The other weekend, my wife casually suggested we make a quick dash into Ikea to pick up some bedside lamps. Seemed simple enough, I thought. What a fool I was.
Because, ironically for a brand that’s famous for straightforward plans, it’s never, ever fucking simple at Ikea.
While the famed Danish outfitter is great for young, carefree couples with all the fucking time in the world, allow me to point out the numerous ways that, for families, it’s like touring Satan’s scorched arsehole.
Parkeringsplads (or carpark)
You pull into a carpark so big it seems like it should be able to accommodate an above-average refugee camp (size-wise, not quality-wise; I don’t imagine you get many refugee camps with glowing Yelp reviews), but somehow, find yourself in a queue behind a thousand Toyota Yaris’ all looking for spots.
What’s more, every park has been cleverly designed just narrow enough to ensure that all those dickheads careening about with unwieldy trolleys are absolutely guaranteed to fuck up your mags as they try and squeeze their goddamn Äpplarös and Västeröns past.
Småland (or, fucking annoying, if well-intentioned playground)
Ikea has an amazing playground right at the very entrance of their store. Well, I assume it’s amazing. I didn’t actually see the inside of it, because there was a half hour wait to get in, and your kids have to be over four to be left there. Which means, if you have a one-year-old and a just under-four-year-old, they just get to cry and scream and howl as they’re pulled past a gorgeously designed Danish wonderland, and into the nightmarish Thunderdome that is Ikea proper.
Afstamning (or, The Descent)
As you step into the first circle of Dante’s Inferno, you notice that the good people of Ikea were clever enough to leave out thousands of tiny, incredibly sharp pencils for you to make notes of your items. A distant part of your brain also registers that they’ve left them just high enough for kids to get at. The hellish fusion of those two realisations will come to light when you rest your weary bones on a nearby Söderhamn and discover that it’s full of tiny, sharp Home Alone-style pencil traps. So horrific and frequent are the Ikea pencil traps that I was getting flashbacks to the lethal Punji sticks in ‘Nam, and the closest I’ve ever been to ‘Nam was a Full Moon Party in Thailand.
Platsa (or, storage big enough to hide a child from his freaking out parents for 15 fucking minutes)
Fairly self-explanatory, this one. And you have a whole section full of them. Enjoy.
Mysterium Kød (or, Mystery Meat)
By the time you reach the mid-point eatery, the family is famished. Understandable. You have been there for six hours, after all. So you survey the dining options and spot the infamous $1 hotdog. I remember when hot dogs were $1. It was 1996.
Whatever’s between that bread cannot be 100% pure anything. But the value! THE VALUE! Walking past a $1 hotdog leaves as bad a taste in your mouth as eating one. Ikea has you fucked, either way, you play this.
Årstid (or, the bedside lamps you came to get)
Were sold out. But at least your mags got some sweet Västerön scratches while you were in here.
Fuck you, Ikea.
From the Austin family.