Yesterday was the first time I went to IKEA.
Here’s the deal, just as people in the midwest were not born with the privilege of living near a salted body of water, some of us (like me) were not born with the privilege that it is having an IKEA nearby — and by “nearby” I, of course, mean on the same side of the border. Don’t judge me for being Mexican!
Anyway, of course that as I walked yesterday into the cheapest furniture store I’ve ever seen in my life, I had some thoughts. But before I share them with you, let me paint you a picture.
I went in on a Sunday, carrying two kids and my husband in tow — so, three kids, basically. We were there for one thing, and one thing only, a bed for my ginormous 3.5-year-old son because his toddler bed made him look like Godzilla taking a nap. Our choices were a $2,000 bunkbed from Pottery Barn, or the $179 Kura bed from IKEA.
Of course, for $179 we would make the trip to IKEA, as chaotic as that could be, and even dare put together the damn thing ourselves.
Without further ado, here are just a few of the thoughts that went through my head as we made a trip to IKEA that somehow turned into my cardio requirement for the entire week.
1. WTF is wrong with their shopping carts?
As we arrived at the place, we faced a decision all parents have to make occasionally: to stroller or not to stroller. I have a very heavy (for me, at least) 11-month-old and a rambunctious 3-year-old, so we are pretty good friends with our stroller. But it felt weird taking a stroller and a shopping cart inside the store, as we would also probably need one of those flat carts to carry the bed.
We decided to go with just the shopping cart. So I sat the baby in the front, put the big kid on the back and proceeded to… do nothing. I literally couldn’t move the damned thing. While yes, I might be tiny (but thick, as anyone who works at Buzzfeed would say), I have absolutely no issues pushing a shopping cart with both kids in it… except when the front wheels of said shopping cart are not set into one position.
WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS, IKEA? WHY? WHY?!
My husband had to do all the pushing, but even then it was kinda weird, so I ended up pushing while he was pulling, in a way.
2. Why are they making us see EVERYTHING?
Of course, the one thing we were there for was almost the last thing on the entire floor — because, yeah. So we had to navigate through a long AF maze before getting to where we wanted to be. Not my idea of a fun Sunday afternoon.
3. If you are not shopping GO HOME.
Even though the store is insanely big, the showroom still feels crowded when people take their freakin’ time just browsing and looking at two chairs that are exactly the same. Then they decide to simply camp-out in the living room section. Like, literally there was a guy with his computer just getting sh*t done in there. One thing is to “try out” the furniture you’re buying and another is to basically move into the store.
That insane walk we had to do to get to the bed go us to bar stools, which we do need, so we naively decided to check them out but couldn’t because a family of like 15 adults and 3 kids had decided to camp there.
Someone needs to say something. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
4. Do not — I repeat — DO NOT take your kids here.
I know I took mine, but at least they were both contained in a shopping cart. Other kids were savagely running around, jumping on furniture, and having every IKEA employee wishing they worked at literally any other place.
The first few sections were mostly fine, but as soon as we entered the kids’ section with its colorful duvet covers and pretty-looking extendable beds, it was every man for himself. It was like going to Disneyland without literally any of the fun stuff at Disneyland, just the crappy kids-all-over-the-place stuff. Sucked b*lls.
5. What’s with all the similar names for completely different things?
It took us at least 30 minutes to make our way to the kids’ section — between the camping people, those who moved like sloths throughout the showroom, and the impossible-to-use shopping cart. When we finally did, I was happy I’d made my research online before venturing in there.
We knew exactly the bed we wanted, and the mattress we wanted, too. The bed was right there, so I took a photo of the tag to know where to find the packages in the self-serve warehouse, but the mattress had no tag.
My husband ventures back to find an employee who came over and super-nicely gave us the exact location of the mattress, except that the price didn’t match. It was like $100 more expensive than the one I had seen on the website. If you think I’m paying that for a mattress at IKEA you must be insane.
This time, I went by myself to look for the mattress. They all had the same name with a slight variation so WHICH ONE IS IT?! I found another Kura bed with a mattress that did have a tag, but that was also not the one I was looking for. Finally — and with my husband giving me “the look” — I found a small mattress and bed linen section with tags for every mattress. I took a photo of the tag that I was looking for, somehow convinced my son that the duvet cover they had there was better than a Lightning McQueen one, and we made our way to the warehouse.
I didn’t know this at the time but OF COURSE, we bought the wrong mattress. But more on that later.
6. Claustrophobia is starting to hit.
After standing in line for the elevator for like 20 minutes (no joke) we made our way downstairs. With our batteries recharged after just standing there, doing nothing for a while, we were ready to grab our stuff, go back home, and began the dreaded process of putting the bed together.
But IKEA had a different plan for us. You thought you were done after the upstairs showroom? WRONG. The downstairs showroom was even worse. All he household stuff was there. Small things like plates, wastebaskets, pillows, and even fake plants, were all part of this downstairs showroom that seemed never-ending.
For someone who suffers from claustrophobia to the point of never using the fast lane on the freeway because there’s no easy way to escape from there, claustrophobia was definitely setting in. Please, just make it stop. MAKE IT STOP!
7. The warehouse is the worst.
Well, to be honest, in the beginning I though the warehouse was great. It was super organized and all the items were easy to locate. They also have flat carts available right at the entrance of the warehouse so you don’t need to worry about getting one beforehand.
The problem I had with it was after we finally reached our aisle. I got there alone because of course my son had to pee, so my husband took him while I went and looked for everything we needed. I found the two boxes that the new bed came in but, oh, surprise! The canopy/tent that went on top was only available in pink. Listen, I’m not one to shy away from buying my son pink stuff if that’s what he wants, but he’s a very “blue is my color” kinda dude, and he wanted the blue tent.
Well, NO BLUE TENT. Had we known that was the case, we would’ve come another time to get everything together because he wouldn’t want to sleep on the freakin’ bed without the tent.
But we were tired, it was getting late, and we were not going back to leave all the sheets and covers we’d already gotten.
So we bought everything but the tent.
8. Those blue bags are INSANELY big.
Literally, they could probably fit at least one of my kids, maybe even both of them. I might start taking it to the zoo from now on. Cheaper than a baby carrier and less bulky than a double stroller.
The whole check-out process was smooth af.
9. Putting this bed together might break up my marriage.
Well, that’s what I thought in the beginning, but the process turned out to be super smooth. We also deserve bonus points because we had too screaming, tired kids around us who wouldn’t stay quiet for more than 5 minutes at a time.
After two hours, my son had a new bed, and our relationship was intact.
10. We have to go back.
While I’ll admit that, yes, the things they have there are super cool and cheap (this is why they say that cheap stuff always comes at a price… the price you have to pay is your sanity) it was definitely not my favorite shopping experience ever, so I wasn’t ready to go back anytime soon.
But once we were done putting the bed together and I wanted to get the mattress and all the cool stuff we bought ready for my son’s bedtime, we discovered that having all those similar names for different things was a terrible idea because I effin got the wrong mattress.
It was a crib-sized mattress and everything was bought to fit that particular mattress so, yeah… I’m going back sooner than expected. *sighs*