Wednesday, November 16, 2005

That one day at Ikea
There’s a new Ikea store in the greater Boston-metro area. If ever a town cried out – seriously, all the time with the crying – for an Ikea store, it was this one. With half a million college students milling around ever September, there’s a big demand for cheap, flat-pack furniture.

Ikea is a big hit. Apparently the traffic jam to get into the parking lot exceeds an hour. People are ready for their Swedish meatballs and a good time.

I won’t be going to the Ikea for a while. I don’t really need anything, so I’m good on that front. And I don’t have any desire to fight the crowds. So I’ll wait like six months.

When we lived in Chicago I spent a fair amount of time Ikea – I ended up there on the grand opening day by accident. I’d tagged along with my friend to have drinks, and then his girlfriend picked us up and drove us to Ikea. There’s nothing like Ikea with a bit of a buzz. My brain was totally overloaded.

I guess for me, the defining Ikea experience I had was with my friend Bea. She and her partner had split after years together. Bea was living in a lovely little garden apartment with her dog and some very beautiful furniture. One night, a thoughtless neighbor left a candle burning. Bea’s building caught fire and while she didn’t suffer much actual fire damage she lost most of her stuff to the smoke and water damage.

Bea called us early one Sunday morning to tell us what happened. We rushed over to pick her up and take her home with us. Her place smelled like an old wet campfire. It was pretty terrible. Mold arrived shortly after.

After a few days and some talks with her insurance agent (thankfully she had renters) we formulated a plan of action. We had to re-furnish Bea’s apartment with little money (she was rather under-insured) and little time.

So Bea and I made a big list and we hit the Ikea. I spent about 12 hours there with her – helping her pick out everything from plates to a new sofa. We arranged for purchase and delivery. I think we ate two meals there. I was sweaty and exhausted by the time the day was through.

When you eat two meals of Swedish meatballs at Ikea, you’ve probably been there for too long. In the end we accomplished our goals, got her back on her feet pretty quickly and still allowed for her to have some money left over (I think we spent about $5000 at Ikea and furnished her entire apartment rather nicely) to rebuild her nest-egg or pick up a sexy little laptop (I believe she did both).

And I learned a lot about Ikea, about my friend Bea, and Swedish meatballs.


Blogger audreyanne said...

When a fire on the front hedge in front of one of the units in my building set the fence ablaze, I went "well, darn" after it was put out before it spread. I wanted to be able to take a trip to Ikea to buy all new stuff (what I own is crap). The premiums I've spent on insurance has almost been more than what I would collect so someone, toss that cigarette butt into the dry hedge again. Anyone? Besides I like the Swedish desserts and coffee.

2:25 PM  

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