Monday, November 9, 2015

IKEA is Where Happiness Goes to Die

I’ve mentioned to you before that the stairway to my basement is basically one of those caves from The Descent. To get through it, you have to lie upside-down at a 45 degree angle, suck in your stomach, and have someone slowly lower you in using a rope tied around the feet.

This is unfortunate for many reasons, not the least of which is that there’s actually quite a lot of good space down in the basement that I would love to use, but for the fact that I cannot get anything other than doll furniture into the area.

My laundry room is in the basement and when the people from Lowe's finished their 3-hour washer and dryer delivery process, they told me this was the “hardest” delivery they had ever done and that if I ever sold my house I would probably just need to abandon anything in the basement and start over somewhere else. They also said something about how great my hair looked but I'm so super embarrassed about that so I won't mention it here.

I’ve been scouring the Earth for furniture that might work for the area, hoping desperately to find a pill that turns into a couch if you just add water.


Do any of my homies remember that pill/toy thing from the 80s? They had these pills that you put in hot water and they would blow up with time into a dinosaur sponge. Am I making this up? Did I imagine something from my childhood that isn’t real? Help me.

Anyway, I’ve been avoiding the inevitable for a while. But IKEA finally came calling.

Let me be clear. IKEA is the world’s worst place. Everyone who has ever even driven passed an IKEA is going straight to hell. Every person associated with IKEA takes direct instructions from Satan himself. This includes the people who design the furniture, the people who design the store, the people who draw the pictures in the assembly instruction pamphlets. Everyone. All of them. There are no exceptions to this.

I think the Queen of Colors may be the CEO.

Can I get an amen?!

I hate IKEA with a hot and fiery passion. I hate that once you get on the escalator at the store’s entrance, you have committed to walking a full marathon. I hate that you are forced to view every piece of merchandise in the entire store just to get out of it with the one crappy thing you stopped in to buy.

And it doesn’t matter how busy the store is at any given moment. No matter how many people are shopping, the line to get out of the store is always exactly the same length: 12 miles long. It’s actually pretty impressive that they are able to maintain this consistency. I think the IKEA store managers might be math geniuses. I bet IKEA is where all of the NASA rejects go.

I'm aware that I'm probably provoking that one anonymous commenter right now who gets super mad whenever I say anything even remotely negative. But I am totally willing to accept that risk here.

Because IKEA is terrible. They actually patterned hell after IKEA. Not the other way around, like you were taught in school.

I wandered into the IKEA on a mission to buy one couch that I knew came in three long but skinny boxes that could slide down my stairs. And I believed that this was probably the only way I was ever going to get a couch into my basement.

And that’s how IKEA is able to do what they do. They make the items that every single one of you at some point in your life will be forced to buy whether you like it or not  because they are the only place that makes those items. This is a capitalism loophole. They should be tried for crimes against humanity for exploiting this.

I wandered in. I found the couch. I liked it. I walked 26.2 miles to get to the warehouse section. I wandered that area for literally 20 minutes looking for an employee to help me order the item I wanted to buy. She had no clue how to use the system so after 10 minutes of attempting to do so anyway, she called another employee who took 10 minutes to show up. That employee didn’t know how to use the computer either. They called someone. They finally printed something out and told me to go wait in the excruciatingly long line, which made no sense because there were no cars in the parking lot, but, see above.

I waited in that line and paid for the couch. They then sent me to this other area to wait to retrieve it. There I was told that there was “only one person working in the back” and that it would probably take him half of a full eternity to get my item for me.

At this point, Matt showed up with his car, which we planned to use to transport the three large boxes.

We waited patiently, hating IKEA because if you don’t hate it then I GUESS YOU HATE AMERICA.

And then finally. FINALLY. They wheeled my boxes out.

In what I can only call a gross spatial reasoning miscalculation, it turned out that only two of the three boxes just barely fit into Matt’s car.

And so, we began the world’s most ridiculous process of tying the third box to the top of his car with enough twine to go all the way around the world. Twice.

We fed it through his windows. We wrapped it over the top of the box. Around the sides. Back through the windows. Under the car. Around a pole nearby. Through your grandma's legs. We tied everything to everything else. It was a mess. Parents shielded their children’s eyes when they walked by. Mr. Pants sat in the car watching us with a look on his face like he was a teenager and we were ruining his life.

Somehow during all of this, we failed to consider how Matt might enter his vehicle now that literally every single door was tied shut.

Matt folded his body in 19 different places, the way no man should ever have to do, and we deposited him into the car through one window that was half-rolled down.

And then we began the 15-mile drive across town in rush-hour traffic.

I followed behind him, while giving Bob and Cathie a play-by-play over the phone. They gasped in all the right places. All the right places were every time we had to turn and the box slid 3 feet to the side.

