Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Ikea Experience

As far as is known, explorers have unearthed three IKEA stores in the wilds of Florida. One in Orlando, one in Tampa and one west of Fort Lauderdale in a town that rejoices in the unlikely name of Sunrise, despite its westernmost location.

We were directed to park the forty foot moving home in among the loading docks in the rear of the store, and there with generator pumping, the dogs set about the arduous task of sleeping under the air conditioning vents.

We meanwhile had to face the crowds and crowds of people from the miles and miles of cars parked all around the store. Some smart person came on a scooter though considering the purpose of this Swedish home furnishing store one has to assume it was a sensible employee who showed up on two wheels.

IKEA, I have discovered is a cult, and what's worse it's a Swedish cult so everything is cheerful, efficient and Nordic. These are not easy qualities to emulate if you are a misanthrope and a non-shopper.

Everything is bright and easy and instructions abound. Need a lesson in how to shop at IKEA? No really, if you don't know how it's done they have tutorials on TV with captions. They also sell food. Free! Cheap! Swedish!

Refreshed with American style scrambled eggs, bacon and potatoes, we took off across two floors of stuff. Crowds and crowds of shoppers and miles and miles of stuff. It was enough to make a non shopper pass out from exhaustion, just by looking.

The standard here is to make maximum use of minimal space. Imagine you live in a one room cabin north of the Arctic Circle, and you are tired of the moose skin and caribou decor. You pop down to neighboring Sweden and get yourself a prepared room kitted out with all necessaries in 215 square feet. Well, if you live in Florida in a not yet repossessed McMansion, you can do the same thing, thanks to IKEA.

It is supposed to be inexpensive and much of it is, but all of it is labeled in impenetrable Swedish which makes shopping a real adventure.

$1500 to store a TV may be cheap for Swedish socialists but its a lot of cash for impoverished capitalists struggling to pay their medical bills. They sell inexpensive straw chairs which felt to me more like lying in a haystack than reclining in a chair.

And you know how in normal stores they put fake books on shelves to lend verisimilitude to a display...Well here they are real books. Only of course they are, once again in impenetrable Swedish.

I read a lot of reviews of stuff and meals and ride reports on ADVrider and elsewhere and everyone is terribly leery of mentioning a price. People use electrons to do all sorts of execrable things but there is is weird online Victorian prudery when it comes to money. I found IKEA to be refreshingly forthright when it comes to prices.

And their pictures scattered around the store of Scandinavian designers is almost Gothic.

By now it was time for lunch which was lucky for me as I was ready for Swedish nourishment. Robust stuff they eat in Sweden it turns out, and for not much money. Four bucks for fifteen meatballs in cream sauce with mashed potatoes and ligonberry sauce. Weird but true and it tasted as good as Chuck promised it would.

Chuck thought I was weird when I noticed the bizarre designer portraits hanging around the store, but when I caught Wayne in an attitude of prayer above the Overboard Chocolate Cake, and I started giggling his initial observation was confirmed in his mind.

In the end Wayne got up and left the cafeteria exhausted by the noise and confusion and he forgot to taste the cake. Which was by the way excellent.

Then we charged up and down the warehouse helping ourselves to the big ticket items we had noted down on the pad (per IKEA regulations) and eventually left the temple with a new office a new bedroom, bits and pieces and a thousand dollars poorer. We are postponing a few other projects as a result, but my wife is now an official member of the IKEA cult.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


RichardM said...

This is a great post of the IKEA cult. I think my wife longs to be a member as every time we go to the lower 48, she comments on every IKEA store we pass....

There are no stores in AK, the nearest one, I believe, is in Edmonton.

Richard - My blog

David B. said...

The last time I went to the mainland I went into a big box electronics store with a hundred 60 inch televisions playing around the walls and had to turn around and leave the store. I can't imagine walking into IKEA. I really can't imagine finding what I was looking for.

Conchscooter said...

I tried living in southwest Florida briefly and found all of it overwhelming but as I explained to chuck (Wayne was past caring) now that I am visiting and not of it, li find it much easier to drop in, get what I came for and leave. We don't lollygag around. And the new bedroom looks fine.

Anonymous said...

The first IKEA in Canada was here in Burlington, Ontario. Also the same store is the Canadian head office. When I lived on a quiet residential street a new neighbour, from Sweden moved in down the street. Seems he was the setup/marketing person from head office to set up the Ikea store. He drove a Buick, which seemed odd for a Swede. however as a neighbourly friend was able to watch as the store was built and product delivered.

Afterwards they moved to Switzerland with their three young (at the time) children and their catamaran
sailing craft they parked in their drive way. He is now head of marketing for Europe.

IKEA is a strange place; Swedish names for product often from China, and elsewhere although less and less originates from domestic Swedish suppliers.

So now that there are number of IKEA stores in Canada, the original is way too small, and
the newer store shall be constructed of at least 500,000 square feet I am told, all on one floor,
unlike the original IKEA constructed on two floors. IKEA offices are on the second floor, and they too haven't enough room for expansion;
The new venue shall have offices as well although a seperate structure. Can't have the employees mingling with the customers, now can we?

As to distances, a weekend drive to IKEA reveals US state license plates mostly from New Yuk and Pennsylvania and Ohio. As this is the closest IKEA store to them
and because some of the product is different being manufactured
with Canadian (which are much like Swedes) situations at hand.

Then too wonder how they deal with duties and taxes upon returning to their land. Given Canadians descend on outlet stores and similar on the weekends in the USA for shopping bargains in an almost bankrupt country
Canadians returning to Canada often get nailed with duties and taxes beyond belief. The joys of living in a socialist country.
Gotta pay for health insurance you know...

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

I live in SWFL and had to leave IKEA for what can only be described as an impending panic attack... but you CANNOT! You have to weave in and out of the merchandise to get out. There needs to be a phone app called "escape IKEA" or at least a barker at the door with escape hatch maps.

Conchscooter said...

I am sick to death of assembling tab A and slot B. I prefer doodling on my blog.

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

Ikea works very well from a distance. I downloaded their layout software for my kitchen, generated a bill of materials, placed an order with the Sunrise store and the whole kit and caboodle showed up a week later.

When I say the entire kitchen - everything save the dishwasher came from IKEA.

I've been in them and like STJT sez - yeah. get me the hell out. Via electrons? C'est bon.

I'm not a big swedish meatball fan, so no big loss on this end. I've Cuban food as an offset.

blameitonbuffett said...

I'm with chuck on IKEA. It LOOKS really good from a distance. So good in fact, that I have purchased a thing or two. It's good stuff in theory if you have no children, no pets, no humidity/moisture, no excessive heat, and no heavy or sharp objets that may come near most of the items.

In short, I just found the quality to be impractical for me, however, for some people, I get it. At the end of the day, I've found better quality chinese made items at Target, which the jingoist in me prefers as I am not subjected to a myriad of O's with two dots over them or huge posters of Swedish designers sporting pageboys.

Dagney said...

...and the irony of a statist supporting a known Nazi (the founder of Ikea was a Hitler Yute) via capitalism is winner.

Conchscooter said...

is that the best you can come up with? Wow, my hide is stinging. From the Daily Telelgraph:

"Ingvar Kamprad gave a detailed account back in 1994 about what he describes as his 'youthful sins' and the 'biggest mistake of his life', apologising and asking for forgiveness from all parties involved. The IKEA he created is based on democratic principles and embraces a multicultural society."

Um lets see, is 17 years long enough? Or how long does La Fascista have to live down her HPV sin of her middle age in our globalist new world order?

I am astonished you can find nothing b etter to do with your time than dawdle here you old anonymous black shirt.