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Monday, November 29, 2010

Shopping at IKEA

Once each holiday season, I venture out to IKEA, the Swedish mega store that lures you into buying super cute things because they are already put together in wonderful little displays throughout the store.  Then you get home with a zillion boxes and wonder when your home will resemble, even a little bit, the display you fondly left behind when you drove home.  Of course, IKEA is kind of the Target of Sweden...there's just kind of no way to go in there for just a couple of things.  We started with the small, hand held IKEA shopping bag and ended with a full cart and a flatbed with not one, but two pieces of furniture, disassembled, of course.  And true to form, we forgot something.  UGH.  That kills me.  Now I have to figure out when I can go back.  But in spite of the long check out lines and the fact that the stores are set up so you have to look at everything they have before you check out, and of course, all of the Christmas stuff is right before you check out, I enjoy my trips to IKEA.  My one rule is that I absolutely, positively will not go on a weekend.  So, on a wintry, sunny Monday in November I decided to make my annual Christmas run for napkins, candles, Christmas plants and other delights.  Doug needed an outing so off we went.
Poinsettia, IKEA.  Bow, Jodi
 Of course, the first thing we did was go to the cafe where we both had a nice lunch of Swedish meatballs.  They were running a special so we both ate for 58 crowns...That's $8.00, for both of us!  Nothing costs 58 crowns in Sweden.  We almost felt like we should eat twice for that price!  From there we began our sojourn to find a coffee table, a TV stand for the television in our bedroom, a new laundry drying rack, pillows for the living room, a new salad bowl, glasses for the kitchen, and the aforementioned holiday items. Naturally, we didn't plan to buy all of that stuff, but it just kept jumping off the racks into our cart(s).  I scored on cute plates for our Christmas party, some new ornaments, nice candles for the fireplace, poinsettias, a gardenia, an amaryllis, a lovely hyacinth plant and wrapping paper, cards, etc. It was actually kind of fun poking around.  I hadn't been there for ages.
Whenever I mention I'm going to IKEA here in Sweden, many Americans are interested to know what the experience is like.  Yes, the IKEA's in the US are quite similar except here everything is priced in crowns and the clerks speak Swedish.  Also, we say E-KAY-AH here instead of EYE-KEY-AH in the US.  There are two giant IKEA stores within 20 minutes of where we live.  The flagship store...that is the very first IKEA, is built in a circle and it gets to be too much like Dante's Inferno so we prefer the other one.  Curiously, the IKEA's here in Sweden are not blue and yellow like everywhere else in the world. I suppose it would seem a bit over the top nationalistic if the IKEA's looked like the Swedish flag as they do in other countries.  The IKEA's here in Sweden do not sell food.  The food that Americans buy in IKEA's in the US is sold in regular grocery stores here.  It's not IKEA food.  It's just normal Swedish groceries that IKEA happens to sell in the US.  So if I want the food that IKEA's in the US sell, I simply go to my local grocery store, which is great because it's much easier than going to IKEA.
Of course, getting home and getting everything put away and put together is the best part about IKEA.  Even now as I write this, I'm sitting in an IKEA chair, receiving light from our IKEA lamp, looking at our IKEA couch and bookshelves, and pondering how to use the new IKEA decorations throughout our home this Christmas.  I guess I really do like IKEA and I'm lucky that my husband enjoys a good challenge now and again!
Happy 2nd day of Advent from me and IKEA in Sweden.