I really dislike shopping. Which is strange, because I quite like giving presents, but the shopping part drives me nuts. And Christmas shopping is the worst. The throngs of people. The whining kids, pretending to be good for Santa, but really just whining. Plus, I’m cheap. Which makes the final part of the transaction in which I have to hand over my money especially rough.
But this weekend, “worst” took on a whole new meaning. Because I went to IKEA. On a Sunday. Eleven days before Christmas. One day after Santa Lucia. Which only serves to prove that I am, in fact, an idiot.
I ventured to IKEA for a couple of different things. Some food products, some candles, some Christmas decorations, and I was in search of a specific present. I had a plan. I know the layout. I know how to avoid following the IKEA path so I can get to where I need to be. I was prepared. I thought.
I was wrong. Nothing could prepare me for the carnage I saw. A kid pouting on one of the beds. Not a parent in sight. Two other kids chasing each other around. The screams of children mixed with the groans of parents as everyone questioned the necessity of procreation. Which was all topped off by an IKEA employee trying to sign me up for the IKEA Family card. All I could think was what good birth control a weekend holiday shopping trip to IKEA is. A family was far from mind.
It was exhausting. I could have turned back. But I fought through. Money to spend. I needed to do my part to get Sweden out of the recession. I made it past the bedrooms. The kitchens. To the knick knacks. This is where the dishes start, the candles, the picture frames. All the small things that IKEA sells can be found on the bottom floor. This is where my plan would be best used.
But it had been a while since I had ventured into IKEA alone. And they had changed the layout. Those bastards. Suddenly, amidst the chaos of running children, frazzled parents, young lovers, and old Swedes, I was overcome by one single thought. Recession my ass. It passed, but seriously, there was a whole lot of money flying through the registers at that place.
I gathered myself, reminded myself that IKEA was cheap and so might make it through a recession with flying colors, and continued on. I still knew a couple of shortcuts. I was going to have to take a chance. So I snuck off to the left and slid through a door to pop out in the picture frame section. I had saved myself a lot of grief. And I was close to where I needed to be.
I sharpened my elbows and did my best impression of Ali in his prime. I was shucking and jiving if you will. I was floating like a butterfly. I was the greatest. Obviously. Finally I emerged unscathed, albeit a bit sweaty, not unlike the champ after the Rumble in the Jungle.
In the end, I didn’t do much in getting Sweden out of its recession. The only thing I ended up walking out of IKEA with was a few Christmas decorations and the food. The candles? The present? Nowhere in sight. So I stumbled out toward the hotdog stand. I had earned my two korvs for 10 SEK. And they were amazing.
I titled this post Shopping Tips from Sweden. Really it should be shopping tip. And the tip is a simple one: never go to IKEA on a weekend so close to Christmas. Ever.
Welcome to Sweden.