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Hey Bjorn, I’ve Got Your Umlaut Right Here: My Visit To Ikea.

Ikea has been open in my area for at least a year.

When this giant retailer announced that they deigned to sell their stuff here in North Carolina, the local media went into a frenzy. That was enough to make me decide to never go there. My committment to my personal boycott was cemented by every story of how wonderful the store would be and the people lining up days in advance for the privilege of shopping there first.

Then came the fateful discussion with good friends about how it would be helpful for my son to have a footlocker in his college dorm room. The fruitless search for this trunk lead to a helpful person who said “I know they have them at Ikea, I go there three times a week.”

The die was cast. Based on the word of an Ikea cult member, I would violate my boycott for my son. I’d go to the ends of the earth for that guy. I’d even go to Ikea.

Here is what I learned from my experience.

Ikea is Swedish for…

…home of the glassy-eyed shuffle.

No one walks in Ikea. Most shuffle through, slack-jawed and staring.

The Ikea Shuffle is partly due to the fact that something approximating the population of Vermont is passing through the building at any one time. The other contributing factor is that Vermont is being forced through a maze of stuff. There is no other way to sort out what is inside that place. It is a giant maze of house stuff.

There are maps and departments, but with a horde the size of Manchester on your heels it is impossible to navigate through the building. The people stopped in the aisles to examine the latest in pillow technology don’t help either.

Ikea is Swedish for…

…a lot of redesigned stuff that didn’t need redesigning.

This is my spatula. I think it is a Rübbërmäïd.

The spatula has been the same reliable instrument since the time of the first King of Sweden, Eric the Victorious. The spatula has two parts, the flat thing and the handle. There is only so much you can do to change the spatula. A spatula is a spatula, even if you rename it späätulä.

The same principle applies to any other of the household goods jammed into the Ikea maze.

Ikea is Swedish for…

… I am lost.

Hey, excuse me there, my liege...

Suppose you were alive in the day of Eric the Victorious. If you were lost in his castle you could have said to him, “excuse me my liege, I’m Ikea.”  King Eric would have walked you right to the drawbridge.

We found an employee who told us there were no footlockers in the store.  No longer having a mission at Ikea, we decided to leave. That was no easy task.

Retracing our steps didn’t work. Following exit signs didn’t work. Eventually we found another employee and asked how we could leave. Her response was simple and to the point.

“Do you have any merchandise?” was her response. I considered telling her I had a case of woks in my pants, but opted for a simple no. I just wanted to avoid an international incident and go home.  She directed us to a door that was labeled with the company equivalent of employees only. It led to the back of a playground built into the store …and daylight.

Once again a free man, I have reinstated my boycott. I won’t go back.

If you were keeping score at home, you know the final score was not even close.

Späätuläs 15, Foot Lockers 0.

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Update: Kate, whose  writes the primo blog called Punch It In, just shot me a related link in comments that is a can’t miss whether you love or hate Ikea. Enjoy the quiz…Ikea Product or Swedish Olympian. I got a 55%.  Go read some Kate first.

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187 Comments on “Hey Bjorn, I’ve Got Your Umlaut Right Here: My Visit To Ikea.”

  1. Brooke says:

    I’ve never been to Ikea either. I get lost on their website so I can only imagine how annoying it is to navigate it with other people. I happened to love the lesson in spatulas.

  2. Hippie Cahier says:

    Lightning strikes again. Congratulations!

    I know someone who enjoys going through IKEA and pointing to the names of the products and saying with great authority, (for example) “Ektorp. That’s Swedish for cheap piece of .”

  3. pattypunker says:

    a no merchandise exit? so you missed the swedish meatballs in the exit cafe? ikea fail.

  4. xacrest says:

    I don’t imagine this says a lot for your friend the cult member’s ability to convert nonbelievers. except the ones who like spatulas, that is ;)

  5. sylviangirl says:

    The only reason to ever go to Ikea is for a hotdog. Best. Hotdgos. Ever. (At my local ikea anyway) ;)

    http://sylviangirl.wordpress.com/

  6. I used to love Ikea. Then suddenly, one day I had an epiphany, that “Ikea” means “This is my first apartment! If I can’t spend money, I will at least own things with strange names!” The maze thing is another topic entirely. One day I seriously considered lying down on the floor until an employee came along to see what the roadblock was about and could lead me to safety (exit).

    • That is exactly how IKEA was viewed in the early 70s in Germany. It was furniture for dorm rooms. I can’t for the life of me get used to the idea that adults with jobs actually furnish their homes with that stuff.

