Monday, July 2, 2007

Swedish fun factory

I went with a few friends to Atlanta last weekend, and my girlfriend persuaded me to go to IKEA for the first time. I don't like to shop. I don't like standing, walking, looking, budgeting nor spending. I knew it was a furniture store. I had no idea it was a culture.

Let me amend my statement. I don't like spending money on stuff that doesn't do stuff. Furniture would be a perfect example. Books can entertain. Music can inspire. Clothes can keep me from getting cold or being naked. Furniture just sits there.

IKEA, however, is an elaborate castle of wonder. I found amazing discounts everywhere I looked. It was so gigantic and impressive that I forgot to buy anything for the first two hours. I needed a pow-wow with my girlfriend over chocolate cake and imported soda at the Swedish food market.

"We've got to buy stuff," I said.

"OK," she said.

And we were off. She added a coffee table, comfort chair and dinnerware to her list. I found a breakfast table, chairs, a Carolina rug and a microwave dish cover for $101.

Then we lost each other. I hadn't had this feeling since I wandered around Disney World alone when I was five years old. I jogged through the entire store twice in 45 minutes without any luck. I saw everyone twice except my girlfriend. Our perfect shopping experience had turned into a five-hour disaster. I had the keys to the car. I imagined my girlfriend sitting by the front-left wheel, dying of starvation.

"A Swedish woman took our cart away," she would say passively. "I want to kill her and die."

I couldn't let this happen. I had to emerge victorious!

We found each other. It was a Braveheart moment.

Go to IKEA. You won't believe it.

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