The Black Hole of Ikea

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sometimes I feel like a trip to IKEA is a metaphor for my life. I try to focus on the bigger picture, yet it's always the small unnecessary shit that gets me.

I start off with good intentions and a set list of goals. I walk in with purpose and determination ready to take the bull by the horns. Yet it only takes one little thing to distract me (usually it's the candles, because they're SO cheap) and the next thing I know I'm thrown completely off course and rather than sticking to my plan I'm crying in a corner with cinnamon roll frosting on my face, feeling completely lost in the maze of life. I mean the maze of IKEA. It happens every time.

Why I had to go to this store the other day doesn't really matter, I mean does a trip to IKEA ever really matter? No. The fact remains I had to go. And I had to go on a day when Chris couldn't come along because the last time we took a couple trip to this land of Swedish Satan we broke up three times and didn't talk for almost five days after.

We learned a lot about each other that day. But it's okay, in the end it made us closer.

Anyway, I found a parking spot that was only two miles away from the entrance so I knew this had to be a good omen. At least I didn't have to get on a shuttle or ride a donkey to the front like last time. Things were already in my favor.

When I walked inside I told myself not to even look at the living room display that greets you in the entrance. That's where IKEA likes to hook you, they waste no time. As you glide up the escalator they show you a living room that taunts you with beautiful lamps and throw pillows and a gorgeous coffee table and the beautiful perfect life you could have. The only problem is you have to go find it first. Spoiler alert- none of it exists. It's all just an illusion and a part of the wild goose hunt you're about to go on.

Good luck. Things are about to get ugly once you step in that showroom.

I never want, or need to enter the showroom floor and yet somehow I always do. It's as if the IKEA workers live in the walls and are constantly changing the signs that direct people where to go so we all end up lost. I just need to get a few cheap things and don't need to see 300 different bedroom layouts in the process. But I do. Because that's what IKEA wants.

I reluctantly meander past every single layout of living room and office area and kitchen, and even though I know IKEA is incredibly cheap quality, I can't help but think about how pretty every thing looks! With the different cabinets and shelves and counter tops, it's all so modern and fun! I could have that kitchen! It's so efficient and clean looking, and there's even mini planted pots above the sink! I want mini planed pots in my kitchen. And the kids section! I don't have children, nor do I particularly like children, but suddenly I have eight rooms and a toy room picked out for my imaginary Duggar clan I probably won't ever have. But when a kid's bed looks like a treehouse it would just be silly not to have kids! It's a treehouse bed for God's sake.

By the time I crawl out of the design floor my eyes are bloodshot and I no longer have any idea why I'm here. Hell, I don't even remember my own name at this point. All I know is IKEA.

As if IKEA can sense my weakness it suddenly sends a pain to my stomach and a scent to my nose. A scent of... food. I didn't think I was hungry, but I notice everyone else who I've been walking through the maze with is headed that way so I follow the herd.

I feel like I'm on a cruise ship so I go through the buffet line and order all of the things. In a normal scenario I wouldn't dare eat meatballs that are only $1. But in IKEA Land it's normal. Who cares if they're made from dog or Troll dolls. They're cute and they have gravy on them.  Mac'n cheese for $2? I bet it's delicious. Salmon for 50 cents? Sounds legit to me. A spring salad that isn't just free, I'll actually get money back if I eat it? I'm on board.

When I'm done eating I no longer know who I am. I simply push my cart along side the other mumbling zombies towards another room. I didn't even realize I had a cart, but when I look down it's full. In the kitchen supply room I grab every glass jar and decorative plate I can find. I pile them on top of my 13 new bathroom rugs and decorative wall art that says "coffee" with a bird sitting on a skateboard.

It's not until I enter the home organization section when I have my third breakdown. Or maybe it's my fourth? Who's keeping track? There's just so many drawers and shelves. Some are hanging drawers and some are moving drawers and some are dancing drawers, it just overwhelms me to tears. I want to organize my house! And look at all these options. But where do I start? WHERE? I want to lay down and I think back to a simpler time in the day when I was near my treehouse bed. I miss that old bed.

I'm brought back to life when something bright and sparkly catches my eye. Off in the distance a white illuminating ball of light shines from the sky and I wonder if it's heaven. Close enough, it's the lighting section. Beautiful white balls of light are everywhere. Some have flowers shooting from them, some are wavy, and some are just white. They're all wonderful and I run through them like a child skipping in a meadow. I imagine my house of hanging white balls of light and how peaceful and serene that life must be! I could have one for every room, or maybe two, or three!

For the next four hours or so I'll spend my time in the lighting section. I'l get emotional when it's time to leave, but I know something better awaits.

Like cheap candles and vases! And marbles. So many different colored marbles for vases. I want 100 of everything for that candle/marble/vase party I might throw someday. And then there's fake plants and real plants and ORCHIDS! Oh how I love orchids. And patio furniture and rugs and ... the end. I'm almost to the exit.

Reality hits me with a sharp blow to the chest. Oh wait, no that's just the elderly woman pushing her cart straight into mine, which heaves into my chest. Ouch. Where am I? What just happened? Why am I standing in a line behind 25 other people? And why God why did I forget my damn blue bags again? I buy them literally every time I come here. IKEA will sell meatballs for 10 cents but they can't have free bags for paying customers?

