I don't know about you, but when I was a kid and otherwise a fan of the Muppets, the Swedish Chef kinda scared me. He was always upset about something, and every time we saw him, we knew we were moments away from his complete mental breakdown. One second he'd seem so cute and unassuming, and the next he'd be sing-song yelling and throwing fish.

I was at Ikea for almost four hours today.

"Sweetie, is this is a good price for a SKLOORG?"

Ikea is kind of an amazing, all-encompassing experience, at once fantastic and horrid. Furniture! And hot dogs! And wheelie carts! And...did you know they sell thread?

Four hours.

Mostly I think Ikea is a good idea. Because how many times have you walked into a Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn and looked at a $50+ price tag and said, "Oh, hey, see, I thought this was just a frame made out of regular old wood. I didn't realize this was one of those magic wood frames that's secretly lined with gold and aged by the teardrops of faeries."

Whereas at Ikea, that same piece of wood -- while lined with far more holes, sure -- is roughly $0.69.

Overall, I am not sure if I love or hate Ikea, or if I should just resign myself to the fact that it's a necessary evil in my life, mostly awful but occasionally awesome. Like American Idol.

There's always traffic getting there, and the act of searching for a parking spot, finding one, and herding into the store along with half the county has the feel of something exciting. You and the mostly unattractive crowd have come for miles and are trudging en masse toward...the state fair? The circus? Some amazing live performance you will tell your grandkids about?


You and 12,000 other people have traveled near and far to see if you can, maybe, hopefully, possibly, find two matching 300 lb. fiberboard cabinet doors in "walnut."

(You can't.)

The move/unpacking is going awesome, in case you were wondering.

That's sarcasm. The move/unpacking has been a royal pain in the ass.


  1. I'm with you on Ikea. Very much a necessary evil, though one I rely on less and less. We finally got one closer than Emeryville and I was ecstatic. I've been there twice since it was built and never bought a single damn thing.

  2. On one hand, I love the prices. On the other hand, I rarely find anything I cannot live without. Sigh. I spent an hour there today and feel as if I now have the right to rip heads off and present them on silver platters.

  3. I have a love hate relationship with Ikea...the prices are wonderful but after spending too long in there you just want to take a sledge hammer to the faux wood that the warehouse is littered with. oye and then there is the issue of putting it together...glad moving in is going so well.

  4. The first time I went there I was luckily forewarned to wear comfy shoes, bring a list and expect to go home empty-handed. I've since acquired some cute items for my apartment - from glasses to a bedside table.
    Some of the stuff though does make me feel a bit like I'm living in a college apartment, and its all ready to fall apart if I decide to dance around too hard to my favorite (but secret!) Kelly Clarkson tune!

  5. The only thing I hate more than packing is unpacking and trying to figure out where the hell to put things . . .

    But I'm glad to hear yours is going well! :-)

  6. sarah, dizzy - sorry, i was being sarcastic. HATE unpacking. HATE.

    karen - which one?

    rachael, jennie - leaving Ikea empty-handed (i have discovered) is only okay if i plan it that way (e.g., going on a reconnaissance mission). if i go expecting to buy something and then can't/don't, i feel a sense of defeat such as i have never otherwise known.

  7. Oh dear - - sorry about that! Yes, unpacking IS a pain, isn't it?

    When we moved to our new home Nov. 2007, we were only in here six days when a major ice storm hit and we were without power (OR HEAT! With single-digit temps!) for EIGHT DAYS . . . and almost every damn thing we owned was still packed in all the boxes. THAT was the move from Hell . . . after that I told Dear Hubby we will never ever move again!

    Good luck with your unpacking, Kristy. I'm sure the whole place will look wonderful when you are done! :-)

  8. When my daughter was couple of months old we made the mistake of going to Ikea on a weekend with the stroller.

    My VERY mild-mannered husband nearly got into a fistfight with a man who went ballistic because we bumped him with the stroller in our slow but inexorable march through the room setups.

    I'm convinced that there's something in the meatballs (or maybe the glue of the MDF) that just makes normal people go nuts.

  9. I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea. I love the affordable prices, bright colors and patterns. I hate their couches. I bought two. Both have broke. Lame. I still get excited every time I go back :)

  10. I <3 IKEA. I just bought a Flarke. I put it together completely wrong. I can't wait to get more of them. :)

    Mostly though, it's all about the lingonberries and ginger cookies. Meatballs are a close second.

    May the unpacking be swift and painless.

  11. I am torn between love and hate for IKEA too. And the unpacking? SUX. If I had a couch I'd lie on it and give up entirely. Alas, I am couch-less and thus, forced to keep unpacking.

  12. Ok, i'm glad to see it's the same experience at all Ikeas. I mean, i appreciate consistency.
    But i love my POANG. It may be getting creaky after 3 years, but it's mine.

    Oh, and i always loved the Swedish Chef. Bork! Bork! Bork!

  13. I moved into my apartment 2 years ago... there are still boxes I have yet to unpack. Do you think it's a sign that I don't need that stuff and should just throw it out??

    NO WAY!

  14. I have been to Ikea exactly once and came home and curled up into a fetal position and rocked for hours. It? Was scary. I've blacked it out and only remember the awesomeness that was the shower curtain I bought.

  15. I'm just jealous that you have the option of Ikea. I live in a small town in West Virginia (I can from a much larger town so this is still new to me) and around here, the locals get the same way about Wal-Mart. I hate Wal-Mart.
    I also hate packing. I feel for ya!

  16. I meant to say that I came from a much larger town. Not can. Many apologies.

  17. There are some things that Ikea offers that can't be beat. I've got some almost indestructible kid's bunk beds. Some bookshelves and CD cabinets. Almost every room in my (in the midst of moving) home has something from there.

    However, do yourself a favor and skip the dressers. I got some gorgeous ones. They move okay once, sometimes three times. However, by move four and now five, they're looking pretty rough.

    An interesting pointer I found out. If the product is named after a Swedish city, it's their best. Norway is middle quality and if it's meant to be thrown away or walked on, it's named after a city in Denmark. The Danes are unimpressed.


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