Monday, November 24, 2008

Green Girl Does IKEA

We have the lovliest first snow--a couple inches topping everything like frosting. And alas, I've no viable AA batteries to make my camera work. IKEA it is, then. The closest IKEA is Chicago, but since I never go there, it's a really big deal to visit my family and ask for Mom to bring me to what Jen on the Edge refers to as "The Mother Ship."

Such a huge store--rooms and rooms of glorious furniture, storage solutions, bedding, towels, dishes, bookcases, cupboards, picture frames, sinks and lamps. All of this is staged in apartments--imagine walking through a Pottery Barn catalog and you get the general IKEA idea. Sweet little apartments that you can totally imagine living in--complete with toilets and "front doors." Sit on the chairs, lie on the beds, try the cupboards and drawers.

One fascinating thing about IKEA is the range of customer--you see everything from college students to newlyweds building their first apartments to very stylish couples wearing designer clothes. IKEA may sell cheap goods, but they're made well enough and they're funky enough in that streamlined European way to appeal to all socioeconomic levels.

The "Rule" of IKEA is to follow the arrows on the floor and write down the aisle & bin number of the things you'd like to purchase as you canvass the top floor. After you're all done browsing the top floor (equivalent to 25 football fields I imagine), you ride the escalator to the bottom floor where the actual purchasing begins. Small stuff (pillows, lamps, picture frames, the fabulous hanging mesh storage bins) is sectioned by category--and did I mention cheap? My sister's cat's food dish cost 49 cents. Glasses are 6 for $2.99, salad bowls are $1.99, lamps start at $6.99. Nowhere (aside from a rummage sale or thrift shop) offers better deals on household goods.

After filling your cart to the brim with accessories, the next order of business is the warehouse where furniture and larger items are stored. (Which is why you have to write down bin and aisle numbers). Shoving and lugging your bounty, you pass through bargain land before checking out--Gift wrap! Candles! Holiday decorations! Deals abound like deer in Wisconsin!

Here I note the weird Swedish names on every product. The blue and red picture frames I bought for Team Testosterone's playroom to display their artwork in are named Nyttja. How do you say that? What does it mean? Some Swedish guy in a factory is laughing his tail off right now smacking the Swedish equivalent of "Iron Tongue Depressor" on a lampshade. The metal strips with magnets (again for playroom's artwork/posters) are Spontan ("Ugly Field Monkey") and the canvas closet storage thing I bought is called Skubb ("Live Fish Musical"). See what I mean about the names? It provides endless entertainment to sound them out and speculate.

At last--the check out. Followed by the IKEA food store featuring every Swedish delicacy and sodas and snacks for the weary shopper. The IKEA people offer free samples, so you stand in another check out line to buy lingonberry syrup and gingersnaps and lox. You're not done spending, really, until you hit the Exit doors.

I'd go into greater detail about everything I bought and for what, but some of it's for Mr. D and I've got to keep that info on the down low. Suffice to say my cart was full when I shoved it out of the store, but the receipt was under $100. And I've done IKEA for another year.

19 comments:

  1. IKEA is just everywhere right now! You're the second blogger who has commented on it lately, and my brother just made a pilgramage to the store in the twin cities. I *heart* IKEA, and since I live eight hours from the closest one, I was thrilled to shop vicariously through you! Glad you got your fix, and thanks for giving me one, too!

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  2. *sigh*

    Lucky you.

    I'm glad you had a nice time and that you didn't break the bank whilst at the Mother Ship.

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  3. Boo hoo. I miss IKEA. When we lived in France, we'd drive the two hours to Lyon to shop there. It was a wonderland.

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  4. Yay! IKEA is so my Happy Place. Very glad to have one practically right around the corner from my Pleasant Suburb.

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  5. I have a hate/hate relationship with IKEA. It inspired one of my hugest fights with Mr. G...in the actual store. Nice.

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  6. Oh the Mother Ship indeed. I've always had a beef with American Big Box Retail Stores because inexpensive does not have to equal ugly. Target does okay, but IKEA is defnitely the best. Plus, like you said, your items all come with kick-ass names. I greet, Helmer, my office rolly drawer thing almost every day :)

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  7. I was so excited when I read your title. I thought maybe an IKEA opened up in Wisconsin. Boohoo!
    I've never been to one but I hear good things.

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  8. My children pronounce it "Icky ah" after we made one too many trip there. It's just a 45 minute drive to get there, but we can easily spend three hours there. My two china cabinets in my dining room are from Ikea. My husband gets out an allen wrench with the smell of cinnamon buns.

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  9. I love IKEA! My kids used to love the little measuring tapes and pencils. They ran around the store "helping" by measuring everything and making lists. I couldn't convince them to try the in-store day care...

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  10. The year we lived in England, (11 years ago!) we got everything we needed at IKEA. I foresee many trips there next year!

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  11. I love Ikea. It is a happy place for me too.

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  12. Seriously, I am a green girl in Maine. Green with envy.

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  13. I've never been to an IKEA. I guess I'm a poor deprived Wisconsinite. En so, der hey?

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  14. Oh, but the children must eat there. Then you have the full experience. . .

    Invitation on the Matron's blog to you and the rest of her neighbors. . .

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  15. It's been a while since I've been to Ikea but I love going through the catalog! So much fun!!!

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  16. We went to Ikea this weekend too. Did yours have bags?

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  17. I want snow! I want snow! I want snow!

    You lucky.

    Also, I've declared an Ikea moratorium. I eat too many of their meatballs and buy too much Skubb.

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  18. We used to have a huge annual Ikea trip. But now that there is one really, really close to us, it's no big deal. I can literally go just to have the kids play in the free play area and get some coffee.

    Score!

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  19. My husband hates IKEA as much as I love it.

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