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Never Plan a Trip to Ikea on Your “Day of Fun”

May 29, 2012

I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea. I love all the fun things you never knew you needed until you see them in front of you. I love to browse the marketplace when I’m in the mood just to look or to find something simple, like a lamp shade, picture frame or spatula. But at other times – like when I’m determined to buy a piece of furniture – I hate the store.

Did any of you see that 30 Rock episode that revolved around Liz Lemon and her boyfriend trying to buy a table at Ikea? Liz was determined to buck the odds that a trip to Ikea would not ruin her relationships. The reason that episode was so hilarious is because it’s aboslutely true! Bryan and I have come close to our breaking points at that damn warehouse and last Friday was no exception.

This past Friday was a self-proclaimed “day of fun” for me and Bryan. What is a “day of fun,” you ask? It’s a day we both take off from work, drop Sophie off at school, and have the day to ourselves. The day usually involve breakfast out, a trip to a bookstore (or two, or three…), trip to Goodwill (usually for books), a stop for coffee, and whatever else we decide to do without the restraints of a child.

Our “day of fun” was going wonderfully. We were well fed, caffeinated, books in hand, a new washer was purchased, and we were happy … that is until I had the brilliant idea of going to Ikea to buy a bed for Sophie.  You know where this is going, right?

A slight panic started to set in the minute I began to climb the entry stairs. My feet were already starting to ache because I was in heels for eight hours the day before working an event for a client. Not a good sign if your feet start hurting the minute you enter Ikea. I was checking my cell phone every three minutes because I was waiting for a message for a time-sensitive project. And as the minutes went by, the more anxious I became. My head started to ache along with my feet. Not to mention the fact that the mobile signal is barely registering in the place. I’m also getting annoyed I have to walk through every showcase area before we finally get to kids beds.

Alas, we made it! We found two we liked for Sophie, but Bryan did not have his mind set on buying that day. I, however, did. Bryan thought it was a browsing trip, which only added fury to my fire when he suggested we just buy the mattress and look for a bed later. We then started sitting on mattresses when Bryan declared he will buy some wood and make Sophie’s bed himself. It’s not Bryan’s fault we were not on the same page. I should have been more clear from the get-go that I wanted to go into Ikea and leave with a bed.

It was at this point that I started to have my first Ikea breakdown. My feet were killing me, my head was pounding with pain, my phone was not delivering the message I needed, and Bryan and I are disagreeing on a kid bed. I found myself sitting on a mattress crying in frustration that our “day of fun” is going down the tubes.

We finally agree on a bed, take down the locator numbers, and finish the trek to the warehouse for the pieces. This part of the Ikea trip is always perilous because nearly every time, one of the two parts you need are either sold out, damaged or in the wrong color. We find the bed frame and – lo and behold – it’s there. But at first glance, Bryan is sure it won’t fit into our CRV. This is the point of the trip where I have my second breakdown. Bryan is not happy. I’m wishing I never set foot in this store as I sit upon a crate of shelves crying again. Nobody – including the warehouse crew – cared that I was crying, probably because this is standard fare for couples visiting Ikea. We should have known better! We left the store, defeated, once again.

This story does have a silver lining. After going to our car, we took some impromptu measurements and decided to brave Ikea again. Mainly because of Bryan’s declaration that, “We already wasted half the day in this place. I’m not leaving with nothing!” So we go back into the store, through the warehouse this time, measure everything and realize it will actually fit! We packed that bad boy up, stood in a ridiculously long line to pay, loaded up the Honda, and drove straight to pick up Sophie from school since we were down to the last 30 minutes before the pick-up deadline.

Needless to say, Sophie’s was so excited by her new “big girl” bed. And while it seems like “all’s well that end’s well,” it’s important to remember what a trip to Ikea will really do to a couple. I promised to Bryan I will never take him there on a “day of fun” again. To be honest, I think I’m scarred enough from this last trip that I won’t be going there at all for the forceable future. Damn you, Ikea!

I guess this makes it okay in the end … maybe. 

20 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2012 3:00 am

    Glad she’s happy with her new bed and you had a day out, even with the frustrations!
    Ikea– love the marketplace! And Lydia used to love the play room there- even when she was way too tall for it she wanted to go!

  2. May 29, 2012 6:18 am

    The opposite with me is true. I’ll go go to IKEA to do some browsing, some light buying (nothing big, and never furniture). I can’t imagine having to go through all that. I guarantee you I wouldn’t be the one silently crying. I’d be the crazy lady they took away in cuffs for knocking my husband over the head with a glass vase.

  3. May 29, 2012 7:15 am

    This is so true! I love going there, and browsing, but when you are on a mission — watch out! Though, Dan and I have also made the mistake of going there with child and having that same meltdown, usually because of said child. I guess no visit is without complications – but it looks like Sophie enjoys the bed!!!