And then Cathie did what she always does and will always do no matter how not-12-years-old I am. She gave me some variation of the “that Matt is very good to you and you better thank him” speech. I rolled my eyes a lot and said stuff like “I know, mom.”

We got to my house safely. I truly believe angels were flying next to Matt’s car holding the box in place. I think it might have been all of his ancestors he recently found when he became obsessed with genealogy last month.

We slid the boxes into the basement. We opened the assembly manual. Ollie started eating all of the cardboard. And for the next eleventy years, Matt went to work and assembled my new couch until it was time for him to take me to the airport to catch a red eye flight.

I watched him work, because I’ve sort of stopped pretending to help in these situations. Cathie’s words rang through my mind. And I realized, as I have many times before, how incredibly fortunate I am to have Matt in my life.

It’s hard to express this sort of thing to him because he has the soul of a cranky old man and he gets very uncomfortable when I say anything nice to him. But I don’t care. He’s friends with me and he knew what I was when he picked me up (a sappy and emotional man with exceptional hair).
So I’ll say it here. 

I adore you, Matt Pants. I don’t think I can adequately explain how grateful I am to have you in my life. Although I spend 90% of the time when I visit you at home rolling around on the floor whispering sweet nothings into Ollie’s ears, I enjoy every minute that I am able to spend with you as well. Your friendship has been invaluable to me. Thank you for the countless acts of service, the patience, the consistency, and the companionship. Thank you for never making me feel like a burden when I ask you for help with something I should definitely just know how to do on my own. I hope you’ll be in my life for many years to come.


Now maybe Bob and Cathie will get off my back.

~It Just Gets Stranger

41 comments:

  1. I love Ikea. Can we still be friends?

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    Replies
    1. Only if you disavow Glee. I can only forgive so much.

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    2. I offer you this:
      http://gleesucksdotcom.tumblr.com/image/3094964831

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    3. I accept this and hereby invite you to my 10th Annual Turtlenog Party.

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    4. Not gonna lie, that is all I want out of life right now.

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  2. Ikea ruins relationships. http://curbed.com/archives/2012/02/10/watch-tina-fey-and-james-marsden-shop-at-ikea-on-30-rock.php

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  3. I remember the sponges in a pill! Mine came in packages that were without a label so I never knew what manner of creature would be unveiled until it took the plunge into the water.

    Also, it just dawned on me that you may be Matt's Rebecca?

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  4. "Magic Grow Capsules" still available today. I know people who just love going and hanging out in ikea, glad to know I'm not the only one who doesn't get it!

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  5. Following the prescribed walking path at Ikea is a rookie move. You park in the loading zone and go In the Out, making sure that whatever you want isn't already assembled and 20% off in the As Is section. I acknowledge that you probably had to visit the dreaded upstairs showroom to select your couch, but if you continued down that path instead of going back Out the IN then IN the Out directly to the warehouse, I'm ashamed of you.

    I've re-read this several times and it totally makes sense. I think.

    Cheers!

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    Replies
    1. This explanation, and the math I was required to do to understand it, only illustrates my point.

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  6. Best thing to go to Ikea for: Tag.
    Gather a pile of friends, large game of tag throughout the store. Lots of corners to run around and baskets of pillows to hide inside.

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    1. I say we schedule a Strangers game of tag. Since most of us don't actually know each other in person, we could seriously just run around and tag every stranger we meet! If anyone asks we just say it's a family reunion.

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  7. I hope you and Matt and Ollie will be very happy, and I'm sure Bob and Cathie are glad you found Matt and Ollie, but I'm not sure this is what they meant when they told you to find someone and give them grandchildren. Just guessing, but I'm pretty sure B&C aren't going to get off your back anytime soon, on that point at least.

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  8. I totally have some of those Magic Grow Capsules at my house right now. I bought them for my kids, but if you want to come visit, I'll let you have some of them, too!

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    1. Also, I just ordered some stuff from Ikea...no going to the store! I love internet shopping...

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  9. I remember buying a six-foot bookcase at IKEA once. I'm 4'11". Imagine a tiny person trying to stuff a box a foot taller than she is into her car. That was me. Because NO ONE WILL HELP YOU.

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  10. An IKEA was built a few miles from my house. At the time, it was the ONLY one within like a 300 mile radius so it was packed every day. All day..all night.

    I HATE shopping, and thank the retail gods for Internet commerce, so I was certain I'd NEVER set foot in an IKEA ever.

    And I haven't.

    This could be, the end, BUT I think it's worth noting that not long after the IKEA opened we experienced an epic ice storm. Epic in that it looked like someone had poured a pitcher of water over everything, and the 'everything' was already at -40 degrees. I do believe, Hell froze over when IKEA opened their doors.

    Just sayin'.

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  11. My kids just came home the other day with little sponge animals they had "grown" out of pills in water at the neighbor's house. It's definitely still a thing!