      I happen to know the head of their international marketing department. She’s good!

    • omawarisan says:

      I wish I’d thought of the lying down strategy. I was worried about being run over by someones shopping caarte!

  7. Confusing though it may be, the Ikea near me has live jazz bands on Tuesday nights and even though it might take me several hours to find them in the store I’m always impressed that a store like that would support local bands. Besides, Swedish words are fun. Great post! Made me laugh!

  8. I LOVE Ikea simply for the fact that I UNDERSTAND the names of the items (haha, that’s right, I speak Swedish!) and that makes it NOT funny, but just practical :) Anyway, I can understand your “lost-in-furnitureland” but think about us Europeans, i mean, I had NIGHTMARES after having visited my first Wallmarts!!! I dreamt that everything was GIANT and I was falling into this Giant whole full of food-crap in a Giant trolley… shit man! Anyway, would you ever need translations for your purchases (IKEA), let me know :P

  9. Betty says:

    I will visit IKEA once a year, typically in late May when no one is thinking about furnishing a college dorm and only first thing on a Tuesday morning. That’s the only way to avoid a crowd.

    • omawarisan says:

      I made a tactical error. This was a saturday afternoon.

      Betty, your visitor is on her way!

      • Betty says:

        Will she have a weekend bag packed? I plan to bring her along on Saturday night when I get together with fellow 1979 high school grads at a yacht club. Not my usual scene, but I wonder if her attire will be permitted or if I should borrow a Barbie preppy-boater outfil from the Urban Warrior’s daughter.

        • omawarisan says:

          Well…how about “in a sandwich bag, she is packed”? She does have a backpack on, but I never saw what was in there.

          Ahh…’79 that was a fine year to be heading out into “the real world” wasn’t it? I remember much of that summer. By much, I mean parts.

  10. CrystalSpins says:

    “I’d go to the ends of the earth for that guy. I’d even go to Ikea.”

    Ha hha ha ha ah! Love it!

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hilarious! Ikea may very well be the “McDonalds” of home decor, but the Swedish meatballs alone are worth the trip! Of course if you’re into Scandinavian design and want quality, then you can go to some place like Bo Concept and pay big $$$ for it…the coffee’s free but you won’t get any meatballs–for a footlocker I’d suggest trying the Army surplus store, or perhaps you could just “google” it…Cheers!

  12. jesswu720 says:

    should have at least gotten some Swedish meatballs while you were there – they are fantastic and need no reinventing :]

  13. ldorazio1 says:

    Great post: there has to be an article somewhere about the naming conventions of these products. For example, what exactly makes a bureau a “Journalist” or an “Oscar” or “Doktor”.

  14. I always wind up with some shelves, a gagillion candles and three jars of that weird, Swedish jelly. None of which I ever need. You’re smart to steer clear!

  15. My experience in Ikea was while living in Germany. (I’m American). The best part for me was always the hot dogs at the end! :)

  16. The Ikea shuffle…so true! You forgot the part about the staring aimlessly, slack jawed, at the multitudes of ‘redesigned’ merchandise…pupils dilated, odd noises being emitted from vocal chords.

    We do not have an Ikea yet – but the city is actually re-designing the roadways for the Ikea that is coming. Improving traffic for our city dwellers apparently wasn’t enough of a reason.

    My sense is that the heavens will apparently open and Handel’s Hallelujah chorus be heard on the day of the opening. LOL!

  17. I’ve never been to an Ikea. I dont know if I should, sounds dangerous!

  18. We don’t have an IKEA in my area…it’s probably a good thing, because I’ve heard you need to be a mechanical whiz to put together the furniture you buy there…

    I recently visited our much ballyhooed new Costco for the first time: now I can sleep at night – I have 300 ZipLoc freezer bags in two different sizes, and a giant jar of olives my fiancé wanted (just so he could HAVE a giant jar of olives!). I don’t even like olives…

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Have subscribed and will be reading more of your archives when I’m not so busy…

    Cheers!

    Wendy

  19. Pauline says:

    “I know they have them at Ikea, I go there three times a week.”

    What are they some kind of masochist? Seriously, being in any box store for a long time makes me want to slit my wrists, nevermind one that sells stuff that falls apart months later!

