IKEA makes me ICRAZY

1 Mar

String: Ikea's way of saying, "We don't want you to leave that crap you just bought here."

Saturday, for some inexplicable reason, I got a bug up my ass to go to IKEA. Mind you, I’ve only ever been to IKEA twice before, and I don’t think I bought anything either time. I tend to hate IKEA… it’s like an amusement park of cheaply constructed furniture that’s over-run by recent college grads and families with a bunch of kids.

So why did I suddenly heed the calling? Well, I’m in the throes of prepping my place to go on the market, and as such, there are a few finishing touches that are needed to make it show better – a new rug, better lighting, a few throw pillows to match my newly painted accent wall, a picture to hide my fuse box. IKEA seemed to be the perfect place to pick up these random nuggets, if only I could bring myself to deal with all the people.

Alan and I set off for the IKEA in Hyattsville with growling stomachs and the promise of Swedish meatballs ahead of us. About 20 minutes into the ride, however, I saw a sign for a Mexican restaurant and decided a margarita might be the perfect way to warm-up for a visit to IKEA. Alan seconded the idea, so I whipped out my phone to see what other food options were near us. At the top of the list (with five stars on Yelp) was a place called S&J’s.

Three minutes later, we were in the parking lot of a dive bar named S&J’s in Hyattsville. When we walked in, the ten regulars seated at the bar turned and eyed us suspiciously. “City kids,” I could hear them thinking. In retrospect, I should have considered that there was only one review contributing to those five stars.

We took a high table right next to the bar and realized we’d chosen wisely – we could see the Keno and virtual horseracing screens that had the locals riveted. Unfortunately, we could also smell the smoke from the ashtrays lining the bar – who knew that it was still legal to smoke inside anywhere in the US?

Despite an excess of black eye liner, the bartender was friendly and touchy, using names like “Sweetie” and “Honey” for me, and calling Alan “Piggy.” (I’d thought I heard her call him that when she set his open-faced roast beef sandwich in front of him, but it was confirmed when she cleared our plates and said, “Well now, I guess you’re not the piggy I thought you were…”)

Bolstered by margaritas, we continued on our way to IKEA. If we were anticipating a zoo, we were not disappointed.

The best interaction we had there was when Alan – trying to be helpful – climbed up on a stool and attempted to remove the display model of a throw pillow for me. It was sewn to the wall, however, and a hissy little man spotted him just as he was discovering this fact. “Sir, sir! Put that down! You can’t have that! It’s a display model! You’ll have to get down!”

The level of drama this guy created was disproportionate to the task. Calmly, Alan asked, “Do you have any more of these in the back somewhere?”

“No. If it’s not in the bin, we don’t have it. You can look through the bin, but you can’t touch the floor models!” Meow.

We maneuvered our way through the showroom, the housewares and finally to the self-checkout. Without going into detail, let’s just say that it probably isn’t wise to ask a client-base that has screaming babies in their shopping carts or whose English is somewhat limited to perform complete their own transactions. It’s kind of like asking the cattle industry to self-regulate.

The icing on the cake: as we left I saw a couple who couldn’t fit their new living room chair in the trunk of their small Honda. Instead of attempting to fold down seats and find a reasonable way to drive it home, they stuck it smack on top of their car (as if the grandma from Vacation were going to be riding on it) and tied it to the car with two (yes, TWO) thin pieces of twine.

I’m thinking that chair didn’t make it home in one piece. Which, I suppose, is fine: the upside to IKEA furniture is that it comes with assembly instructions.

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