On Sunday I will not be watching NFL RedZone Channel for my usual 7 uninterrupted hours. I won't be getting in a late-season round at one of the 7 courses I haven't played yet on this year's Cumulus Golf Card. I won't even be spending four hours here in the Newsroom getting Monday's newscasts ready. Instead, I will be at IKEA with my wife. For her, this is a HUGE event. For me, it will be like the Bataan Death March--minus the beatings, the shootings, the blistering hot sun and dysentery.
I HATE IKEA. And in talking with other people of my gender--that seems to be the sentiment of every American male of certain persuasions. And let me tell you why.
1--The Layout Of The Store. I always compare going to IKEA to a cross between a casino and Dante's 9 Circles of Hell. Once you are in the building, there is no way to get back out. You go through the revolving door and your only option is to go up the escalator for five stories and then wander through every display to find the escalator to take you down just one more level--where the process is repeated again. Does anyone ever say "I'm just going to run into IKEA real quick to pick up one thing and then I'll be right back out"? No, because there is no way to immediately go to the item you want to buy and take it right to the register--you know, the way men usually shop. Which brings me to Point of Hatred #2.....
2--The Pickup Policy. Once you do find an item you like, if it's a piece of furniture you can't just grab the stuff and go. Instead, you need to jot down the product number and then the bin and shelf numbers--because actually getting stuff at IKEA is done in the basement. So you complete the Death March, bring your "grocery list" to the rows and rows of stacked boxes and load up as many as five packages (all awkwardly-sized) onto your flat cart--hoping you didn't miss a box because that will leave you with an incomplete piece of furniture. Then you wait to get a parking spot in the loading zone where people who obviously never played Tetris in their lives try to fit all of the pieces for a new bedroom set into a Kia Optima.
3--The Instructions. The "fun" doesn't end at the store, because once you get your items home, you still have to put them together. And because IKEA is an "international" retailer, there are no instructions in English. Instead, you get a little stick-figure man and poorly-drawn illustrations to show you the general idea of how the stuff is supposed to go together. At some steps you almost wish that you had the English-to Chinese--and then back to grammatically-awful English instructions of most other products.
4--It Is The Most Pretentious Store In The World. Nothing has a "normal" name at IKEA. Your average bookshelf is a "space-saving personal media display and storage unit". And the brand names for all the products are these made-up, unpronounceable Scandanavian words--so you hear people asking "Which do you like better--the Svensgaarden or the Mo'almo?" They think there are fooling us into believing that this is actually made in Sweden--when we all know they are using the same child labor at sweatshops in China that Ashley Home Furniture used state tax credits to relocate all of their work--allegedly. And they don't let you forget that they are "Eco-Friendly" as well--as all the furniture is made from trees that were terminally ill and chose to voluntarily end their lives to make way for new saplings.
So wish me luck on surviving my ordeal on Sunday. And on figuring out how our new office set goes together.