J/K. I didn’t actually eat there, although I noticed that every menu item helpfully had the calorie count, from the Americanized Chicken Fingers to more native Swedish meatballs and Salmon (mm…Sjorapport!). Actually, I had hoped to have shed this mortal coil without actually ever entering an Ikea, but man plans, God laughs. My daughter, getting ready to move into a new apartment, wanted an Ikea dresser, and the fact that we already had a dresser sitting in the garage for her (made from Wal-Mart’s finest particleboard) did not tempt her in the least. Instead, she wanted to spend whatever meager funds she had on a new dresser. So off we went.
After crossing the desert (Interstate traffic during rush hour) we eventually made it to this false temple of consumerism. Frankly, my initial impression was, “what’s the big deal?” It looked like a Costco, warehouse ceilings and all. But as we wandered through the various home furnishing displaces, I recognized Ikea for what it really was, Service Merchandise.
Service Merchandise was a retail store that existed until 2002 (it now exists as a web only business). It was much like any comparable department store of its day, Sears, JC Penny’s, or Zayre, but it had a gimmick. Instead of filling up a cart with their useless crap, you actually took a ticket, went to a service desk to pay for your items, and the boxed item would come out on a conveyer belt from the warehouse, like a baggage carousel. I have childhood memories of shopping this way and found it annoying. But at least the right boxes were delivered to you. The Swedes had figured out a way to dumb down even that process.
In the display room area of Ikea, you didn’t even get tags with the numerical code of the item; you had to write those down yourself. Then you went to the warehouse area, and wandered through it until you actually came across the correct shelving and boxes. Service Merchandise was way ahead of its time compared to Ikea. But…it wasn’t hip to shop at Service Merchandise; the opposite in fact. Ikea on the other hand, seems to have some sort of cool factor. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why, but cool isn’t something you figure out, you either get it or you don’t, and when it comes to Ikea, I’m clearly in the latter category.
One interesting thing I noticed was about the people who shopped there. There were a pretty high number of women wearing hajibs. In spite of that, I rated the Head Chop Threat Level Matrix to be low. I don’t think it topped a 2. After all, Sweden is practically a colony of the Caliphate, so I imagine that they want to safeguard their new possessions.
To me, the real disappointment about Ikea is that the furniture is not particularly attractive or interesting looking. I just wouldn’t care to have it in my house. Hopefully, I won’t have to repeat my visit there, and if I can accomplish that modest goal, then I’ve had a life well lived.