Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mama Mia, It's IKEA!!!

For those uninformed like myself, Ikea (eye-key-a) is a cross between Mathis Brothers Furniture, Pier One Imports and Sam's Club. It's not a store, but a life-changing experience. My experience was in Frisco, Texas.

Methodical yet random, lifestyle or practical, fluff or necessity — all this is the one-hour or one-day quandary a visit will overwhelm you with. Remember, their furniture is all "self-assembly" — code for "YOU put it together". To get your purchase home, they provide roof racks, twine and tarps — or for the "big spenders," an Enterprise rental van. (Shhh!! It's a secret, but they also have a home delivery service.)

Upon entering, the escalator whisks you up to the second floor to start your journey. Big blue arrows on the floor or in the air guide you through a labyrinth of furniture, accessories and whole-house stuff. A lazy stroll through the Living Room area leads to a vast array of wall units, media storage and shelving. Need a Crestmoor lamp (we got one), need an elephant pillow (we got one), need a CD/DVD holder that looks like a Mediterranean footstool (we got one) or a green dragon pal for your pet? That's right — we got one!

Home office? Well, you bet your desk we do. Organizational stuff? "Bin my son, and clutter no more." Or more lights than you could grow on trees — maybe some of them ARE on trees. Little kitchen gadgets that you've lived all your life without, but if you had them, it would be neat (but you couldn't find the darn thing when you needed to use it, anyway).

Bedspreads, linens, rugs (maybe even flying carpets), wicker, batteries, clocks and children's toys. Oh, my gosh — I'm so confused and I'm still just on the second floor!

Then came the real surprise — Ikea has model apartments laid out in different sizes from 677 sq. ft. to maybe 1,000 sq. ft., that are Ikea from top to bottom. Their stuff fills it up — kitchen cabinets, sinks, closet storage with shoe racks, futons, toilets, chairs, dishes, pictures. Oh, my word — it's like an apartment dweller's "Happy Meal" in Barbie House dimensions. 

It's just a little bit freaky that the tea strainer (not for a pot, but for one cup), soap dish and bed are all from one place. If you moved, you could put your "Ikea Happy Meal" apartment in a POD and go anywhere. 2008 is mobile to the third power, and living out the dream is not your board-and-cement-block shelves anymore!

I haven't even gotten to the part about a bistro on the second floor with Italian, Chinese or Continental fare, with background music to engage your senses. Not your thing? Then the smell of cinnamon rolls and 50-cent hot dogs overpower you on the first floor as you enter the "warehouse zone." That's right — you go pluck your own stuff off of huge shelf racks, a.k.a the warehouse, and then proceed to the checkout area to self-check yourself out. 

People were lost like a group of kids playing "Pin the Tail on the Donkey." It works, though — they have these all over the world. Maybe you get one with an NBA team. They could pop one of those "Happy Meals" in one of those OKC downtown apartments.

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