  20. Hahaha. You are right on all accounts. I use to work next door to an Ikea and was sent on a run to pick something up for work. After consulting 3 people, checking the map twice, and getting a Swedish to English translation I found what I was looking for, but that wasn’t the hard part. On the way out I got lost for about 45 minutes trying to follow the “shortcut” signs out that just kept looping me back to random areas nowhere near the registers or exit.

  21. All those different rooms are fun to play around in, get naughty with your date, play hide and seek, or rearrange stuff. I’ve never bought anything there, though.

  22. bradenbost says:

    You have demonstrated an interesting phenomenon that I often see among people, including myself–though I try to avoid it now that I’m aware of it. I’m talking about this attitude of “I know nothing about this new, popular thing; everyone else talks about it, everyone else likes it/is excited about it, so I feel left out and will instead decide to dismiss it as overhyped and pointless and decree that everyone who enjoys it is confused at best.” A good recent example was the show Lost, where there was a huge number of people who got into the show and talked about it a lot, and then there were those who never saw it, or had too much hype hit them in the face before they finally did watch it, that decided the show was just stupid and anyone who likes it doesn’t understand good TV. It also happens with music, social movements, restaurants, department stores (obviously), and just about anything else (I remember a guy in high school refused to drink Surge because it was so popular at the time–”Surge sucks.” “Have you tried it?” “I don’t need to; it sucks”).

    Now, of course, the easiest justification for this is the claim that there’s too much “hype” for the subject in question, but there’s more to it than that in these kinds of situations. Plenty of people find themselves let down from something being over-hyped, but that’s quite different from “boycotting” something because of excessive news coverage and local excitement. What seems to be happening is a combination of 1) finding one’s identity in their opinions, 2) operating out of the assumption that popular = bad, and 3) at least a little bit of a superiority complex.

    . . . sorry for writing a blog in your blog. I’ve noticed this sort of thing for years and am fascinated by it, so naturally I come to discuss it. So, anyway . . . thanks for the post. Have a good one!

  23. Very amusing. I happen to like Ikea, though I can’t say why except for the prices and the AWESOME cinnamon rolls.

    One thing that drives me batty about it is that you CANNOT purchase a gift certificate on line. You have to call or visit a store. Well, the nearest store a few weeks ago was 100 miles away, but when I tried to call I was on hold forever. Senselessly, a recorded voice would occasionally come on and say, “It’s faster and easier to use the website!” Well, you can’t buy a gift certificate on the website, people! Worse, another recorded voice told me that if I want to buy a gift certificate I should call 456-IKEA. Hello, I was already ON THE PHONE WITH 456-IKEA!!

    It was Kafkaesque, I hung up and gave up. I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and purchased a gift certificate from there instead.

    I then wrote to Ikea at their online “contact us” form telling them they sucked and that they’d just lost a customer. The response? “Thank you for your recent email. We look forward to your continued patronage.”

    AAAUUUGHHHH!!!! And yet, I know the siren song of the spatula and the scent of the cinnamon rolls will seduce me yet again to those blue and yellow doors….

  24. melaniebooth says:

    I have a friend who says “Ikea is Swedish for ‘that will do’.”

  25. If you’re gonna brave Ikea, you have to have a game plan. Know what you want and get in and out. It may be a giant corporate suck hole, but you can’t beat Ikea for inexpensive furniture that is easy on the eyes, especially in these harsh economic times.

  26. tsanda says:

    oma, give me your magic beans you are on the main page yet again! who do I have to **** around her to get on the main page….hopefully ben affleck he is wonderful…
    as for ikea i have never been but denver is about to get a giant ikea store…i’ve been sleeping outside of it for months waiting. I can’t wait to get a lovely coffee table…for my coffee

  27. thecodger says:

    I’ve been to that store before as well, because my grandson Max wanted some furniture from there. Personally, I didn’t enjoy it, although the meal at the cafeteria was good.

    The Codger

    http://thecodger.wordpress.com/

  28. I don’t know if it’s like this in all IKEA stores, but the ones in London all have arrows on the floor. Aisles are one way – no darting into the store to pick up something in a hurry!
    And I agree about the hotdogs. They are so tasty (although perhaps it’s the pricetag!)
    I’m also a random writer:

    http://playerpianosara.wordpress.com/

  29. bmj2k says:

    I’m the guy who reads every tag and says “this is pronounced kr-UUUUUMMMMMMMM-vlat” and “that’s a be-jorgan-struuumer.”

  30. I’ve never had an issue navigating an Ikea store. Having one path through the store seems logical enough. It’s too bad you spoke to one of the clueless employees; I bought a footlocker there not too long ago.

