For others, it fills them with a sense of dread. The sort of dread you feel when you know you have to go to a shopping mall. You think of the trillions of people. The screaming kids and babies. The shopping trolley with the dodgy wheel that sets off your sciatica. Couch after couch after couch.
Keeping the kids from jumping on every single bed they see and hiding in the cupboards of the fake rooms, running for the little Swedish fox and deer toys and pulling them out, "Mum, can I have this one Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeassssse? I promise I'll be good!" And then they're little monsters.
Stopping for coffee or Salmon in the cafe, then dragging the kids out of the play area screaming which they then insist on doing for the rest of the trip while you wish Smaland wasn't booked up with other peoples screaming, snotty little darlings so you could chuck yours in and run like a frenzied monkey through the store grabbing everything in sight in the 1 hour time limit.
Dread? I don't feel it. Whilst shopping malls are my worst nightmare, I love Ikea. I am mildly overwhelmed by it, but love it. I may be the only person to ever move cities for Ikea. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration. 4 years ago Ikea was not on the horizon for the Imperial City of Canberra, my hometown. I wished so badly for there to be one though. It was a horrendous 4 hour drive to Sydney to the nearest store in Homebush if you wanted to indulge in Kottbullar.
So when I had made the decision to move to Melbourne, one of the big yes ticks was there was not one, but two Ikea stores!
I received an offer for a job with another employer in Melbourne, then wrote my resignation letter to my government employer.
It actually said:
"To (whoever at the HR section),
I wish to submit my resignation. I will cease employment at (insert government department here) on the 29th of May 2011 in order to pursue my dream to live in a city with an Ikea.
The Red Haired Amazona."
The response I got back was:
"To Ms Red Haired Amazona,
On behalf of (insert government department here), I accept your resignation and wish you many happy shopping hours with Ikea. Enjoy!
HR person signing the letter"
I definitely can't claim to visit Ikea often. Possibly 2-3 times a year. But I've never looked back.
In the next few months Canberra's first Ikea will open and whilst the thought of moving back for their Ikea is tempting (being a much smaller city it would be so much easier to get to), sadly their icy, frozen wasteland of a winter is a turn off.
Last Sunday we visited Ikea. We only intended to 'drop in'. I knew in my lady brain a 'drop in' meant breakfast, then 2-3 hours around the store, then home for lunch. But did we blow way over budget. On everything!
We arrived at 9.30am when the restaurant opens and in typical Swedish Ikea style had a huge breakfast spending around $20 for 4 of us. Including extra cinnamon scrolls for sustenance through the 2 levels of Swedish brilliance.
For people not yet exposed to the ritual of Ikea, the cafe is the essential first stop. Grab a free coffee with your Ikea family card, a cinnamon scroll or even grab a full breakfast, a brochure book and take time to go over your definite WANTS.
You're ready. Ok, you're not really ready. Because you are about to tackle one of the greatest marketing genius businesses ever. Prepare yourself for THE MAZE!
|Courtesy of http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1349831/Ikea-design-stores-mazes-stop-shoppers-leaving-end-buying-more.html|
They overwhelm you with amazeballs stuff! The kids go nuts. They want all the toys, they want that cool rope ladder you wouldn't ever even conceive of hanging from the ceiling in your house but looks cool anyway, they want the swivel egg chair which you think is cool since you saw the little kids sitting in them in that scene in Sleepless in Seattle. And then once you break free of the kids section, you are already in the big, windy Ikea warehouse maze. You see awesome room set ups, and every few minutes when you have had enough of room set ups there's pallets of cheesegraters, cushions or candles and you think "Oooo, candles!" and grab a 30 pack. and then again "Oooo those glasses are only 99cents!" and grab 10! Hey honey, here's the Brimnes Queen I was telling you about, ooooh storage! So much storage!
And then you see the fabrics! And you grab a metre of every fabric with foxes or deer because they're so cool and Nordic, and marvel at how they weigh the fabric like fruit at the grocer to price it, then mildly flinch when they slap a $44 sticker on what you thought was just a little something-something to make a cushion out of.
|A fabric purchase from a past Ikea visit on display at home. Stapled to a canvas frame & on the wall!|
Then your price pain is eased because wow! Doona covers for $14.99! And dang are there soooo many! And matching cushions!
Somehow your trolley is full!
How did this happen you wonder.... Well, you did see the bathmats, those super soft absorbent, easy dry Toftbo bathmats. You grabbed 2 of those!
|Believe me, you REALLY don't need to see the rest of my bathroom.|
Annnnd you did think an extra dinner set would probably help. You may have a party at some stage in the next... time somewhere in the future and it's only $24!
And the fake flowers. But they were only 99c each in so many pretty colours and when they're all together like that they look funky! So you grabbed 20.
|My dislike of fake flowers put on hold for pretty pretty colours!|
And the box of tealights in berry scents and mango, and spa, and cranberry. Mmmmmm I love cranberries. And you remembered you don't have any tealight holders so you grabbed 5. One in each colour! Only $1.99 each!
And you also have your list of furniture to pick up in the warehouse section before the checkouts, and then Gee Willickers: Living plants! And plant pots! And fresh palms! Hang on honey, I just decided I need 2 palms for the front lounge, and these pots would go with that moose cushion I found up stairs....
Get the picture? Been there before haven't you?
If you haven't, forewarned is forearmed.
We may have gone through the check out maybe a couple or few hundred dollars missing in our bank accounts. Then Sonofagun No. 1 exclaimed in his squeaky teenage voice, "Are we leaving? I only came for the salmon lunch! We haven't had any yet!"
I looked at his sad, yet mildly outraged and slightly zitty face. That poor boy actually volunteered to come. He was so helpful and kept Sonofagun No.2 from launching Tarzan style off the top of the Nordall bunkbeds onto the Svava swing.
And it was now 2pm. So we loaded everything in the car and trekked BACK INSIDE for lunch. I felt like I was doing the Ikea walk of shame. Breakfast, THEN lunch!
|Sonofagun No.2 gets his salmon.|
Then a friend who saw my FB status mentioning I was at Ikea, sent a text, "Could u pls pick me up 2 Kottbullar, 2 gravy, lingonberry jam and frozen mashed potato from the Ikea grocery".
We got home after 4pm. Lunch didn't exactly take that long. Neither did the extra run for groceries.
But we did remember we wanted a dish rack. And then maybe almost bought a couple of framed prints. Almost.
Weary, car jammed with Sweden, discussing why getting the 2 Trysil chest of drawers was better than the Malm, and reeking of the combined odours of 90 Sinnlig tealights in 3 different scents plus a 3 pack of Lugga block candles AND a Halvlek because it looks pretty with the autumn leaves.
|It's also so pretty!|
We have enough candles to light us through the Game of Thrones Winter.
So my beautiful Canberra people, that is a typical Ikea visit. Don't forget to stop by the Clearance section on your way out!
The Red Haired Amazona