A Trip to IKEA or How To Test the Strength of Your Relationship

There’s nothing quite like a trip to IKEA to test the mettle of a relationship. I think that if you are newly dating someone and want a forecast of whether or not your relationship will last, you must take a drive to IKEA.

If you have never been to an IKEA store before here are a few things you should know:

1. They are never in a good location. Building planners for IKEA think ideal store locations involve: busy freeways, lots of poorly marked streets, and are at least twenty minutes from any one person who wishes to drive there.

2. There is never parking close to the store. This forces you to park so far away that you walk past tumbleweeds, remains of deceased shoppers who didn’t make it, and turkey vultures who circle you in hopes for fresh carrion.

3. The store itself is actually a maze of rooms inside a warehouse where, although you try to follow the arrows on the floor herding directing you where to go, you inevitably end up utterly and hopelessly lost.

The day started out pleasant enough, but as soon as we hit north Jersey where the roads are continuously changing all bets were off. I’m trying to navigate while referring to my phone that’s telling me that IKEA is in the middle of an empty space with no discernible roads leading to it, while my girlfriend is yelling at calmly telling me to “just look at the map!” She is trying to drive and doesn’t understand that the map is telling me that she needs to calm the heck down because telling me to look at the map isn’t helping.

Finally, we arrive, park in LOT #52, Row 4 and make the ten-mile hike to the store.

Once inside we grab our cart (I asked a woman who worked there if I could have a basket and she looked at me like I was deranged), a paper ruler (not sure why we needed one, but they were hanging there and I didn’t want to hurt their feelings), a little golf pencil with the word IKEA embossed on it just in case we forget where we were, and a map – just in case you wonder off and are lost for hours, IKEA reps can say – “I don’t know what happened! She had a map!”

We went up the escalator to the first floor of torture fun – bedroom and kitchen supplies. I pull out our list of “things we need” for us to consult, while the seasoned professionals pointed at us and laughed. $300 and twenty-four adorable light up animals (for children I don’t even have) later, I understood the reason behind the mockery.

I found out very quickly how evil IKEA is. Everything is set up in these perfect “rooms” where you can envision yourself relaxing with a book and a cup of coffee. This makes you have to have everything in the display, despite the fact that you don’t really need a lamp that looks like a sea urchin. Very dangerous.

If you happen to successfully navigate through IKEA (Beware the Shortcuts! While the word seems like it might provide a shorter route to your end destination it is merely a trap to bring you back to the beginning of your journey, thus keeping you on an endless loop of death), you will end up in the warehouse. A warehouse in a warehouse, doesn’t get any better than that. You were supposed to have written down the information for larger products en route so that you could now trade in your smaller cart for a larger cart so as to haul those huge boxes (you have to put everything together at home, which is a whole other bundle of joy) out to your car. If you happen to actually find the right Bin, Row, Item number that matches the one you have written down in handwriting you can’t even read anymore because you’re so dehydrated, then you are faced with the task of loading said item onto your cart, taking it to the checkout, then trying to fit it into your car. Oh boy.

But as I passed the families huddled in the food court munching on their cinnamon buns and beef brisket, too tired to go on, I realized just how lucky I was. My girlfriend wasn’t screaming at me about getting the stainless steel colander instead of the white one, she wasn’t crying in a corner like some guys we walked by, and she just smiled when I told her we absolutely must get the 500-pack of vanilla scented tea lights.

As I watched her load up the car with all our purchases while I enjoyed my chocolate-vanilla fro-yo cone, I knew our relationship would stand the test of time.

  1. Great post! I’m so glad you both survived! On my one and only trip to Ikea I took my mother, and I’m happy to report that she didn’t disown me. As I recall the drive home was a lot of fun since I couldn’t see a thing out my back window and had to keep changing lanes.

  2. I go to Ikea by myself. The first time I went I was confused and frustrated by the slow people and the maze-like structure of the showrooms.

    Since then, I go in there knowing exactly what I want, arrive early, and I ignore the arrows and travel backwards, the quickest way to the exit.

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