Friday, February 10, 2012

Everything you need, and so much more.

This week I visited Buy 'n Large the biggest Ikea in Canada (until Montreal gets a bigger one in 2013).  The new Ikea has two enormous levels, thousands of products, a 640 seat restaurant, uncountable Swedish meatballs, and can be seen from the moon. You have to be ready to spend time in this store. After penetrating the labyrinth and discovering that they didn't have the item I required, I wanted to leave. However, "leaving" proved to be another thing Ikea could not provide. I had to ask a clerk for the fastest way out of the store. The only exits I could find were for emergencies, and I wasn't going to follow the blue arrows on that 1.3 km journey back to daylight.

The clerk - let's call her Ingrid -  hesitated a little. "You can take that shortcut," She pointed to an inconspicuous gap in the wall which was marked by a small, blue sign with letters about 1.5 inches high. (They really don't want you to take a shortcut.) After that, Ingrid continued, I could find my way to another area of the store where...someone else could tell me how to get out. I thanked her politely, but as I walked away I thought, how does she leave at night?  Then the chilling truth struck me: She was just another customer who couldn't escape. I did wonder why she was holding a toothbrush. It was then that I noticed the store was playing Hotel California on an endless loop....

I thought the old Ikea was big enough, but I can see how they found it inadequate given that the new store's sign is roughly equal in square footage to the old store.

Some people really love Ikea; I know this because on one trip there, many years ago, I was able to sell a used diaper to a couple of university students by labeling it a tea light holder ("Stjinkii"). We went to that old store fairly often. Then we bought a dresser in whose top the Ikea gnomes had neglected to drill any holes, thus rendering it an ordinary board which was impossible to attach to the rest of the dresser. (I think that was the "Defektiv" line of bedroom furnishings.) After we stood in line for an hour to exchange it, Mr. B. said, "Never again!" and he has not set foot in Ikea since.

Ikea does have some lovely showrooms. I'd like my house to look like some of their setups, but I have lost confidence in their furniture. I've given up buying any Ikea product that has moving parts. This considerably narrows my choice of home furnishings, but I haven't joined  Mr. B.'s boycott just yet. It may not be possible to fashion a Queen sized headboard out of 80 paper napkins and a salad bowl, but you never know until you try!

Anyway, the morning shift is about to start.  I'd better get off this inventory computer and hole up in Office Storage for the day.  I recommend the Yagenplutz for its airy spaciousness. And I don't want Ingrid to get there before me.


  1. Having recently been in IKEA in Edmonton, I got a chuckle out of this post. Though of course the Edmonton store is easy to find one's way out of. I guess I haven't bought that many IKEA things with moving parts. I like my steel shelves, which are now serving as temporary pot racks (pics forthcoming). Not much can go wrong with those.

  2. Please do post some pictures. My Ikea bookshelves are fine, too. And the change table we bought there in 1998 survived three kids and two subsequent reincarnations as a TV stand and a computer station. (Scrap and salvage, scrap and salvage....) The dressers, however, had moving parts and were thus doomed from day one.