Is IKEA the Wal-Mart of My Adult Life?
What Is It About Superstores That Make Me Want To Play?
My birthday is looming, so I went to the mall for an outfit to wear to a joint party I'm having with my bestie, Tyna. (By joint, I mean a "combined" not that other thing, you pothead). I tried on a bunch of dresses, shirts, skirts, pants, and everything else under the sun. Out of all of it, I only found one item of interest. By that time, I had lost the energy to take the stupid thing up to the register. That's just my prerogative these days. Hey, if Bobby Brown can smoke crack with Whitney, and Britney Spears can shave her head, I think my half-assed lack-of-motivation should be acceptable. That's not redundant, that's just me.
I left the store and checked out movie times at the three different theaters in walking distance, and found nothing intriguing. By that I mean, nothing starting within the next 10 minutes. My attention span is just one of the many victims of my motivationitis.
From there, I began the walk back to my apartment a few blocks away. Next thing I knew, I found myself turning into a very large building with a bright blue sign and dazzling yellow writing. It could have been a museum, school, or even an abandoned fall-out shelter from the 1950's with the miniscule amount of attention I was paying. Instead, it was the oddly-engaging store, IKEA. Now, I have no interest in redecorating or any type of housewares for that matter. While there was a time I was into heavy lifting and assembling my own furniture, I don't feel I have anything left to prove in that department. I'm also not Swedish, so I really had no business there at all.
Within minutes of riding its multiple escalators, I found myself sucked into IKEA's glory. It wasn't the stacks of unassembled furniture or large bins of kitchen shears on sale, but the store has the greatest deejay (or whoever controls the music) that I've encountered in a megastore like that. I was jamming out to some old-school Janet Jackson, and I felt like I was in the second Happiest Place on Earth. (The first being the Winnie the Pooh ride at Disneyland--trust me.) While I was enjoying hit after hit, I made my way to the snack bar. Like I said, I have no interest in faux cherry-wood recliners, so I found the closest source of food. Too bad they don't sell beer there...
Anyway, I was amazed at what I found at this Swedish Market (they make everything sound fancy by adding the word "Swedish"). They have ridiculously cheap food, which boggles my mind for reasons I cannot explain. Frozen yogurt for a dollar? We're in a recession (in case you haven't heard), so that's phenomenal. The chips are 75 cents, and their hot dogs are 50 cents. I feel like you might just be begging for some swine flu with that one. (Yes, I realize you don't get the disease from eating pork or even "pork products.") It's even more disconcerting that their Swedish chocolate, at a whopping 99 cents, is more expensive than their aforementioned "meat" products. Yipes!
I settled on a dollar soda and plopped down at a nearby table to do some people-watching. There were two girls, in their twenties, at the table next to me. They apparently had the day off of work or school, and were looking for an exciting way to pass the afternoon hours. They had also been inexplicably sucked into IKEA, but they had made the most of it by purchasing a plant. They were each munching on a cinnamon rolls (just a dollar each) while trying to map out the rest of the day's adventures. They mentioned how riveting their lives must be that they were spending their leisure time at a massive furniture store. I was almost compelled to make friends with them, since we had so much in common. Who else ends up at an IKEA in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon with no plans of constructing a new nightstand? I'm a weirdo, but that crosses my line, so I remained at my own table.
Instead, I sat in the little "café" staring at all the advertisements for Swedish meatballs and found myself reminiscing about my teenage years. We didn't have an IKEA in my hometown, but we had a Wal-Mart (I am an American, after all). It was the place to hang out when the boredom started to grip your soul and you weren't hungry enough to go to the Waffle House. The music wasn't as snazzy in my Wal-Mart, but there was a toy department with hours-worth of free entertainment. Now, that's what IKEA is missing! Well, it could actually have one, but I didn't notice it during my stroll through its Labyrinth-style maze.
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Somewhere in my daze, I realized that my subconscious was probably confused by the combination of my self-loathing boredom and a big blue sign. That's what had led me to this new haven. Visions of my adult (ish) friends playing tag, hide-n-seek, and capture-the-flag flashed through my brain. Oh the joy! Could it be a tiny way of recapturing my youth without suffering through a Jonas Brothers album?
Luckily, I snapped back into reality before any employees had to ask me if I had a home. Feeling a little creepy, I refilled my drink (it's free!) and started my trek back to my apartment. If IKEA is destined to be my new playground is yet to be seen. However, you can rest assured that next time I find myself at the movies at the wrong time; I will make my way over to the big blue building. Maybe I'll be brave and try that frozen yogurt for a dollar!