Raymond and I have a standing joke about Ikea: “It always ends in tears.” You start off having so much fun wandering through the showrooms, trying out the couches, picking up inexpensive things (that you don’t need) from those cleverly placed bins here and there, seeing what’s new since your last visit, thanking your lucky stars you’re not (yet) one of those people sitting with a “kitchen consultant” trying to figure out how to design (and pay for) your completely overhauled kitchen. You measure things and note down the name and aisle number of stuff that you’ve decided you cannot go home without. Then you go and have meatballs with lingonberry sauce and potatoes and gravy for lunch, and a glass of wine, and you start thinking maybe you should reconsider not buying that couch, that maybe it’s just what you need after all. So you make the couch arrangements (if you’re lucky it’s one of those no-interest-for-six-months-on-couches weekends) and commit yourself to a large expenditure. And then you go downstairs where all the gewgaws are, and what with that glass of wine having made you feel all “What the heck?” you load up your bag with packages of candles and napkins and flatware and vases and and and and and. At which point you have to exchange your bag for a cart, which means you have to find a cart. Which is hard. How come everybody else has a cart? Where did they get it? And now the glass-of-wine giddiness is starting to wear off and you’re getting tired and you still have to find the aisle where your stuff is and load it up in your cart. If you can ever find a cart. And finally you do. And finally you find the aisle. And you start wrestling longish boxes onto it and realize that you need the other kind of cart, the one that’s got a long low surface, the better to hold all those boxes of Billy bookshelves. So you have to find one of those carts and transfer your stuff to it. And now you’re tireder. And hotter. And crankier. And the wine effect has totally worn off. And you can see the horrendous lineups at the cash, which is what’s in store before you can finally escape. And then when you get to the aisle where the thing you wanted (or maybe even needed) the most, perhaps the thing you actually came for – as opposed to all those other impulse-buy things (including the $1,000 couch), that you picked up thanks to that glass of wine and that initial Ikea effervescence – it is… not there. Out of stock. Inquire at the customer-service desk, please. Heart sinks.
It always ends in tears. And that’s even before you end up behind the one person in line at any of the cashes who is disputing the bill, and even when the dispute is resolved has some really complicated thing going on with gift-card balances and whatnot and you are ready to kill her. And it’s before you have to try to get all those Billy bookshelf boxes into your trunk, hauling out the bungee cords and trying to fasten them as the wintry wind freezes your fingers. And before you have to unload it all again and schlep it into the house.
And before you start putting it together.
Did I say it ends in tears? Actually there are many opportunities for tears at many steps along the Ikea kitchen-to-bathroom-to-office-to-“Marketplace”-to-warehouse-to-checkout path. Maybe one should go back and fortify oneself with another glass of wine somewhere in there.
Anyway, yes, our latest trip to Ikea in Montreal, mainly to buy things for the Manse, did end in frustration and tiredness and a bit of cranky, though not quite tears. At the end of the day, I was seriously ticked that the one impulse buy I’d decided I just had to have for the Manse kitchen – a rolling cart with shelves, highly useful for holding, you know, stuff, and just the perfect shade of turquoise – was, you guessed it, out of stock when we got to its aisle. But we did get lots of useful stuff. Including a TV table, which means that our enforced quiet-reading evenings can soon be replaced with watching movies. (Which I’m both happy and sad about. Those quiet reading evenings are lovely.)
And also including bedding! Which means that now both the guest bedrooms are, while a little bare, perfectly nicely kitted up for people to come and sleep in them. You’ve seen the “boys’ room” at the top of this post, and here is the “girls’ room”:
Now doesn’t that look comfy? Yes, if you’re sleeping here and have to use the facilities in the night you’ll have to go downstairs to the only bathroom – and if it’s dark, remember: 13 steps on the back staircase, 15 steps on the front one – but when you get back you’ll be in a nice fresh cozy bed. The Manse is slowly achieving “comfortable” status!