I had no intention of going to IKEA yesterday. I knew it would be pandemonium. I figured I’d get there in July or maybe in October when the thrill had worn off a little. I wasn’t going. I’d been to an IKEA before. I had things to do.
Until Alison called and we decided to go.
Ryan came home from work with the stomach flu, a little gift we’ve been passing to each other this week at our house. So I figured the kindest thing I could do for him would be to take the kids out and buy containers and lamps and pictures to hang on our walls. I guess you could say I’m devoted and thoughtful like that.
Andrea rode with me, and as we were driving she (who had never been to IKEA before) was wondering out loud why she was coming. “I don’t need anything,” she said, “and isn’t it all modern style? This is probably a waste.” I tried to reassure her that there would be something she’d like.
We walked in, got our carts and began the mass pilgrimage through the showroom. It wasn’t until Andrea picked up a yellow box of 10 AA batteries for $2.99 that her interests were piqued.
“This is a good deal,” she said and put one in her cart.
When we saw the little pink desk chair, she was officially interested.
By the time we reached the cafeteria, she was delirious.
“I LOVE IKEA,” she said as we ate our poached salmon and red potatoes. (Take THAT, food court chicken nuggets!)
I have to laugh, because I, the veteran on my second trip to one of the giant blue buildings, had such a similar experience when James and DeDe took me to the Phoenix store last January. I thought it would be fun to see, but didn’t think there would much that I would have to have. Until I held a $6.99 stainless steel salad bowl.
Alison, who met us there for her third trip that day, called to see where we were. I told her we were near the $159 iron bed she’d been considering since her second trip, and she really showed off her IKEA prowess when she found us within five minutes. I have to say, I was nothing short of totally awestruck. I couldn’t have told you where we were in the building for all the inexpensive furniture in the world.
I finally exited the building around 9:30 p.m., after nearly three hours of wandering, gazing, munching, meandering, considering, imagining, and asking my kids to please shut up because mommy was in Good Deal Land. I pushed our heavy cart out to the car, parked beyond the parking lot in the bumpy dirt field. I suddenly felt a kinship with the settlers of the Salt Lake Valley, many of them mothers, pushing heavy handcarts across the very same dirt toward their new home. I bet they were asking their kids to please stop whining, telling them that they were almost done, and promising them Skittles if they’d be good just a little longer.
And if those mothers could see us today; if they could see how far we’ve come and how much has grown from their tireless work; if they could look into the big blue bags in my cart and see the glass spaghetti noodle canister, they’d have only one thing to say:
“Holy crap, we got screwed.”