  31. Only victims of the IKEA war machine can truly understand what has been said here. Great post! Now…off to my IKEA victims support group.

  32. Melissa says:

    I love a once a year adventure to IKEA, but I make sure to have my tennis shoes, compass, water bottle and first aid kit. Just in case I have to stay over night because I can’t escape.
    I definitly couldn’t handle it multiple times a week!

  33. You think visiting the STORE is bad? Try getting home and trying to assemble the stuff you bought.

    I once convinced an innocent boyfriend to put together a GIANT wardrobe only to find – 2/3 of the way through and in the living room – that it wasn’t going to make it down the hall to the bedroom. We had to dis-assemble the behemoth, re-locate and start again. THAT was Hell on Earth.

  34. Todd Pack says:

    The closest Ikea to Nashville is Atlanta. I keep seeing all these really useful Ikea furniture hacks on Lifehacker, like turning a cheap coffee table into a bookshelf, or turning a bookshelf into a media center, and I’m tempted sometimes to drive down and check it out, but, dang it, I know I could buy some lumber at Lowe’s and make the same pieces for a third the cost, so I guess I don’t get Ikea, either.

  35. Here’s a tip for any potential Moms: pregnant women should NEVER go to Ikea! I went there when I was in my third trimester and needing to pee every five minutes. It’s next to impossible to find a restroom in the Ikea Maze from Hell.

  36. Kate says:

    Ahhhhhh. See, I always thought IKEA was Swedish for “you will never figure out how to assemble this on your own.” I have been schooled, oh wise one.

  37. I venture into our IKEA about once a year but only to pick up a specific item that I’ve identified in their catalogue. I like most of their products… we even equipped our church office with their furniture and it’s held up well. I know the maze thing is a marketing ploy… our grocery store uses the same principle… but it’s the one feature of IKEA that I hate. I’d go shopping there more often if I could pick up what I wanted and didn’t have to walk so far to get to the checkouts or just to leave the store.

    I love Melissa’s comment re “tennis shoes, compass, water bottle and first aid kit!”

  38. fuelledbytea says:

    When we first moved house, we went to Ikea with a huge list of things to buy. We came out with half the things we wanted and bags full of things we didn’t want, having wandered aimlessly through random departments. I think I reached my lowest ebb, hopelessly lost in the office section.

  39. passagerare says:

    I love to hear non Swedes describe IKEA! I think everyone has some kind of love/hate relationship to the stores. We love the fact that it’s sooo cheap, but we hate trying to put it all together. We hate going there while everyone else is there (read weekends) but we always do and we always leave with something that we don’t really need.
    When they opened in Atlanta I was in line for 1½ hour and being away from home for a year it felt like coming home. A little piece of Sweden.

  40. lotsofopinions says:

    I know Ikea furniture has a reputation for falling apart, like, right away. But we have had tons of Ikea furniture in our house for years, and have had no real problems.

  41. unlistedmuse says:

    Ikea is swedish for “ridiculously priced yet spiffy looking” or alternately “will look super chic and break in a few months if it isn’t some sort of futon-thing”. Trips to Ikea make me cranky and ill. The only good thing about them is the tiny little pencils they give you to write down your shopping list with.

  42. Neal Skorpen says:

    High-larious!
    The only reason to go to Ikea is the funny names for everything. Grumkupt. Walg. Mrabbin. Dooglebloog.

  43. IKEA is Swedish for putting a silly, irrelevant, and confusing name on a product that did not need a name in the first place—and I should know, being Swedish.

    The “redesign issue”, however and regrettably, is not limited to IKEA, or even the furniture industry, but is a truly global problem. Even such a simple thing as buying the same make and model of shoe, once the old pair is too worn out, is usually impossible. It would be a blessing if various companies kept a fix set of products that were merely refined and improved upon in small increments—not, as today, remade from scratch once a year.

  44. [...] Ikea has been open in my area for at least a year.   When this giant retailer announced that they deigned to sell their stuff here in North Carolina, the local media went into a frenzy. That was enough to make me decide to never go there. My committment to my personal boycott was cemented by every story of how wonderful the store would be and the people lining up days in advance for the privilege of shopping there first.  Then came the fateful di … Read More [...]

  45. Dusk says:

    I love Ikea. Best place for me to get some decent looking furniture that doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. And it’s so easy to put together, too. And the meatballs and lingonberry jam… mmmmm.

