Ikea, ja?

Is that what Swedish strawberries look like?

The last time I went to Ikea was when I was 12. I ventured there yesterday for the first time since then and I have to admit that I was fascinated. I’m pretty sure Ikea is the closest thing to Sweden without actually having to go to Sweden.

I never really cared about decorating before now since I didn’t have anywhere to decorate. But now that we have an apartment, it’s kind of fun looking at bits and bobs for our little place. When I stepped through Ikea’s doors, I was slightly overwhelmed. So much stuff for so cheap! I weaved through what seemed like 100’s of staged rooms, amazed that I could make my apartment look like these. The store literally sells kitchens. How is this possible? Don’t most places come with kitchens? Maybe in Sweden houses are sold sans kitchen and people have to go to Ikea and buy one.

The people who made Ikea were smart because they realized that after shopping for a while, Americans get tired and hungry. There’s a strategically placed food court in the middle of the building that serves Swedish cuisine. And chicken fingers. I ate french fries and reflected on my Ikea adventure, and I couldn’t help wondering if this was a typical day for a Swede. I tried to picture Lisbeth Salander eating at the Ikea food court, but it just didn’t seem right. Only because she didn’t really eat.

There were a surprising amount of kids at the store. They were running in and out of rooms and being yelled at by tired parents. I was surprised that Ikea sold toys. Except most of the toys were food themed. Healthy food themed, actually. Some kind of sick joke if you ask me. Okay, the broccoli guy is cute.

The worst part about Ikea, and probably the reason why the stuff is so cheap, is that you have to build everything yourself. Not only that, but you also have to go down to a scary storage room and find what you’re looking for. Seems easy, but when the labels are in Swedish and there’s no one around to help, it’s enough to make a poor customer scream. I don’t think Ingrid Bergman had to deal with this crap.


27 thoughts on “Ikea, ja?

  1. Ikea is legendary over here. There is one near me and it is pretty much like you described. Hordes and hordes and hordes of furniture. And the occasional fake TV for display purposes.

    Before we get to actually pick up what we want from the warehouse we have to walk through another maze downstairs that is chock full of… loads of stuff again. Smaller stuff like cushions, cutlery, curtains, plants, posters, candles and colanders.

    Mental stuff. The meatballs are fantastic.

    • The meatballs are most definitely the best part of the experience. Your Ikea sounds just like mine. I wonder if they have Ikeas in Sweden.
      Have you ever seen 500 Days of Summer? I think Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel pretend they are living in one of Ikea’s fake set-ups. Hah thats the only purpose I could see for using a fake tv.

  2. The only time I’ve ever gone in an Ikea was for food. The only Swedish food I noticed were meatballs. I don’t think they were even Swedish meatballs.

    Did you have to look up all those Swedish people? Will Ferrell is Swedish, I think. If not Peter Forsberg is the only other one I know and I’m not positive about him either. I’m basing that off a video game from 2002.

    There was a task on the Amazing Race one year where they had to go into an Ikea and assemble something. I don’t think anyone could do it.

    • Well Lisbeth Salander isn’t even a real person, so she doesn’t really count. I’m just using all of my “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” knowledge. Everything I know about Sweden comes from that movie.
      I didn’t realize Will Farrell is Swedish. I did look up Ingrid Bergman though.
      Hah that’s so funny about the Amazing Race. I’ve always wanted to be on that show, but I know I would lose on the first round because I can’t drive stick. :/

  3. Lisa says:

    Lisbeth Salander! Haha! She makes me want to move to Sweden.
    I love the idea of Ikea and the prices are fantastic but it’s all negated by the check out process and of course, the mind numbing assembly instructions.

    The only thing that would make the experience SUPER TROUPER would be if they played ABBA over the loud speaker!

  4. Marya says:

    Never trust ANYTHING Swedish. Their Kalteen bars made Regina George gain weight and I had a Swedish friend in middle school who’s mom bullied me and she would always speak in code (Swedish) with her parents. I’d like to think they were talking about how good I was at Sims but it was probably about how I’m Irish and English and therefore can’t be trusted. Whatever. The first time I heard about IKEA was freshman year when Gabby Stiltzer’s boyfriend took her to IKEA on a date to shop for their “future house”. She broke up with him. I’ve never been to IKEA. Ever. I really just wanted to vent about my how I was scarred by a little Scandinavian rat in the seventh grade.

    xoxo Elizabeth

  5. When renovating my tiny house, we used Ikea for the kitchen. And NONE of the instructions came with words. On the back page was a guy with a question-mark thought bubble calling the Ikea store. That was as close as they came. It was highly confusing to install the cabinets, but damn was it cheap to get a good-looking kitchen. And bathroom sink. And closets. And free-standing shelves. And curtains. And bedding.

    We have been known to go to Ikea for a lot of crap.

    I love picturing Lisbeth Salander in Ikea – good visual!

  6. Addie says:

    IKEA. Oh, how I miss thee, IKEA!! The carts, the endless rooms of stuff you didn’t know you needed but put in your cart anyway because it was THERE! IKEA!! Loganberry sauce on Sweedish meatballs! IKEA! Cause of more meltdowns because, really, who does understand those directions with the stupid little happy guy holding up the IKEA kit screwdriver (which you forgot to pick up) and pointing at one of 47 different screws in your flat box. IKEA, where a Sweedish store has outlets in all of the 1st world markets, selling stuff made in China. It’s like a version of the United Nations, only with Diam bars.

    • I’m still scared to purchase something at Ikea because I’ve heard (like you said) the directions are awful! I didn’t realize that you need a special Ikea screwdriver. This sounds like way too much work for two people. Ikea, the cause of 1000’s of family fights.

  7. I believe Munch’s “The Scream” was inspired by a day spent first dealing with the screaming kids at Ikea, then trying to assemble one of those Diamond Cube Shelf thingies…

  8. My bff Lizette’s cousin knows Sweedish. I considered marrying him to understand the labels in Ikea. So far it hasn’t worked out but if i do, I’ll loan him next time you have to go there.

  9. You know sweden is really not like walking inside of ikea, but its definately somewhat the right direction. Its much more distinctive, with its pure nature and beatiful city stockholm. If you love childrens scream though sweden is not a place for you to go. Its a much calmer place rather than the fucking ugly ikea piece of shitty forniture ! : D

    • Hahaha whew! I hope so. But now all of my expectations for Sweden are crushed! Ikea does have some real gems, right? One of these days I hope to travel to your homeland, and write an honest blog post about it! 😀

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