When Ikea opened in our town a number of years ago, I thought it would be fun to check it out. What I didn’t know was that the store is set up so that you are shuttled through every single section until you reach the end. You are swept along in one relentless flow through department after department, with no sense of When It Will All Be Over. You are surrounded by shoppers just as lost and helpless as you. A sense of panic permeates the entire space, seemingly emanating from everyone all at once. Cut to me frantically trying to find my way out of the maze, eventually wrangling the kiddos into a shopping cart, which I used as a battering ram to push my way through the crowd and out of the store, vowing never to go there again.
Yet we began to notice that whenever we’d compliment friends on their latest home acquisition, they’d say something like, “We just got it at Ikea. Isn’t Ikea wonderful?” And I’d tell them about my little maze story, and they’d laugh politely but exchange meaningful glances, which I interpreted to mean Obviously, She Needs to Get With The Program Because Ikea Is Everything.
The number one thing we wanted was a lack of clutter in our lives, and the Expedit bookshelves seemed to be everywhere, calling to us, so one day we found ourselves headed to Ikea. The second time was far better, I must admit. Husband had the get-me-out-of-here look on his face this time but *I*, now a shopper with one whole Ikea experience under my belt, was calm, motivated, and focused. I’d even discovered a few shortcuts that eliminated the flow-through-every-department rigamarole. The result: we walked out with several new bookshelves, and soon the clutter at home was contained, which was every bit as glorious as we’d imagined it would be.
That’s not to say that there weren’t a few issues along the way. For example: the adorable and affordable drawers for the bookshelves called Drona Boxes, which nowadays you can buy in a variety of colors, but before only came in pink and black. And the black ones just flew out of the stores. And you couldn’t buy them on the website. And both the pink and the black had the same stock number, so even if the website said there were 100 in stock, they might all be pink. The only way to know if the black boxes were in stock was either to drive over and look with your own eyes (which I did five times only to find a sea of pink boxes taunting me) or to call and beg an Ikea worker to look before you drove over (which I did once). Finally, on about the tenth drop-in, I found what had started to seem like mythical black boxes and stocked up. A happy ending, but I wouldn’t mind having the 467 hours it took me to find them back.
Also, putting the bookshelves together using the mystifying illustrated instructions, which look all cute and do-able at first glance, in a Super Easy Instructions For All! kind of way, proved more challenging than anticipated, but we did it.
Lastly, when we needed more bookshelves, we found out that Expedits had been discontinued. So. There was that.
Still, we love our (now slightly mismatched) bookshelves! So much love! (In fact, I probably should have just written a poem about the bookshelves instead of recounting this whole sorry saga.) And occasionally, I will even brave Ikea by myself these days–such as with the Great Sofa Pillow Replacement Project of 2015. But that’s a whole different story.
Are you an Ikea Fan or Not a Fan? Or somewhere in between?