IKEA, I know we’ve had an on-again/off-again relationship. Don’t take it personally. There was that sliver of time when I couldn’t afford your European design, flat-packed goodness. The budget of the early-20’s living together in sin demographic allows for one thing: free hand-me-downs. Then we began to make some cold hard cash and suddenly a stroll around your showroom floor was a world of possibilities, your miniature golf pencils recording our home design plans. Billy Bookcase? I think I shall. Expedit? I’ll take four! (rest in peace, modular storage system I loved…)
Then I got the crazy idea that I was too good for build-it-yourself furniture made of OH MY GOD THIS IS SO HEAVY ARE YOU KIDDING ME medium-density fiberboard.
It was a dark time. Please, let’s never speak of it again.
Then last year the magic returned. It turns out that all it took was the first annual playdate with my best friend to make me fall back in love with you.
There were dueling puppets…
And a sectional sofa that I built with my surprisingly helpful nine year old while the boys were away for the night…
So last week we headed back to meet up once again in the expansive data signal inhibiting concrete block you call home. We had a wonderful time like we knew we would. We spent too much money like we knew we would. We filled our cars with projects that we don’t really have time to complete like we knew we would.
We also came up with a list of ways you could improve, IKEA. Free of charge, here’s what we recommend:
1. KREEPÏE: It’s always been a charming feature of yours that while we’re designing a new closet system or selecting a TV stand we can also pick up a stuffed animal buddy for our little ones. And yes, I’ve even enjoyed the whimsical androgyny of your difficult-to-place creatures. In fact, my daughter has for years loved her pal Cat-Dog. But this? Grandmother stuck in the wolf’s mouth? I do believe you’ve crossed a line here, IKEA, and we’d like to recommend that you take the creep factor down a notch or several.
2. NAPPJING: One of my favorite parts of any IKEA outing is my time spent in the cafeteria. I understand that the meatballs are, for some, nearly an obsession. But I tend to enjoy the fries and chocolate cake with a salad thrown in for good measure. After every meal, I head down to the self-service area to find the 43 boxes that I will soon be placing in my car like a giant game of TETRIS. But do you know what step is missing? A restorative siesta. Come on, IKEA. Your building is huge. You have beds, bedding, and pillows! Please oh please oh please can you add a napping room to your layout? It would be much easier to locate Aisle 19 Bin 23 if I had a chance to recharge my batteries (see item 4).
3. SPELCZÉCK: You’ve given your products fancy Swedish names. You combine red, orange, and purple on the same pillow like the bold-ass Europeans you are. You’ve got bookcases that can be used both vertically and horizontally. I get it. You’re out there. But let’s work on spelling things correctly because all I could see on this display was how many boxes had strange words written on them.
4. LÓCASHIÖN: The self-service area. *SIGH* I don’t know, IKEA. I have tried for years to cling to hope that the method to your madness was a good one. But do you know how many times I have gone to the appropriate aisle and bin only to find that the “In Stock” item was sadly, well, not? Too many times, IKEA. TOO MANY HEARTBREAKING TIMES. Do you know how horrible it is to locate 12 of the 13 components of my chair only to find that component 13 is mysteriously absent? And why, pray tell, do you locate each component in a different aisle. Would it not make more sense to have them – just thinking outside of the flat cardboard box here – next to each other? Do me a solid and work on this, IKEA. It would be an amazing improvement!
5. RÄNDOMN: You never know what you’re going to find at your local-yet-very-far-away-and-tough-to-get-to IKEA, or more importantly, where you’re going to find it. This year we felt like a certain owl was following us around the store as he appeared everywhere from housewares to a box of candles. Last year it was a snake, a huge, red, striped snake. In every encounter he was chained to something, usually hanging from the ceiling, sometimes hanging from a piece of furniture. We were excited to finally toss him into our bag once we followed the yellow brick road to Children’s IKEA only to find that our snake pal wasn’t there. When we asked a store employee to help us find a non-chained and torn snake, we were told that they actually didn’t have any of him to purchase. I’m sure that at some point he was “In Stock” in Aisle 13 Bin 26, but it seemed that now he only lived in the random displays around the store. We’d love a little more rhyme to the random reason.
Ämy and Šhannan