Monday, November 24, 2008

We Were IKEA Virgins. And Now We Are IKEA Ho's.

You know how, when you read a lot of different bloggers, you start to hear about certain things you would otherwise know absolutely nothing about? Like IKEA. Soon after I started reading blogs, bloggers mentioned how they went to IKEA to get just the perfect set of shelves or a kitchen table that folds down to approximately the dimensions of a fairy's thimble or a toy for their kid that can be passed down to their great-great grandchild; it is JUST THAT well-made. And I wondered, what is this IKEA of which they speak?

Well, I am here to tell that I have been to the mountaintop, my friends. I have seen the light. I have...well, anyway. I have been to IKEA! When I found out that a friend had driven to an IKEA and that it was near Cincinnati, very close to us, I rounded up my peeps and we planned a road trip. It ended up being the same trio who went to the wedding, minus my baby brother who would much rather lie on the couch watching a football game than browse through Swedish furniture. Poor sap.

We got a late start while we printed out the directions and then made the obligatory run through Starbucks. I'm not a coffee fan (sigh of horror from all my readers who are, as we speak, deleting me from their Readers) but I did try the Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, which was sublime. I'm going to have to go back and try this Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate which I keep hearing about. This combination of flavors sounds strangely appealing.

After two hours, which felt like about 10 minutes because of the supremely amusing and entertaining company (No, I meant me - who did you THINK I meant?) we arrived in front of the monstrous IKEA store. Where we stayed for approximately 12 hours. Oh, I exaggerate. It was only 5 hours. But we only left because we could no longer stand without falling over. And we had no more room in our carts.

When we walked in, we paused to reconnoiter, much like zebras on the African veldt pause to get the lay of the land. But there were no lions here waiting to pounce. Only the other shoppers who flowed around us, slightly annoyed at our hesitation, heading to their known destinations, as we tried to make a plan. We decided against shopping carts (FAIL), figuring we could always come back if we needed them. Hint. There is NO GOING BACK in IKEA. Seriously. The elevators only go UP at the front of the store. There is even a sign that says this. Even though this is bending the laws of time and space, the elevators only go up. So. Even if you think you are just in IKEA to PICK UP A FEW THINGS? First of all, I laugh at you. Hilariously. Secondly. Get a cart anyway.

The top floor of IKEA is a showroom which is, just as it sounds, a place for them to show all the furniture and various accoutrements which go along with them in lovely little settings that make you want to clear your house out with a bulldozer and basically replace everything in it with one of those sets. Seriously. They are so beautiful, so coordinated, so organized. I wanted to grab every single pillow and throw and lamp and picture frame and place them just so in my house. And, oh. It would transform it to look JUST LIKE that IKEA showroom. Or this is how I see it. And I don't want to hear anything different.

Although some of the upholstered furniture is a trifle uncomfortable. But it looks great, dammit! And this chair actually IS comfortable. And the coolest thing? You can buy tons of different covers that just ZIP ON and completely change your room. So TOTALLY cool.

The first thing to go into my oversized yellow IKEA bag we had picked up in our extreme naivete, thinking that would hold our purchases, was a darling little blue and white plastic stool for my grandson to use in my bathroom. It was sturdy and absolutely perfect and
darling. Now, how much do you think that stool cost? $8? 12$? Nooooo! $3.50.
We were constantly amazed throughout the day at how IKEA can sell such quality merchandise at such low prices. We were not really in the market for furniture or items to organize your house, which is really what they specialize in. But we were very impressed with all they had, especially the way many of the items folded to take up a much smaller space.

We were more in the market for...well, pretty much anything else. Second item in bag. Toy trains. And can I just say? Thomas can pretty much go back to the Island of Sodor if this train set is as nice as it seems. Just ONE of those freakin' Thomas trains is about $20 and I didn't pay much more than that for an entire train set.

We bought pillows and Christmas decorations (all on 40% off now) and dishes (adult and child size) and a boxed gingerbread house to put together, and a darling oak Lazy Susan for my kitchen table that was $5.00 and candles and I can't even remember what else. But we had three packed grocery carts and we were ecstatic about all our purchases.

Somewhere in there, we had lunch at the in-store cafeteria which was just "EH" on the food but had an entire area of the cafeteria line reserved for items for children, so they get points for that. Juice boxes, carrot sticks, small containers of yogurt, all very impressive. They also have a huge play area for kids which is manned by several IKEA employees and looks like it would be a blast for kids. Finally, we figured out the system and went to the first floor, which is where you actually purchase most of the items they have on display. Although there is some purchasing on the showroom level as well. Just in case you don't get in QUITE enough purchasing time.

And this post is getting quite long, even for me, and I have a rabid snot monster that is trying to take over my head, so I'll finish this Wednesday. Stay tuned for stories about Swedish meatballs and where to park in case, in your excitement, you pack the car to leave and then realize you all three have to pee pretty badly.

Good times indeed.

Stumble It!


Jessica said...

1. I am a Ikea virgin as well.
2. I also dislike coffee.
3. The Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate is calling my name.
4. I need a $3.50 stool and a $5 lazy susan.
5. I'm immediately planning a trip to Ikea! (and Starbucks)

Who's Your Audience said...

I am no longer an IKEA virgin. In fact, hubby and I spent over $300 when we went a few months ago. When we buy our new home, we plan to go and purchase all kinds of ridiculously cheap stuff. So far I have 4 kitchen chairs, a lamp shade, an ice tray, a rug, and a pillow.

Natalie said...

I am an IKEA virgin as well but it sounds like I might have to change that SOON! It sounds wonderful...

Nance said...

I am automatically dubbing you my Best Friend Of The Day for:

1. Using "reconnoiter"
2. Using "veldt"

Holy crap. I had to manually shut my own mouth which hung open in awe for eleventy hundred minutes just then.

Wep said...


While I am an avid coffee drinker, try the the carmel hot apple cider. It's divine...