Thursday, June 12, 2008

The IKEA Experience

Some of the bloggers I read have recently discovered the wonderfulness that is IKEA. Having just been to IKEA three times in a one week period, and still contemplating several items that are enticing me to come back yet again and buy them, I thought if I wrote about it I'd have more clarity on whether I should or should not.

[Yes, another round of DMD (decision making disorder). But at least I'm NOT suffering from PDD (post decision dissonance) on what I have already bought -- so there's hope for me yet!]

So what is IKEA some may ask. Oh I do love to introduce newbies to the Greatest Shopping Experience Ever. Hey, what if the initials IKEA stand for the Swedish words that we translate Greatest Shopping Experience Ever?!

There are two sizes of IKEA stores: Humongous and Extra Ginormous (some stores have THREE levels!). WARNING: Not for the faint of heart. Do not stop if you do not have at least an hour. An hour will allow you to walk as fast as you can through the store from entrance to exit with absolutely no stopping and admiring the pretty stuff. And since that's clearly impossible, an hour is not enough time.

There are two exceptions: When you've been to IKEA multiple times, know it well and are there to pick up something very specific. Or unless you live there...

My firt foray into an IKEA came in 2004 when the daughter and I went to Pennsylvania to check out a college. D was organizing the homeschool prom for south central Michigan and we thought it was worth a three-hour-out-of-our-way trip to swing by the IKEA store just outside of Pittsburgh. We spent a couple of wonderful hours wandering around like country bumpkins in the city for the first time, eyes wide and mouths hanging open. It was Love.At.First.Sight.

The closest IKEA used to be in Chicago. But wonders of wonders! IKEA built a new store in Canton (near Detroit) in the last year or two. Oh happy days! It's still a couple hours away, but every time we're anywhere close for any reason, I try to talk the hubby into stopping.

And I'm finding IKEAs everywhere we travel! When I went to visit my sister in California we went to the one in Sacramento. She had never been to one and she was just as star struck as I had been. Actually, that's the way most people react.

One of the great features of IKEA is the child care offered to parents who might like to browse without the kiddies. Each store has a large, secure play facility with qualified staff. When you drop Junior off you fill out a form and receive a pager in case they need to get in touch while you're shopping. They do have a time limit as to how long the kids can stay in the play area and I don't remember exactly how long that is. But my sister's two little girls had a great time playing and didn't want to leave :-)

And while visiting Beth in Orlando we discovered a new IKEA store had opened recently. Both Beth and her DIL had been wanting to check it out so that's what we did last week! Both of them loved it, too.

The thing about IKEA is they offer a great variety of things for the house and, for the most part, it's reasonably priced. Remember my chair? It's a great place for folks just starting out and needing to furnish their first apartment. Or for someone who likes the sleek European look. Or those who are organizational freaks like me -- the bins, boxes and such are abundant and available in all kinds of shapes and materials. Bliss!

Since we were able to take an earlier flight out of Atlanta into Detroit on Tuesday, we had a "bonus" couple of hours which I used to swing by IKEA again. (We'd also stopped there on our way to the airport the week before.) By this last trip I knew exactly what I wanted and had a pretty good idea where to find it.

**side note** IKEA has some very smart marketing people. There is no direct way from entrance to exit. You are forced to meander all around, like rats in a maze, and in the process you end up seeing most of what they have to offer.

There were a few things I just loved, loved, loved and I'm pretty sure I won't find a better price anywhere. For things like this and this and this for my kitchen. With kitchens typically very small in most Argentine homes, having some wall-type storage will be helpful. And that spice rack will hold 15 of the spice jars, keeping my favorites at hand while cooking.

I'm SOOOOOO sad that IKEA is not in South America yet. So that's why I'm getting my IKEA fix now, along with the few items I think will come in handy in our new life. If I can make up my mind, that is.

1 comment:

Johnny said...

As I long time shopper at IKEA as well as an IKEA employee, I am glad to hear you like the shopping experience as much as you do.

In the US we may soon launch a loyalty program which should offer the general shopper and "enthusiasts" as youself, even more of IKEA. Look for "IKEA FAMILY" soon, it would be interesting to see if you like "FAMILY" as much as the store experience!