Sunday, September 23, 2012

IKEA Survival Tips

I lost my blogging momentum. AGAIN! I hear blogs are dead, so it probably doesn't matter much anway.

I'm having friends over next Saturday which has prompted me to (attempt to) complete many, many little projects around this apartment. One of which required a trip to IKEA. If you've ever been to IKEA, you know it can be a unique and strange hell on earth. Here are some tips for getting through it alive and with your personal relationships in tact.

That door is like a mouth, ready to eat you. via

1. If possible, go alone. 
If you don't really need help, go by yourself. Don't take your children if you can help it. You can move more quickly and don't have to worry about the potential fatigue, hunger, irritability, or generally otherwise unpleasantness of your companions.

1a. If you do go with other people, don't feel obligated to stick together.  Unless the other people are children.
This is especially true if you and the people in your group shop at different paces. Make a loose plan about when/where you will meet up periodically and/or keep your phones on you with the volume on if you need to call and find each other. Large groups move at a glacier pace, irritating themselves and everyone around them.

2. Eat first. 
50 cents to save your life
I swear, even if you ate at home, grab one of those 50 cent hot dogs BEFORE you shop. It may be located by the exit, but you can just cut over and grab one and then go back inside. This way, you will avoid becoming one of those people slowly floating around in some sort of hot-dog deprived, low blood sugar fog, running into people at every turn. (See number three below)

3. Watch where you are going! (Also known as, stop and look at the roses)
It seems like you should be able to walk at a leisurely pace while browsing the selections, but this is simply not reality at IKEA. You will bump into people. Other people will bump into you. I like to pick a little out of the way corner, stop, look around and survey the scene, and then walk over to particular items that look good to me. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

4. Skip the showroom
Here is where you get to business.
If you are going to IKEA for a specific item, go straight to it. If it's furniture, just make sure you know everything you need to know before you get there. (See number six below) If you do need to go through the showroom, try to stay focused. Save your energy for the actual reason(s) you're there.

5. Go rogue
Yesterday the aisles were packed with people. Large families mostly, and tons of children. Everywheres. In most spots, the areas where furniture and other items were on display were pretty empty. I skipped the aisles and walked through the display areas. Much easier. When I got to the marketplace area, I went against the flow of people and started at the end. People tend to follow each other, and if you break from the masses, you'll have more space to yourself to look around.

6. Be willing to accept the consequences of shopping at IKEA in the first place
IKEA products notoriously lack specific instructions, and all it takes is a quick google of "IKEA fail" to see that assembling and installing IKEA pieces can be a disaster. For example, I thought I had done plenty of research on the Lack floating shelves. One thing I didn't research was the best way to hang them or the required screws and such so they don't come crashing down. Of course IKEA does not provide the screws as there are all different kinds of walls requiring different screws! Of course! Wouldn't it have been nice if this had occurred to me yesterday? If you have your eye on a particular item, get Google's take before you buy. If you make an impulse purchase, be ready for it to be a more involved project than you realized.
A strong but understandable stance
If your trip is still a disaster after taking my advice, you can join the band* of people who've determined IKEA to be satan.

*they are, in fact, a band. as in one that plays satanic and bluesy music. they might not actually consider IKEA to be satan. learn about them and see original pic courtesy of the Icelandic Music Mafia. My ability to link disappeared halfway through this post so go to  Furniture pick-up area pic from here

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