I've written about IKEA before. I talked about how a trip there was a long, tiring experience but a necessary evil when you're cheap and urban and have a hole in your heart that can only be filled by MORE STUFF (specifically the MØRRSTÜFF nesting tables). It's kinda kitschy, but occasionally fun and fills a gap in the "affordable decoration" market.
I'd like to update that assessment thusly: IKEA is a soul-sucking hecubus of a warehouse chain and should be covered in lingonberry sauce and set ablaze.
It's a place where dreams go to die, where loving friendships can be severed in the blink of an eye, and where disenchantment, claustrophobia, and delicious meatballs are served in equal proportion.
And all we wanted to do was buy a couch.
It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Buy - to procure goods or services in return for proffered currency, A couch- a piece of furniture, often found in living rooms, to be used for sitting whilst watching Arrested Development.
So, so simple.
This whole saga started back in November, when we went to IKEA in search of a sofa. "Search" is a bit of a misnomer - I already knew which kind I wanted. I'd done my homework and found one that had gotten good reviews, had not one, but *two* companies who made slipcovers for it, and had storage space and folded out to become a sofa bed. Score. Now, 2-3 times a year IKEA has a "buy one, get one 50% off" sale on sofas. We waited until November so we could specifically take advantage of that since my parents have a sofa in the basement so old that I'm pretty sure was one of their baptism gifts. They agreed that it was uncomfortable and outdated, and we made a date to go in together on this BOGO deal. So we sauntered down to the House of Pain and the minute, the exact *minute* we pulled into the parking lot, my parents turned to me and said "you know, we don't really need a couch, after all."
I'm pretty sure my scream broke mirrors.
We went in anyway because I needed, I dunno, a lampshade or something and then, for shiggles went to find the sofa in the concrete hedge maze. We tried it out, found it to be pretty much perfect aaaand... left without it because my parents kept making noises about "well... maybe... someday.. we could buy a couch here... if you could wait..." and refused to commit.
Flash forward 3 weeks (2 weeks after the sale's over) and they're all "huh. This couch is pretty uncomfortable. We should get a new one."
And your honour, that's when I cut their brake line.
So finally, 5 months later, the sale came back, so we confirmed that they wanted a couch, made them pinky swear, threatened them with a future in a shady nursing home if they jerked us around again and then made a date to go back in April. I go on the website to see if the store has my couch in stock, click on the MANSTAD link and...
... huh. Back to the main page.
Try again, same thing.
I call the store's number, press "0" for assistance until i wear a callus onto my index finger and finally get through to "Todd."
"Oh. The MANSTAD? Yeah, that got discontinued this week."
"Yeah, pretty much. They have 6 left in the warehouse though, at your store and 2 on the floor. Not in the colour you want. But they're there."
Okay, that's okay. We're buying a slipcover anyway. We'll just move up the trip. Forget this Sunday, we're going mid-week. I call again the next day to see if there's been a price adjustment on account of the discontinuation. Patty has my back.
"No, no price adjustment I'm afraid. Also, they're sold out."
"Sold out? Like, completely??"
"Yes. All gone."
"But yesterday I called and they said there was 8. 6 in stock, 2 floor models"
"So you're saying you sold 8 of the same couch in less than 24 hours."
"I don't know"
"So... none at all."
"No. None in stock. They might have the floor model though."
"Why would they keep the floor model of a couch they don't carry?"
"They just do. For a month or two"
"Well, then can I get someone from the store to check and see if the floor model is indeed on the floor?"
"No. We can't do that."
"There's literally no way to call anyone on the floor to see if that couch exists?"
"No. No way to do that."
<I grind my teeth into a fine powder>
Okay, fine, Patty. I decide to go down myself because frankly, my confidence in IKEA's inventory control is not soaring at this point. Sure enough, I come in the door, go right to customer service and BAM! the couch is indeed discontinued but with two in stock. By some miraculous chance you can actually put things on hold for a few hours as you wander the store (since this couch apparently multiplies and disappears at will) so I do just that. And as I walk away, into the abyss of the warehouse , my dad starts with "well... do we need to buy a couch today? I don't know if we -- "
"Look," I sputter "I don't care if you buy a couch today, tomorrow, or on your future grandchild's bar mitzvah day, but I am leaving here with a goddamn sofa if I have to craft it myself out of slipcovers and tealight candles."
He bought a couch.
The beauty of coming to a store after dinner is that you can only spend 2 hours maximum there before it closes. And that's how we spent the smallest amount of time we ever have in an IKEA. We got 2 garbage cans, hangers, replacement dishes, a reading lamp, and pillow inserts all for under $100. Then it was just a hop, skip, and a jump to the couch area to print out a request, through the cash to pay, to the pick-up area to order it, a short wait for them to bring it out, drag it over to the delivery area, pay for assembly and delivery and then a total emotional collapse in the pathway of the automatic doors.
And that, gentle reader is how we went from this:
|(Please ignore the Christmas decor)|
And all it cost was our sanity!
TL;DR, basically this: 30 Rock IKEA trip