The last Wednesday in August, we went to Ikea. “We” included me and my husband, my mom, and my mother-in-law Sara.
In preparation for the trip, my husband and I made an exhaustive list of everything we were looking for (measurements included). But no amount of preparation can really ready the soul for a day of shopping in this massive store.
We were there for (wait for it . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . .)
. . . 10 1/2 hours. From about 40 minutes after the store opened until right after the store closed. We ate there no less than 3 times–lunch (Swedish meatballs!), a revitalizing coffee/cupcake snack, and dinner (mozzarella panini!).
To explain why we were there so friggin’ long, you must know that a lot was going on–we were shopping for a bedroom set, a crib, shoe benches for our entry area, shelving, bins, a CD/DVD storage shelf, and about a million other things which required a lot of deliberation. My mom was also looking around for benches and chairs for her new house, and Sara was window-shopping for couches and livingroom furniture for her new house.
To add to that, there was a snafu in which two Ikea reps (on two different floors, involving two different computer searches) told us at the end of our time there while we were placing our order for delivery service (well, what we thought was the end of our time there) that the dresser we wanted was sold out. So we reconfigured our bedroom furniture plan and switched out the dresser to another slightly less desirable one, only to discover after checking out that there were piles and piles of the exact piece we wanted in the middle of the warehouse area floor. Which involved trips through Customer Service and Returns to get back to our original order.
All in all, it’s very hard to nail an adjective to the experience. Was it fun? No, not “fun” per se . . . but was it hellish? No, not hellish or even especially miserable . . . It was just kind of stunning. Not stunning as in beautiful, but stunning as in getting stunned.
It’s something akin to that blank sense of surprise when something hits you hard, and though you can’t feel the effects yet, you know they’re coming in about 2 seconds. You’re in a strange limbo that can only be described as The Void Before the Pain.
I love Ikea because I love all the things we got (and the prices at which we got them!). But do I love shopping at Ikea?
We’ll just say that I survived it.
And that I need at least 3 years before I’ll be ready for another such trip.
And that if and when that next trip ever happens, I need my mom.