It has become apparent in our lives there are certain patterns reflecting a set of unwritten rules in retailing. Everyone lives within five minutes of a Walgreens drug store and 83% of the population lives within a 4-hour drive of an IKEA store.
In fact, no one lives near an IKEA store – everyone, no matter where they live, has to drive 4+ hours to get to one. Even if you live within sight of an IKEA, it still takes hours to get there. It is intentional. That way, since so much time and effort goes into the experience, more money is spent. “Get it, Lovie, we’re not coming back this way ‘till next June.”
We live equal-distance between the Detroit and the Bolingbrook, IL IKEA stores. Been to both. A little further is the Schaumberg IKEA but, while that blue and yellow store can be seen perched on its island in the middle of a spaghetti bowl of nine major highway exchanges, we have found it impossible to get there. Locals especially can’t. It is only accessible to them by first driving to Minneapolis, getting on the right highway system and then hitting the proper series of exits to the store two days later. The people who shop there, usually spend the night – after all, they have everything!
But once inside, the rewards are great. The merchandise is all of reasonable price, of intriguingly good design and its durability is fine for today’s “use it and discard it” mindset. If you’re looking for heirloom pieces, go elsewhere.
The only problem with IKEA are the names they call their items. For example, a “Gluj” is a couch. “Jfrobxlmc” is a frying pan. To make sense of what they are displaying, one has to look at it closely and do the mental translation to know what it actually is.
“Look over here, Lovie, look at this Hwdri bjr! What do you think it is?”
“It’s a dishpan, you silly man…”
Further investigation reveals it is actually an accessory drawer for their “Grubunik” – a child’s dresser, of course.
The food at IKEA is an attraction. The Thursday special was a (less then complete) chicken dinner for $1.99. I got a leg and thigh and a lump of mashed potatoes for my selection. Lovie got the white meat version. I added an extra piece of chicken, a side salad and a slice of Xfjguk (chocolate cake) and the bill came to $42.89.
To go through an IKEA is like the Bataan death march. To get from their Jkjunerv’s (stew pots) to their Hgfwklmx’s (stew pot lids) one has to weave his/her way through 12,789 other products, past screaming lost children who have aged three years trying to find their parents, to find the elevator to the second floor and then weave his/her way through that maze to the Hgfwklmx’s section.
Being a senior citizen and with a digestive tract that can get unexpectedly hyperactive, locating bathrooms are a real challenge at IKEA. In anticipation of going there, I engage myself in a six-week regimen of Kegel exercises just so I can buy enough time to find the washrooms there when the need strikes.
Then there are the Bronfikjs (shopping carts). All four wheels pivot, making it even harder to lean on one for lower back relief. Lean on it and it slides away and I find myself with face pressed against the Lgkwq (floor). There are no places to sit (Grovblk) along this route. Rumor has it that a few years ago, Edmund Hillary was in an IKEA and had to be med-evac’d out due to sheer exhaustion. “It was worse than conquering Everest,” he was quoted.
Again, it’s all about design elements – that is why the IKEA store roof contains a heliport for these events which happen with great frequency.
Ours was a great day at IKEA. We finally found our way to the Hbvwqp (checkout) and all our wonderful deals added up to a reasonable $1,376. One has to spend money to save money!
We found the Pklupg (exit), out to our car (Honda), secured our purchases in the glovebox and drove home.