Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Came, I Saw, Ikea.

So I did it. I got off the pot, took the bull by the horns, saddled up, felt the heat from the Swedish meatballs and stayed in the kitchen anyway. Even on a midweek morning, the parking lot was packed and folks were faithfully following the arrows, pushing their carts or lugging the big yellow Ikea bags through the maze of oh-so-Svensky-Norsky showrooms. If you've never been to one, and my friend KM hadn't, expect to be whelmed over and strangely impressed.

As KM reports: "A virgin Ikea experience? Hmmm...I really like the way their products are displayed in place, all the different offices, living rooms, etc. Especially, as a realtor, the 560 sq. ft., 2 bedroom home/condo. The comforter display (by warmth) was one of those 'duh' moments. Why doesn’t everyone do it that way? It’s also really striking that everything is made for them, including all the appliances, as opposed to a Target [where product lines are sourced from manufacturers]. Which, I suppose, brings us to the prices...perfect for those on a budget, a guest room, kids and teens. For those with more money, some careful editing can buy great design, super cheap, to fill those gaps in the house!"

After an hour-and-a-half we finally made it through the living room, dining room, kitchen, office, bedroom and kids displays to the café (where they have those meatballs) and realized we'd only covered one of the two floors. So we sat down, guzzled water and a couple of sodas for the sugar and watched people walk by with trays laden with, yes, those ubiquitous meatballs and plates of macaroni and cheese that looked surprisingly lifelike. There were also healthy choices like salads and sandwiches, but it looked like most of the action was happening on the high-fat, high-carb side. And, don't worry, at the end of your odyssey they have a Swedish food market where you can buy a package of 10 meatballs with cream sauce and lingonberry jam to take home for dinner.

Then it was on to the first floor through lighting, cooking, rugs, textiles, home organization and wall decoration. After that is where you hit the real nerve center of Ikea, the huge Costco-like warehouse where you get out the list you've made on your Ikea tablet with your Ikea pencil and wander up and down the aisles, pulling out assemble-it-yourself lamps, tables, desks or whatever has caught your fancy. But be forewarned. You'll find yourself standing in the checkout line with packs of paper napkins, colanders and plastic silverware, wondering how they got into your cart. So be prepared to do some judicious editing then and there. It's all part of the Ikea experience.

Details: Ikea, 10280 NE Cascades Parkway. Phone 503-282-4532.

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