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Ikea (Or: A survival guide for those without children)

11 August 2004

J and I did the ultimate lesbian thing: go to Ikea to decorate your new place. Actually, everyone does it so if it is an ultimate thing, it is the sign of ultimate straight-acting really. There are very few houses around the world where there is not at least 1 Ikea item in the room. So J and I are settling nicely in the straight community.

We made a few fundamental mistakes. I have drawn up a short survival guide. Some of the lessons I have learned first hand. Others were learned by observing people in the store, especially at the Loading Bay.

Don't say I did not warn you!


Lesson 1: NEVER GO ON A SUNDAY

No matter how many ball-paradises an Ikea store has, it is never enough to harbour all the children parents seem to want to bring to Ikea. So there will always be little monsters running around the store because they were too old, too tall, too loud, too obnoxious or too whatever to be accepted into the Children's Paradise. (Who came up with that name anyway? Paradise? 30 screaming children pelting plastic balls at each other is paradise?? And if it is paradise, then why do we always hear the lady on the store intercom: "Johnny Bloggs would like his parents to collect him from the Children's Paradise Immediately. Please.....Pretty please...actually, he would like to stay but the little girls in the ball-park would really like him to leave them alone but he won't so..........JUST COME AND GET THE LITTLE BASTARD!!!!")

Lesson 2: NEVER GO ON A SATURDAY

In fact, weekends are to be avoided altogether; No matter what time you go. In these modern times of consumerism, parents seem to think the best Saturday activity for their children is to learn how to get your Billy, Benno, Leksvik and Bjorken before anyone else gets it. Especially when the New Catalogue Sale is one: furniture you would never buy at full price suddenly becomes attractive. So teach your children: it does not matter that you actually don't like something, as long as you get it before someone else does. Even if you will never use it, you will have the (short) satisfaction of knowing you beat someone to a piece of furniture that is so ugly, they have put the entire range up for sale in the Bargain Tent outside the main store. (For those who are interested, Ikea are selling the entire Malm-range at a low price because it is too ugly to keep in the new catalogue.)

Lesson 3: STAY AWAY FROM THE RESTAURANT

The restaurant is to be avoided for 2 reasons:
Children. Yes, it is them again. Little boys running around, pulling little girls' hairs. Little girls running around, pulling other little girls' hairs. Not only will there be the kids who were too bad to be allowed in the Children's paradise but parent swill pick up all their offspring and take them for food.
Worst are the drinks. You buy a paper cup and get free re-fills that you have to get yourself. Sensible people would not send a 4- year old to do that. But at Ikea there are no sensible people it seemed. So children run around, spilling drinks, getting refills, drinking way too much soda but hey: it is free so the parents think it is all kind of funny. Look at the little tykes, aren't they just adorable covered in Pepsi!! No they are NOT.


The other lesbian couple waiting for their food looked as horrified as J and I did. I think at least 4 couples decided not to have kinds that day in the Ikea Restaurant.

Secondly, if the furniture is not enough to chase you straight out of the store, the quality of the food is. Swedish Meatballs, available in small, medium, large or super seize, with or without gravy and with loads of ;'fresh' chips. Not your thing? No problem. Try the other healthy alternatives: Fish and chips. Plain pasta with some strange, red-like sauce? Oh, you want something healthy? Well, you can have hot dogs with ketchup. According to Ronald Reagan, ketchup is a vegetable. Or else you can have peas with your food. They are healthy aren't they?

Lesson 4: TAKE YOUR OWN PENCIL AND MEASURING TAPE

Kids take the little pencils and poke whoever they feel like with the sharp point. Since they are little and you are big, you are not allowed to poke them back, no matter how much would you like to. And grassing on them by telling their parents will only get you a sad look: 'I know he is a bastard. We just had to pick him up from the Children's Paradise after he kept touching up the little girls in there. It is beyond our control.'

The paper measuring tape will break, resulting in your partner holding the broken ends together and taking a completely wrong measurement. You will only notice this when you have put your Billy/Bjorn/Ivar together at home and find it is in fact 3 cm wider than you space in your kitchen.



So what IS the best way to 'do Ikea'? Go at about 9:30pm. Go through the catalogue at home and pick the things you want. DO NOT STROLL leisurely around the store; do NOT stop at every display kitchen/bedroom.bathroom discussing its merits and faults. Just get what you want and get out. And get a babysitter to look after the kids instead of taking them with you!!!
And finally: bring your own sandwiches because if you get hungry, getting to your Swedish meatballs might be a bit of a wait. Especially on Saturdays and Sundays.

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