Monday, November 06, 2006

Is your furniture Swedish?

This has nothing to do with running, but everything to do with moving!

Chaos in Swedish furniture land

Question for you; is the word “Ikea” Swedish for “chaos?”

When I moved, I tossed the couch because it has seen better days. I decided I would get new furniture. With grocery shopping out of the way, and not wanting to spend another night watching movies on a pile of blankets, I set out to find a chair.

I went to Ikea in Bloomington. I had never been there before, but everyone says this Swedish store has great, cheap furniture.

Upon arrival, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was a little after 10 AM, and the parking lot was jammed. This massive store is right by the Mall of America, but it is separate. They even have their own parking ramp.

I joined the parade of people heading in. You march through this labyrinth of a “showroom” area where they have all of their products on display. It was nuts! There were so many people, it was almost hard to move.

As if things weren’t crazy enough, I found the chair I was looking at online, but I was trying to figure out where to get one. I didn’t see any stock. Upon close inspection of the tag, you have to somehow remember the aisle and bin numbers written on the tag and go to the “furniture self service” area; which is on another floor, at the other end of this enormous building! Ugh...I just want to buy a chair!

Positively bewildered at my impending journey to find the “furniture self service" area, I decided I needed nourishment. I swung into the Ikea Cafe for one of their really cheap breakfasts.

Breakfast at Ikea

Not every department store serves food, but Ikea does. I was too early for lunch (I would have like to try the Swedish meatballs), but I had their breafast of scrambled eggs, bacon, some sort of tater tot-like potato rounds, and some really delicious pancakes with Swedish lingonberries served on top. I am not a big pancake guy, but these were awesome! They were thin and delicate, almost like a crepe, unlike the thicker pancakes that I typically don't care for. And how can you not appreciate the lingonberry preserves? With a bottle of OJ, it cost me $3.70, or something riculously cheap like that.

Satisfied, I set off to the other side of the world to find my chair.

After more complex naviagtion, I made it to the self service area (which resembled any aisle at a Home Depot; quite different from the luxurious showroom area), and I found my chair. I am glad I looked more closely because I didn't realize until that moment that the cushion for the chair was sold separately! Wow, that would not have been fun. So I gathered all the parts and trudged over to the checkout area, which was stacked up 5 people deep at every register. Ugh!

My new chair

Anyhow, I made it out of there, got home, assembled the chair quite easily (which for a mechanical genius such as myself is really saying something!). The chair is very comfortable, and I am happy I got it. Ikea is weird. What a strange experience! But I will go back now that I have a better idea of what is going on.

Until next time,

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