    Course, my experience is with the one in San Diego. I don’t have any trouble navigating it and if people want to go slackjawed and stupid in front of me, they get a cart to the ankles.

  46. I think the Ikea layout was designed by the same guy who designed Ceasar’s Palace in Vegas. The only way out is through the air conditioning ducts. I abhor the cattle drive method of retailing. I get anxious that a guy with a bolt gun could be waiting around any corner to stun me while he slips the cable around my ankle.

  47. Jacqueline Cardenas says:

    Brilliant layout so that people have to see nearly every product in the store before they can exit. Ya gotta find something you need before you get to the end. AND–let’s not forget how stuff is all individually priced and sold so that by the time you do have that dorm room couch or table and chairs all put together, you paid as much as you would for a piece of furniture that could have been put together and delivered to your living room by someone else. Great post!

  48. I live in the land of IKEA. There is no escape. I have that place down like the back of my hand. In and out in under 15 minutes. I just wish I could manage to get out of there with OUT more tea lights.

  49. dearliv says:

    A friend was describing her living room to me the other day. It went someting like this: “Nothing really matches, but it all goes together . . . the furniture has clean lines, as long as you don’t look underneath where all the broken parts are. . . it’s really homey, we put most of it together ourselves . . . you know, it’s from IKEA.” Stay strong! Ban for life!

  50. biodork says:

    Fun post!

    I find that IKEA has it’s uses, but I wouldn’t say I’m a huge shopper. I live 15 minutes away from the Bloomington, MN store, and I always get some nice (read: cheap) stocking stuffers there every year and the occasional desk or closet organizer gizmo.

    Here is the trick – and this is the ONLY way to enjoy – YES, I dare say ENJOY! – IKEA. You must visit on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night between 7pm and closing time. I guarantee that the weeknight evening store is a universe apart from the weekend horror show that can be IKEA. You have time to browse and take in the different displays without being run over by a ravenous horde, all the whiney kiddies are at home in bed, and you can stop to consider the map to take the shortcuts if you want to skip a section.

  51. blackwatertown says:

    Wow. You found the secret door leading to the land outside IKEA. Yes, there is such a place. That is impressive.

  52. Pie says:

    Oma, I’m beginning to run out of ways to congratulate you, such is the frequency of your appearances on freshly pressed. WordPress must really love you!

    Back to the matter in hand. We have Ikea dotted all over London. The one I go to is in Wembley. I quite like it, but I agree with you on the shuffling, glass eyed people. Most of them are couples, some with equally glass eyed children. I often wonder if I’ve stumbled into Stepford, or a scene from The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, or even Dawn Of The Dead. As others have said here, you can’t leave the store quickly if you’re not going to buy anything. This is particularly true when you get to the till area and there’s no discernible exit.

    I bought a wardrobe there once. The delivery was the easy part (relative to what came next). I set about putting it together, trying to make sense of the instructions. Several hours later, it was almost complete and I congratulated myself for doing so well. It was then I realised I was neither big enough, or strong enough to lift it up, as it was laying on its side. Muppet number one? That would be me, then. I called on my neighbour who lived in the block at the time, a good old East End boy. We both struggled for half an hour to set that f****r upright. Needless to say, I didn’t see much of him after that.

    I tell you this, Oma, I will save up and go for Bo Concept, Dwell, Habitat or any other furniture company that sells the stuff ready to go. Oh, and by the way, the vegetarian hot dog I had last year was absolute rank, if you remember. Thankfully the rest of the food there is usually OK.

    • omawarisan says:

      Thank you again. I’m amazed by this. I have an english teacher I want to hunt down and rub his nose in freshly pressed!

      I do remember your post on the hot dog…thats the only bad review of their food I’ve read, so naturally I am going with that one!

      Yeah, some things just dont belong in pieces, do they?

      • pienbiscuits says:

        I think we all have a tutor, classmate or work colleague like that buried in our deep consciousness. The best form of revenge is doing well and you’ve done that alright. Keep it going!

  53. gordoria says:

    oh come on … you know you at least liked Ikea. wink.

  54. I actually lost my IKEA virginity yesterday. It was definitely an experience. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was a level of insanity that I never dreamed possible! And my sister thinks that I must be living under a rock because I had no idea what the “Billy Bookshelf” was.I’m glad I’m not the only one that had never been! We didn’t sample the hot dogs, cinnamon rolls or meatballs. But we did have some tasty frozen yogurt!