  4. May 29, 2012 7:43 am

    The worst shopping trips are when I think we’re buying and he thinks we’re researching. So frustrating! It’s amazing anyone makes it out of Ikea alive. But I did have one fun trip there that I try to always keep in mind. A college friend bought her first place a couple of years ago and on a girl weekend, four of us went to Ikea together and helped her choose a couple of bookshelves. I wish there was a video of us trying to strap those boxes to the top of her car. In the end, we got the bookshleves home and put together with no extra pieces trailing after assembly. They looked great, especially with our feet up on the coffee table and a glass of wine in hand.

  5. May 29, 2012 9:02 am

    I understand how that works. We don’t live near an Ikea…it’s three hours away. SO…when I go, it’s a chick’s overnighter! THAT is the best way to do Ikea! I’m glad Sophie liked the bed and I love the day of fun idea!

  6. May 29, 2012 9:11 am

    I like IKEA in theory, but I absolutely hate going there and won’t if there is any other option. There wasn’t, it turned out, when we needed to replace the faucet on our sink–the IKEA sink could take nothing but an IKEA faucet. So we decided to go there and buy the faucet and some plates to use at cookouts.

    An hour and a half later, we both had migraines. Why an hour and a half? Because after winding our way through the congested showroom, it turned out that the faucet wasn’t one of the items that you can just pick up as you go by. And it wasn’t one of the items that you pick up in the warehouse. No, we had to check out, pay for it, and then take the receipt to another desk where they would bring it to us. And that part alone took more than 45 minutes. I have no idea why. But I’ll only order online from now on.

  7. May 29, 2012 11:13 am

    I love Ikea, but we don’t have it in my country!

  8. Lorena permalink
    May 29, 2012 11:14 am

    As a 30 Rock lover, I love the reference, Leah! I’m also in a love-hate relationship with Ikea… Thankfully, we haven’t had to set foot in there recently after my husband’s last horrible trip there (suffice it to say it involved a rainy day, a desk that wouldn’t fit in our car easily and a lost cell phone).

    Sometimes, I think the process of Ikea furniture is like making sausage — sure, the end result can be pretty enjoyable, but the process of making it… not so much!

  9. May 29, 2012 1:24 pm

    Its great for everything except the major decisions when you need to buy furniture!

  10. May 29, 2012 4:39 pm

    I apologise Leah, I laughed through this entire post! Easy to laugh at somebody else’s expense right, but you made it so REAL, so funny, I could just imagine the entire thing. All I can say is I am sorry!

  11. May 29, 2012 4:40 pm

    Your usual ‘day of fun’ sounds Heavenly, to me. Breakfast, Goodwill & bookstores…sometimes more than one bookstore? Where did you find this wonderful man that enjoys the same stuff you (and may I say I) do? My husband’s idea of fun is golfing. (Honestly, I’d rather brave Ikea. LOL!) Glad it all turned out right in the end!

  12. May 29, 2012 8:36 pm

    Poor dear! Crying in Ikea on your day of fun! Glad it turned out well in the end. Sophie is so cute. Love her stack of books on the floor by the bed. Apple didn’t fall far from the tree, did she?

  13. May 30, 2012 3:25 am

    I have never been to IKEA (none close by) but want to so much! There’s one we pass everytime we take or pick up my daughter from college — and every single time I think about it, but I know it would turn into a similar trip to the one you describe because those days are always very, very stressful anyway. I feel your pain, Leah, great piece with great descriptions!

  14. May 30, 2012 9:11 pm

    That is exactly how I feel about Ikea … loved this post! 🙂

  15. May 31, 2012 6:08 pm

    I felt so bad for you. I know I’ve been there when something has ruined a perfectly wonderful, looked-forward-to day, but I don’t remember offhand what it actually was. I know it wasn’t IKEA because we don’t live near one. At least Sophie was happy.

  16. June 1, 2012 5:25 am

    I’ve never heard of Ikea. Sounds like a wonderfully dreadful place to shop.
    I’m glad things finally worked out and Sophie got her big girl bed. She’s so sweet laying there sleeping.
    I hope you’re now fully recharged and your feet and emotions are back in tact. 🙂

  17. June 6, 2012 6:13 am

    Love this! And I seem to forget the Ikea experience and trot right back over there. All seems well at first, and then I get lost in the warehouse trying to find the exact, adorable lil chair my daughter wanted for her new apartment. And there’s no one in the warehouse to help!!!!!

  18. June 26, 2012 3:44 pm

    Have you ever tried to return an IKEA purchase? I’ll just say that it makes shopping at IKEA seem absolutely delightful. That place is hell on earth.


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