move away from them. It's not right!

  7. I went to Ike's once and can't figure out the draw. Been to trader joes once and can't figure out that draw either. Guess I'm just a plain gal who likes Walmart. I can't believe I just typed that.

  8. Never been to IKEA (the closest one is an hour away) and I have to say, I'm not planning a trip soon.

    Trader Joes is good though. Not my favorite, but a great specialty grocery store. :)

  9. This is hysterical.
    Ikea is a weird maze of sensory overload.
    We went to one in Michigan. Left with absolutely nothing. Zero.
    And we spent hours in there!!

  10. I was all set to comment on your photos above when I saw the title of the post below.

    I almost went with my mom to Tampa last week, but since I'd flown, there was that whole, "how will I get it home?" dilemma. It's on my list for next week while the kids are gone. I LOVE IKEA and it's totally worth the 3 hour ride and ridiculous cost of gas (although I get so much better mileage on the highway that I will probably use less gas to get there an back then I would if I had to drive to and from work every day!)

  11. I'm in love with Ikea. I think it has more to do with the Swedish food and drinks I can buy at the end of the shopping day, though! I have a soft spot for Sweden, their lingon berries and their viking ships! My favorite chairs did come from Ikea, though. On clearance! :)