Monday, August 6, 2012

A journey through the 9 circles of hell.

All of which reside in IKEA.

This is the epic story of the time Matt and i decided to buy a hanging lamp for the living room.

Circle one-  The parking lot. This isn't so bad!  Matt bought me frozen yogurt in hopes that the sugar high would prevent me from having a panic attack.  As i chow down, i hardly even notice the minivan sitting in oncoming traffic trying to make a left turn onto a one way street going the opposite direction.  Hordes of people careen towards my car on winged monkeys that resemble carts, but thats ok, i have half a dozen different toppings to focus on.

Circle two - The revolving door.  My yogurt treat is gone, but the sugar high remains.  Until we get to the door.  How do so many people not know how to use a revolving door??  Why is your kid pushing it in the wrong direction??  WTF is going on in the front lobby?  Obviously, there must be a reason everyone has collected here around a fake kitchen.  Based on the overpowering cinnamon roll smell, i can only assume that some kind of pastry bomb has been detonated, forcing everyone to evacuate into this tiny area.

Circle three - Floor one.  NOPE!  That was only the tip of the iceberg.  There are even thicker crowds of people than were in the entryway.  They start crashing their carts into me, attacking from all sides.  I think, this is what the life of a pinball must be - and i am saddened.  I give Matt the look that says "I am already over this."  He promises me a lingonberry soda if we can just persevere to the third floor.  

Circle four - Lamp island.  I know a lot about architecture, but i still cannot fathom how lamp island is even possible.  We find ourselves in the lighting area, only somehow, there is no exit. I run to each side only to be met with a siderail and a 60 ft drop to the bottom level.  How is that even possible??  It's like MC esher meets Hogwarts meets everything that pisses me off in this world.  I start running to all sides in an increasing state of panic looking for an exit; alas there is none.  I am know condemned to live the remainder of my sad life on lamp island.....

Circle five - The food court.  Matt leaves me with a lampshade i have befriended named fruzenschlag.  Just as we began to accept our new life as comrades, Matt returns.  He has found a secret hall way that leads to the food court.  There is no official entrance to the gated off food court, but we are able to jump the metal gate, and i am face to face with my beloved savior, lingonberry soda.   Only their are no cups.  Apparently, you can only dine in here.  There is a second food court on the bottom level.  Part of me dies.

Circle six-  Furniture.  I don't know how we got here - we don't want to buy furniture.  There are screaming children everywhere, and the couches and beds are filled with the fallen.  To my right, a soon to be ex-couple next to me screams at each other over spending $500 on a futon, to my left, a child is repeatedly slamming a cabinet door on a storage end table while his mother stares into space, obviously contemplating ending it all with one of those tiny golf pencils that are everywhere.  I look to Matt with tears in my eyes and say, "we're going to die here."  He painfully nods, and we walk on.

Circle seven - Lamp Island.  AGAIN.  Dear God, NO!!  How did we end up here again?!?!?  It's like some kind of funhouse horror movie!!!  I peer over the edge and spot mattress two floors beneath me.  Matt immediately sees them too and acknowledges what i am planning.  "Don't jump." he says.  "At least i will die knowing i tried to get out of here!" i shout as i point to dusty skeletons littering the floor of lamp island.  (perhaps they were just more lamps; we were both hallucinating at this point.)  "You won't die if you jump, you'll just embarrass us." he replies.  Touche.

Circle eight - The area with all the kids crap.  We miraculously escape lamp island a second time, only to enter the one area more terrifying than lamp island and the food court combined - That area with all the kids crap.  By this point, i am crying and humming the theme to rocky;  Matt shields me with one arm, and uses the other to shove people aside.  It's like watching the bodyguard, only it's not awesome at all.  I clutch the lamp that i no longer even want to my chest.  Everything starts to go dark.

Circle nine (the innermost circle) - The checkout area.  As we enter the finishing chute, i spot the lingonberry soda machine, and it triggers an adrenaline fueled counter attack.  I charge for the express check out lane, using my stupid plastic lamp as a battering ram;  My hair is disheveled, my clothes torn. Everything is in slow motion as chariots of fire starts to play;  I jump over a six year old, i zig left past an overwhelmed grandmother, and zag right plast a herd of college dorm bound teenagers.  I use the little strength i have left in the final sprint, clutching the lamp i now hate more than life itself, as well as a 100 pack of tea lights, because they are SO dang cheap!  And some flower pots.  And a drying rack.  DAMN YOU IKEA!  I limp to the soda dispenser and get my drink, savoring the lingonberry goodness as a mixture of sweat and tears runs down my face.

As we walk outside into the approaching storm, i breath in my first breath of freedom.  I turn to Matt, and i gasp, "we made it"  And he looks back at me and says, "we forgot the lightbulbs...."

This clip of Charlton Heston at the end of planet of the apes basically sums it up if you need a visual.


  1. Circles 1-9: the exact reason why I NEVER go to the Schaumburg IKEA. Bolingbrook is so much nicer, though apparently they are under construction right now so I'm avoiding that one like the plague too.

  2. The second I saw the IKEA logo in this post my heart turned black. I contemplated not reading this because you know of my deep, deep hatred for this place that shall not be named.

    But I am glad to know I don't suffer in silence.

  3. Thankfully Boise doesn't have an Ikea. We drove to PDX to get a bunch of stuff a few years ago & it must of been an experience as yours because I only remember the meatballs.

  4. I heard about this great IKEA store and finally after it was open for about 10 years my daughter and I went in.....your post brought back my exhausting memories and the reason why I haven't went back!

    What is so great about a crazy store that you have to work so hard to get through and even harder once you get home if you want to use your storage cabinet/couch/desk etc....I like to buy pre-together-stuff I guess. ;-)

  5. This cracked me up. It's so true, but like all things evil, it still tempts me on a regular basis.

  6. This is so hilarious. I feel the exact same way about trips to Ikea. Thankfully we don't have one in Spokane so the trips don't happen often. That place is seriously the biggest effing cluster ever. Last time we went my husband had the brilliant idea to buy 2 stainless steel table tops to make a desk out of. However, IKEA doesn't have tie ropes to put furniture on top of your SUV. Our friends literally had to hold the table tops on top of our jeep so that we could find a store that sold tie downs. It was awful!

  7. Hahahahahaha I love this in so many ways and it is so true. My husband and I were just talking the other day about how we needed to pick up some things at Ikea. I said that I didn't want to waste 4 hours of my life I'll never get back. Did you see that 30 Rock episode when Liz and her BF go there?

  8. Thanks for the info on where hell is. Now I will never go to an IKEA. I would much rather be out dodging the nefarious elements in the city than buying press board furniture and dodging the screaming masses in a crammed giant box in the 'burbs.

  9. This post totally made my morning :) IKEA is just as intense as you described. I once made the mistake to go there on my LUNCH BREAK when I worked nearby, and spent 1 hour searching for a damn milk frother.

  10. UGH! I am so sorry you had to go there. My mom tried to get me to go there with her when she visited in April and I was like "believe me, you do NOT want me to go there with you." I am bad enough in a mall. IKEA is a circus.

    I hope you got the lightbulbs someplace else.