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  12. Preach it! Both regarding Ikea and the part about having good friends. They just built one in the city I live near a couple of years ago. I'm pretty sure Ikea is Scandinavian word meaning "Soul eater".

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  13. My neighbor created a furniture company for you. Pop-it-Furniture. It all comes as flat pieces and assembles like a puzzle. No hardware. It can be taken apart and rebuilt over and over again. They tell me their target audience is someone with difficult to reach spaces who hates IKEA. http://www.popitfurniture.net/

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  14. So strange, I was reading this blog thinking about how we do not have an IKEA in this state. I have never been to one, even though I am interested to visit just to see what all the fuss is about. My phone chimed to inform me from a local news team that IKEA is building in our town! How did this sorcery come to be? You write about it and bam the exact same time I'm reading about it there is announcement. Could you maybe write about new hardwood floors in my family room to see if this sorcery continues and I somehow get that too?

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    Replies
    1. OMG hardwood floors are the worst! (Please let me know if this worked. I'm looking for a career change.)

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    2. I've also never been to an IKEA. I'm not even sure where the nearest one is. I think somewhere near Philly, but I try to avoid that area as much as possible as it is. Also, my parents (who have also never been to an IKEA, so this is baffling) somehow instilled in me from an early age that IKEA is hell on Earth, so that might have something to do with it. And this is from my dad who LOVES Sweden and Volvo so much that he has TWICE ordered brand new Volvos and flown to Europe to drive them around before he has them shipped home.

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  15. I dated a guy that had mentioned that he worked at IKEA and after I told him that IKEA was literally Hell on Earth, he decided to tell me all of the reasons why it was amazing. I didn't agree with him and we were actually on I-15 at the time heading somewhere and he decided that it was a good time to pull over and prove to me that you could get in and out of the store in less than 10 minutes. I followed him because I didn't want him to cheat. I timed it and it took him 15 minutes! He didn't even stop to look at any furniture or account for time to stand in line. He was just so adamant about it and refused to admit that he was wrong! Now, I won't say that was the reason I broke up with him but...it was.
    People who like IKEA are the spawn of Satan.

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  16. Two words: IKEA meatballs. Makes all the torture worth it.

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    Replies
    1. Two more words: Cheap meat. Spawned from the depths of hell itself.

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  17. I'm laughing hysterically through this. A few years ago, I went to an Ikea far away from home. This was exciting, because I knew I wouldn't run into anyone. Wrong. I ran into my high school boyfriend and his fiancé. I've learned my lesson.

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  18. I'm glad you have Matt and all, but this doesn't make me miss Daniel any less!

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    Replies
    1. I thought of Daniel too, when I read this. I wonder how he is...

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  19. Ikea is the greatest place on earth. Literally heaven on earth. I love Ikea and Ikea loves you. So all you can die. Thanks

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  20. Ikea is the greatest place on earth. Literally heaven on earth. I love Ikea and Ikea loves you. So all you can die. Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Poop, when was the last time you pooped? You're sounding a little constipated and angry.

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  21. Ikea furniture is what i call "disposable". I can buy something to serve a purpose and not feel quilty about throwing it out when i find something i like better.

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    1. And i love the meatballs!

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  22. I have never stepped foot in an IKEA. My roommate does keep trying to get me to go for "fun."

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  23. Interesting how not one comment requested seeing a photo of the finished product. I guess if you've seen one Ikea-ed basement, you've seen them all!

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  24. Listen... I'm not trying to say you went to Ikea for nothing but...

    http://www.realcoolsavings.com/inflate/sofassu.html

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  25. I hate that my life has been so hectic that I'm just now catching up on the blog! I usually read these the day after they're posted but on that day I had 13 back-to-back interviews for the job I'm already doing. Seriously - I'm in the Interim Registrar and I'm interviewing for Registrar . . . .it was exhausting and I could barely keep my eyes open when it was done. I've been recovering ever since.

    Now - on to the important stuff . . . . first - you're not unAmerican if you don't like IKEA. You're unSwedish - and that' probably ok. Probably.

    Secondly - My 9 year old son is obsessed with those pill things. He gets them at the Dollar Store. I hate them - biggest waste of money and water ever. I'm constantly throwing out little spongy shapes that are no longer interesting after they've grown up. And no - that doesn't include my husband.

    Thirdly - you do indeed have a good friend in Matt. Have you considered locking him in that basement to make sure he doesn't get away? Then you'd have Mr. Pants time anytime you wanted it day or night.

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  26. So you're saying you hate Swedish people. What did my great grandfather ever do to you??

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  27. AMEN! Amen amen amen amen and AMEN! I cannot thank you more for revealing that store for what it really is! I experienced as an early teen when my sister decided that of ALL the places was where she wanted to register for her wedding. But instead of an electronic scanner, she had to actually write the super long product number down. Imagine you experience times DOUBLE that's how long it took.

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