My Ikea Experience

Two weekends ago Beth, the kids, and I took our very first trip to the furniture monstrosity of a superstore known as "Ikea". We had been warned by friends about how overwhelming the place is. But really, how imposing can 365,000 sq ft of furniture showrooms be?

We arrive at Ikea around 10:15am. We were on assignment to locate Beth some furniture she wanted for our home. All she wanted was a couple of bookcases and a cabinet. This shouldn't be to stressful or to time consuming, right? Once inside we immediately found our way to Ikea's daycare/play area for kids. There you can drop your kids off for up to an hour while you shop in peace. The place is well staffed and looked like a lot of fun. To bad Jacob didn't think so. HE how a melt down when we tried to get him to go play. Maria was all for it but Jacob wasn't having any of it. I tried reasoning with him, threatening him, bribing him but nothing worked. He was going to stick with mom and dad this day.

After checking Maria in, we made our way up to the the second floor where everyone begins their Ikea adventure. The set up is basically this: there are sections for kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, closets, dinning rooms, dungeons , and whatever other rooms you may have in your home. And when I say they have EVERYTHING you could ever want for any room in your house I am not exaggerating. Once you decide on a piece of furniture, you write it down on a handy order form and save it until the end of your journey. There you will either pick up the boxes yourself for the items that need assembly or the Ikea staff will get the larger items for you.

Oh, did I mention that on the rain Saturday in Charlotte, every person in a three county radius was there? I have never in my life been in a store with more people then this. It was Black Friday at Target times 100.

The following is a sample conversation from our shopping, just multiplied as many times as needed to fill in the two hour time frame we spent there:

Beth: I like this one, write it down.
Mike: Yes dear.
Mike: Jacob, stop climbing on that.
Beth: No, I like this one better, write it down.
Mike: Yes dear.
Mike: Jacob don't touch that.
(Repeat as needed for first hour)

Beth: No, I like this one better, write it down.
Mike: Yes dear.
Mike: Jacob AND Maria don't touch, climb, throw, or break that.
(Repeat as needed for second hour)

By noon we had finished our Ikea shopping adventure and made our way to the warehouse / checkout area. Beth knew exactly what bookcases she wanted and cabinet. Since we had driven the Explorer down I knew there was no way we could buy any of the items that day and I would be making a return trip within the next week. But then on our way out our trip took a very unexpected, and later tragic, turn. The following are not one but many mistakes made by yours truly that could have led to the death of many people.

Mistake # 1: Ikea has a section of as-is furniture. This furniture may have been displayed, returned, or whatever. The bottom line was it is all 50% off the original price. So we walk in expecting to see a bunch of beat up junk but what we find are two of the exact bookcases Beth wanted for half the price. We knew there was no way they'd be there when I came back later in the week so we made an impulsive decision to buy the bookcases then. You know the old saying, "Your eyes are bigger then your stomach."? Well my eyes got bigger then my car. I somehow convinced myself that these two six-foot tall by twenty-eight inch bookcases would fit in my Explorer with all four of us. But wait it gets better.

Mistake # 2: As I went to go find a flatbed cart to put these two bookcases on, I walked past the other two bookcases we had planned on buying and thought to myself, "These aren't even put together yet. I bet I can get the two that are and these two all in my car, Then when I come back all I'll have to get will be the large cabinet. So I get a second cart, one to put the as-is bookcases on and one for the news that needed assembly. Once I get back to Beth and the kids it's obvious the kids have had enough of Ikea and Beth has had enough of the kids. So we hurriedly get in line to check out. It's at that moment that I realize that I forgot the glass doors for the "needs assembly" bookcases.

Mistake #3: I head back with Jacob in tow to get the four glass doors that will fit our "needs assembly" bookcases. Since each door packaged weighed 20+ lbs, I had to make two trips back to the warehouse with a tired cranky son in tow.

Mistake #4: Once we finished checking out I went to get the car to but our bookcases and glass doors in. I backed up the car to the loading dock, popped the back hatch, and realized very quickly there was no way on Earth this was going to fit. Beth's bright idea was to return the "needs assembly" stuff and get it later. I informed her that hell would freeze over before I walked back into that store again. I was going to get everything in our car even if it killed me, or someone else. I was able to move Maria's seat to the middle and lay part of the seat down. The two as-is bookcases fit perfectly with wise and was a few inches to long. So Beth pushed her seat up as far as it would go so we could close the back hatch. He seat was so far forward he belly touched the dash. I then decided to strap the remaining six boxes (2 bookcases and 4 glass doors) to the roof on the Explorer. I luckily had three bungee cords with me. I set the bookcases on the bottom and stacked the doors on top. After making sure all was secure, we headed home.

Mistake #5: As we started home, I drove well under the speed limit for fear of the boxes sliding off. I even pulled over a few miles down the road to make sure they were still secure. And they were. Hurricane Katrina couldn't blow those boxes off my car. As we drove down I-85 at a steady 55mph pace, a sense of confidence over took me. Beth was on the phone with her mom telling her of the wonderful purchases we just made, the kids were happy to finally be heading home, and I was feeling like a man refused to let a few stupid boxes beat him. It was a good time.

At that moment We both heard a loud BANG and looked back to see cars swerving from behind us as a cloud white wood and glass exploded on the highway. Beth started screaming to her mom on the phone that we just killed somebody. I quickly pulled to the side and made sure there was no wreaks behind us. We then both jumped out of the car to inspect the damage. As we made our way around the back of the car to our surprise were all six boxes. I felt them and they were as tight as they had always been. We had no idea what we saw or heard. I just kind of chuckled and said we must have run over something and not realized it. As I made my way back around to the drivers door I looked up and noticed one of the boxes seemed a lot shorter then the rest. As I climbed up on the door frame I realized what had happened. The wind had gotten underneath the top glass door box and lifted it up with such force that it broke the door in half at the bungee cord ripping the box, glass, and wood frame off the roof and into the following traffic. How no one died or at the very least had a wreak was an act of God.

We happened to be at an exit for a rest stop so we pulled off. I through the remaining glass door into the trash there, took the remaining doors off the roof and somehow managed to get them in the car, then we very quietly headed home. I pulled over every 10-15 minutes to make sure the remaining boxes were ok. It took us three hours to get home when it normally takes 90 minutes.

The rest of the story is the book cases are now up. The as-is ones are in the bonus room and the others are in the living room. I'm heading back to Ikea next week to pick up the cabinet...and new glass door. This time I'm taking my truck.


peterssteps said…
I am proud of you man!!! you never know when IKEA may hook up the horses and leave in the night like a band of Gypsy's. You would never see the cases again!! Sad thing is I would have done the same thing.
Kendra said…
I sooo needed this laugh today :)...

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