  55. Kate says:

    Found this just a bit ago — I think it was created just for you. http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/63087

    • omawarisan says:

      Ha ha ha….I got a 55%, you?

      I need to renew my mental floss subscription, I liked it when I had it coming

      • pienbiscuits says:

        I’ve just taken the quiz and got 91%! 10 out of 11 questions right, apparently. Most of it was pure guesswork. Must’ve been my lucky day. On that happy note I will now retire. See you again on your next post.

  56. teenagebookaddict says:

    In my humble opinion:

    Ikea is terrible for shopping…but you could play the best game of hide-and-go-seek ever. That is, if you could make it out alive.

  57. Jamo says:

    Great post, I loved this. I live in South Carolina and have driven past the IKEA store quite a few times. Being a boycotter of Wal-Mart, I totally understand and respect why you don’t want to the Swedish Big Chain Store. Good job putting a humorous slant on the experience!

  58. balioffering says:

    We have Ikea in Australia too, is there antwhere it hasn’t colonised? I agree on everything but I do have a soft spot for their meatballs…they’re delicious. Great reading, you brightened up my rainy winter morning as I head off to work in a small room with 15 under 3 year olds!!!

  59. [...] you didn’t catch this on today’s Freshly pressed, here is a very entertaining blog about a trip to [...]

  60. Ha! I’ve never been to an IKEA store. Wanna know why? We don’t have them in NZ. When they tried to open a store in Auckland the environment court said no because they thought the zombies from Vermont would invade and cause “traffic chaos.” I’m not making this up.

    http://www.nzx.com/news/3890941/IKEA-no-closer-despite-Facebook-fans

    Also, did you know that IKEA is an acronym for: Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd. Makes me want to call someone and Elmtaryd.

  61. atravelartist says:

    I too, boycott Ikea, however I own an Ikea spatula. Brilliant post! Thanks for the laugh. I think I peed a little!

  62. kaykay says:

    i feel almost personally insulted by this post!
    i fully admit to the cult of ikea, probably because i had no other religious upbringing in my childhood.
    i get your point on the forced walk through the entire maze though. it can get tricky for smokers, people with children – or when you just need to go to the loo.
    this said, i have fully figured out ‘my’ ikea now and know all the shortcuts (they exist!). don’t be afraid of the unknown! Ikea is your friend. :)

  63. Tara Aarness says:

    I voluntarily married a Norweigan, so Ikea is nothing new to me. However, both my husband and I do agree that Ikea products are, well, crap. We assimulate them to that of WalMart quality, but with a smidgen of better design. If you’re on limited income, they’re great, but if you’re looking for lasting design and quality, it’s best to simply save your pennies and buy somewhere else.

  64. My first visit to IKEA was a nightmare! Like you, I could not figure out how to get OUT of that place! I actually started to panic. There were people everywhere, marveling at all sorts of merchandise. Every step brought me to another turn in the maze, seemingly no closer to the magical Exit door. I vowed to never ever return.

    A few weeks ago, I gave in and returned to IKEA for some home goods since I could not find what I wanted anywhere else. I saw some women sneak through a door that seemed to be for employees only. I followed. And I was amazed! That secret door led right to the items I needed. I cannot tell you how happy I was to bypass the maze!

    In the end they did not have what I was looking for. But apparently the key to navigating IKEA is to wander around looking for doors which do not look like they are open to the public. Alrighty then!

  65. gordoria says:

    I forgot to add … about the food: I’m a veggie, but I’ve heard the dogs at Costco are far, far superior!!

  66. denise:) says:

    thejamminjabber :If you’re gonna brave Ikea, you have to have a game plan. Know what you want and get in and out. It may be a giant corporate suck hole, but you can’t beat Ikea for inexpensive furniture that is easy on the eyes, especially in these harsh economic times.

    And you have to plan it as a full DAY trip- preferably on a weekday. The commenter who thought he could just “run in quick” should not have been the errand person for the coworkers!! Only experienced Ikea shoppers can do that!

    The Ikea near me has a yellow line on the floor to follow throughout the store. It is so you DO NOT MISS A SINGLE DISPLAY!!! ;) The first time I went, I was irritated beyond belief at the maze and the crowd- I couldn’t see a darn thing! I persevered and went back during the week. Much, much better. I love Ikea and so far no furniture has exploded or otherwise failed.

    There is a secret way to get to the cafeteria w/out going thru the maze- go up the escalator and go the opposite way as the cattle. The meatballs and mashed potatoes w/Lingonberry jam are the best and the cinnamon rolls are almost as good as Cinnabon. Really.