I hate this place I think with a scowl. I hate everything about it.

My bill is about $350 more than expected. Those damn candles. But I can't think about that at the moment, right now I need to figure out how long I was in this black hole called IKEA.

When I step outside it's snowing. And I think I've grown a beard. This can't be good.

As I push my cart with the broken wheel in search of my car that I can't find, a feeling of regret settles deep inside me as I think about all the time I just wasted and bad decisions I made. Like always, I promise myself I'll do better next time. I owe it to myself to lead a better life.

And a better life typically starts with a treehouse bed.

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  1. I was literally crying with laughter reading this! I am off to IKEA this weekend for some unknown reason and I think my brain has tricked me into forgetting just how it is! One thing you missed was the astronomical delivery prices that they charge, should you dare buy something bigger than your car!! Damn you IKEA!!

    Kirsty - Effortlessly Excessive.

  2. You are HILARIOUS! Seriously. I love how you can find/create the humor in everything.

  3. Ikea wins. every.damn.time.

    And you're right about Ikea food standards. They're completely different than the standards for the outside world.

  4. Ha ha! I loved this : ) So so true.

    What is even worse of course is when you get home and then have to spend months trying to put the stuff together. I bet loads of marriages have ended over that.

    Did you see this?

    Pretty much says it all.


  5. After several trips where I blacked out and came to standing in the loading zone snarling at anyone who made eyes at the spot I was guarding, we finally ate at IKEA on our last trip. My memories of Old Country Buffet will never be the same now.

  6. They just suck you in, don't they? EVERY. FREAKING. TIME! I laughed so hard at this. Great post.

  7. Well I'll be! You just went and topped your target post!

  8. If people don't read your blog then I don't really know what to tell them. I've never even stepped foot in ikea and i died laughing.

  9. Lmao! What an odyssey! But at least you made it out alive, albeit aged and bearded.

  10. I laughed when they made that joke about IKEA being the place relationships go to die on 30 Rock and I laughed again now. For the amount of times it has come up in conversation over the last couple of months (and years), I have never been to an IKEA and from the sound of it, I probably never should.

  11. I've never been in an IKEA and after reading this, I plan on staying away!! I don't want a beard or dangly white balls. ;)

  12. I cannot stop laughing after reading this post. Thank you is in order! Every word is so accurate. If I plan to go to IKEA, it is usually for one single item - that's all. But I have to reserve an entire day for the trip, I usually leave the boyfriend at home and coax a friend into coming by luring her with the idea of cinnamon buns and $1 frozen yogurt. I really should start shopping online at IKEA, it would save a lot of time and possibly money...? But that just doesn't seem right.

  13. This is funny cuz it's true!

    IKEA gets me every time. Why? Why? WHY?

  14. I can totally understand if you were at the Schaumburg IKEA that one is so confusing. Next time be sure to get the $1 frozen yogurt cone on the way out it's delicious and makes everything better.

  15. Sooooo true! This was hilarious. I get amnesia after I leave IKEA and forget how it really is sometimes. I was thinking about going back recently, but thanks for the reminder of walking a mile to my car and the regret that hits after I've bought stuff that I really dont need. Lol!

  16. I've never been to IKEA. But I have a weird desire to visit one after laughing my way through this entire post. That tree house bed seems legit to me.


  17. I'm such a loser, I've never even been in IKEA
    I don't even know if we have an IKEA in Kentucky LOL

  18. Until recently I lived about 5 minutes from an Ikea. I went for the free (1 hour) childcare. A lot. My kids saw it as a treat. While they played, instead of enjoying a free (Family card, woo!) cup of tea, I somehow ended up filling up a yellow bag full of crap because, well, you can't have too many glasses with brightly coloured fruits and shapes on, can you? Suddenly it would be time to pick them up and then queue for an hour to pay for the crap. Only to realise that I'd left the blue bag in the bloody car and have to buy another. I must own about 100. Then I'd get harassed by the children because Ikea just have to position the ice cream counter by the exit. Darn you Ikea! (Having said that, now I don't live near it any more, I really miss it.)

  19. I loved this article! Had me cracking up.
    Definitely will be reading your stuff in the future

    Rhi's Adult Life || Fashion Beauty Lifestyle

  20. It kills me that I don't live near an Ikea. Its like my own personal version of heaven, minus what it does to my bank account. I can't resist going anytime I am relatively near one.

  21. I've only been to IKEA once and yet I can totally identify with this post!

  22. I have never been to an Ikea .. and now I don't know if I'm more terrified or excited to go to one? I'm an awful impulse buyer so that is why I've resisted the urge to go.. but I really do need a coffee sign with a bird on a skateboard.

  23. It's pretty bad when you come in and leave your kids in the daycare area and by the time you are done in the maze you forget you even had kids to begin with! I am just hoping the 2 I picked up were actually MY kids....they looked the most similar to me so I think we're good! I always leave with a sense of regret too and feel like I have been gone from reality for at least a week and have to check the news to see if I missed a major world war or something. I love this post, you 100% nailed it!

  24. This is amazing. I have been to Ikea many a time and luckily I don't live near one otherwise I would spend all my free time there. I sent this to my mom who has never experienced the wonderful awfulness that is Ikea in hopes she could somehow understand without ever stepping foot inside. However, I may have to go this weekend... it's calling to me. And, it's only an hour awayyyy