Cool, maybe, but is it comfortable?
So. Vegetable Assassin threw down the gauntlet. Ikea rocks, she said; nothing you can say will change my mind.
I love a challenge.
Well, Vege, I know Ikea rocks. I've tried beer mats, rolled up wads of paper, my foot, wedges, beer cans, dead cats, but it's no good. In fact everything I ever bought from them rocked, apart from the OOMSKORTEN rocking chair for £19.99, which just wobbles. But that's not the point.
The key thing is the brain-numbing Ikea shopping experience.
They opened a new store in Southampton recently. It's been a while, but naturally we head down with the hordes. It's huge! We park up and shuffle in, wide-eyed. It takes a while to get our bearings. Everything is strange, and foreign. We squint at the labels.
Who names this stuff? Is that sofa really called EKTORP? Surely that's a medical condition. There's a shelf called BODO. Wasn't he a hobbit? Do I want a light called RUTBO1? A bookcase called BILLY2? DO I want to sit on a POANG? Are they messing with us?
Plus what's with the food? We try a hot dog. It's actual dog, on stale bread. We try Ikea coke which tastes like brake fluid. The french fries have apparently been cooked in France. Sometime last year. I don't even want to think about the provenance of the meatballs.
But perhaps there's an exotic ingredient in the hot dog, because we're being won over. They've got whole houses in there! 20m2 living rooms! Supercool eco-kitchens! Dining rooms bristling with awesome fold-away cleverness! Everything's in primary colours and metric measurements. It's cool, it's chic, it's tomorrow3.
We get carried away. We grab our little Ikea pencil and Ikea list and start to write down part numbers. It's easy! Just pick 'em up on the way out. First though, you must descend through the labyrinthine martketplace, having traded your little yellow bag for a shopping trolley the size of a small car. My advice? Keep your head down and grit your teeth. Do we need a set of eight RAMBO cheese graters? No. Or 100 TWIGLET candles. Or a clever SPILPOO toilet paper dispenser. Or ELEKTROKUT plastic bedside lamps.
At last, time to pick up the big stuff. And now the day falls apart. If you want to buy a Billy bookcase, it's on aisle 34, section 7. Apart from the shelves which are on aisle 92, section 16. The feet? Aisle 4, section 22. Hang on; these are black. We wanted oak. Start again. It's out of stock. Black then? If we must.
It takes hours.
And you're almost guaranteed to get it wrong.
Don't bother asking for help. If you do, you encounter the mysterious dichotomy between Ikea the company (efficient, clever, fresh and bright) and Ikea the employee (officious, stupid, stale and dull). The answer to every question is 'If it ain't on the shelf, we ain't got none', which is a bit strange when you're asking where the toilets are.
What's more, it's not that cheap. Look around the checkouts when you finally get to them; everyone is staring wide-eyed at their receipts. Surely the KLAPTORP wasn't that much? No it wasn't, but those GOTCHA cushions mount up. Sly bastards. And then they charge you extra for using a credit card. And parking. And bags.
The final insult; you get home and it's in pieces! I thought the boxes were a bit small. Hours of screwing later (ooh-err missus) and you have half a sofa-bed and a three-legged bookcase. In blue. And boy, does it rock.
1 - Yes. We buy four
2 - And a whole wallful of these
2 - This isn't a footnote, it means 'square meters'. Come on, shape up.
3 - It's chipboard, but nobody's looking too closely.
And the answer to the crossword clue in the last post was 'spent a penny'. Bumper pack of Twiglets to anyone who can tell me why.