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed- this is a hilarious post!!

  67. Jamie says:

    my legs are always totally wrecked when I leave ikea. gatorade and a banana are a post ikea necessity.

  68. A fun read. Tuk (Swedish for thank you).

  69. mts says:

    I guess I made out OK at Ikea because I approached it as a trip to Another Furniture Store instead of a pilgrimage to a shrine of mysteriously named artifacts of a superior culture. Here’s the skinny: Ikea furniture is either quite good or horrible. Go with solid wood or glass/metal and you’ll have good stuff. The pressed board stuff is worse than the Sauder stuff you get at WalMart or Office Depot.

    Another maddening thing is that the fasteners are like nothing you’ll find in an American hardware store’s nut and bolt aisle. Which means, if you’re missing the teardrop shaped thing that goes in the hole that you screw the almost bolt-like thing into to get the side rail connected to the headboard, you have to go back 50 miles to Ikea, to the odds and ends room, and tell them you need the special connectors for the “Sleepum” bed instead of walking down to the Ace Hardware and getting a 3 inch long 3/4″ dia. screw to finish it, and you’re sleeping on the couch.

    Around Christmastime, get a bottle of the Grogg. Yeah, go for the meatballs at the commissary. I have furniture that has held up for ten years under me and idiot party guests because I bought carefully, and have a nice cable light set that makes one wall look like an art gallery.

    The good thing with the Chicago store is that the display is upstairs and the goods are down, so if you know what you want (online catalog) you CAN dart in and out sans maze.

  70. acfeola says:

    Gud välsigna IKEA. Jag älskar IKEA och förstå språket inom dess väggar. Var skulle världen vara utan IKEA? Jag gillar speciellt kohudar. ;-) ha ha!

    • omawarisan says:

      Förstå språket hjälper. Jag visste att det var ett svenskt företag, men vi har ett företag glass som låtsas vara svenska, men deras namn är bara består ord som “sund” svenska.

      Vad ska vi göra med kohudar? Ska jag gå tillbaka till en?

  71. That. Was. Hilarious. And you are SO right! I went to IKEA last month to shop for college and, although it was fun in an odd sort of way…I cannot pronounce the names of ANYTHING I got there.

  72. Travelista says:

    I bet Spatula City would have had a footlocker. If it can cover all your spatula needs surely it could cover your footlocker needs.

  73. Hahahaha.. this post is funny and the comments are plain crazy!
    We don’t have an Ikea in the Philippines… I always wondered why since Filipinos LIKE to shop and prices looked okay. Someone sent me an Ikea-Saudi Arabia catalog and I was DROOLING!
    After reading your blog, I now know— our runways, seaports and highways would collapse from the traffic.
    The Ikea experience seems out-of-this-world. I swear, an Ikea would be a requirement for the next country I visit.

  74. This was very funny…

    I have loved IKEA in the past because they have great things to organize things,

    but now having read your post and having my glassy eyes opened I’m rethinking my love…

    The spatula bit was a simple but brilliant comment on how fooled we can be by foreign text and cute little circles over letters…

    Thanks again for the post…

    I ‘LIKE’ it…

    • omawarisan says:

      You’re right. There are a lot of sites on the net laughing at non-english speakers misuse of our language, but how many of us are charmed by places like this and have no idea what the names of what we’re buying mean?

  75. sarahnsh says:

    Ikea is one of those places that you look for an employee, and that is a rare find to find one, and they scatter like cockroaches. My brother loves Ikea, don’t ask me why, maybe because it’s as scattered as he is.

  76. Sheryll says:

    That was a great story. Unfortunately, we have Ikea stuff. In fact, one of my bookcase is from Ikea. I know what you mean though, it has a lot of everything that we really don’t need but think we need.
    Keep writing and visit my blog if you get a chance.
    Sheryll

  77. sociosound says:

    LOL you made me chuckle. I haven’t been to Ikea yet but I almost made a 3-hr side-trip in Texas to go once. I decided against it for who-knows-what-reason. I still want to go, even if just to experience it. I own two of their bookshelves that I got off freecycle in New Orleans a few years ago. Anyway, I’m done ranting I guess… congrats on being freshly pressed, and on your lovely Ikea-like revelations :)

    http://sociosound.wordpress.com

  78. Maria says:

    I love IKEA and I’ve never felt the horror you describe here. But more or less every male friend or boyfriend I’ve brought with me has probably experienced something similar to what you did. Very funny post!

    • omawarisan says:

      You know when you turned around and that one guy had that blank look on his face? Here is what he was thinking:

      For the love of God Maria, it is a wine glass, just like the other 6 sets we looked at. Can we please pay for the spatula and go? ;)

      • Haha! Most of them have just said it straight out, no curtisy blank face there, hehe.
        Taking your boyfriend to IKEA is a kind of test back home in Sweden. If the boyfriend passes the test without too much nagging(and the relationship survives the day)he’s a keeper. ;)

  79. but it’s the one feature of IKEA that I hate. I’d go shopping there more often if I could pick up what I wanted and didn’t have to walk so far to get to the checkouts or just to leave the store.

  80. Helen Lim says:

    I just love going into Ikea even with no intentions of buying anything. The meatballs are tasty and good value and it’s always crowded at all times of the year. They must be doing something right

  81. jammer5 says:

    Is IKEA starting on the east coast and spreading west? Do I need to get vaccinated for it if it comes out here to the mid-west, or will my Swedish blood protect me from it? Will it consume wally world as it tears through states? Being it’s Swedish, will the Swedish bikini team be present for any openings? Can I buy them and take them home with me? A guys gotta know these things.

  82. armpitofamerica says:

    Great post! I definitely have a love-hate relationship with IKEA. I wrote about on my blog a few months back and even made a video about it:

    http://armpitnj.com/2010/04/20/a-touch-of-sweden-on-the-turnpike/

  83. squirrelsloveacorns says:

    Never been to Ikea, never plan on it. But when college students are moving out at the end of the semester and they leave perfectly good stuff by the side of the road, I’ll pick a few things up. I have found a lot of Ikea stuff all laying by the road because yes it was nice to have, but they don’t want to take the time to take it home. Shows how much they really liked it.

    Good job for boycotting this store!

  84. sooo I didn’t take time to read through all the comments, so if I repeat something which someone already said.. I am sorry.

    First of all – I love Ikea. Second – I am German and I live in Germany. Explains it all :D I never met someone German (except for my boyfriend) who really hates Ikea.. I think the furniture which is provided there is pretty and it won’t fall apart. It will endure the season you like your style of sprucing your home up. It is cheap (at least in Germany it is, don’t know what it’s like in the USA). My whole apartement is full of Ikea, except for my kitchen, bathroom, a couch and a sideboard.

    Getting lost in an Ikea store? Not impossible, but possible to avoid. Between all this little sections in Ikea there are gaps in the walls where you can go through and get nearer to the exit.

    In Germany we laugh at the names.. they sometimes sound very similar to german words but in a very silly way like lampa and Lampe (lamp).

    Another thing I like is how familal it is there, but I think you cannot tell because in Englisch you don’t make a difference between a formal you and a friend-you. In Germany we do, they say “Sie” for formal you and “Du” for friend-you.. and well in every German Ikea they talk to you with a “Du” so you feel a little home.

    So much talking, not so much sense.. I just wanted to say I like Ikea but it is up to yourself to decide whether you do or not.. but it’s not that bad as you descirbed it.

    • omawarisan says:

      No no, so much talking, lots of sense!

      I wish we had the formal/friend thing. We’ve got some terms that are more familiar, but it can be a fine line to walk on when to use them and when not to.

      • well, when I spent a month in virginia it was quite confusing sometimes, talking to teachers the kind of same way (formal/friend thing again) you talked to your friends. so yep, I think, too, it would be better for the english language to make a difference between addressing so as a friend and as a person I don’t know much.

  85. sayitinasong says:

    LMAO!!! One of the funniest posts I’ve read for a long time!!!

  86. Vodka and Ground Beef says:

    I feel like you made Ikea into a metaphysical concept, saying “Ikea” implies a sense of physical and perhaps even spiritual confusion. It’s given me a lot to think about.

    Love the link too.

  87. spencercourt says:

    if you missed the cafe, you did miss the best part. We were there day after Thanksgiving last year. The cafe special was 10 Swedish meatballs for $1. Their “bottomless” cup of Swedish coffee is also quite good.

    The cafe opens before the store. During that time, you can get a great breakfast very cheap.

    I also like their food store.

  88. [...] their story of their first, and possibly only, visit to an IKEA store.  You can read this post here.  Before proceeding, I want to make it clear that I am meaning no disrespect towards, or attack [...]


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