Date with Ikea

Swedish superstore Ikea can overwhelm the senses with its sheer expanse of furniture. Jeff Merrion wanders into this Mecca of cheap junk for the first time, which motivates him to, among other things, invoke the word ‘bumblefuck.’

While moving into my new house in Tacoma, I realized that I needed a computer desk and lamp. Unfortunately, I lacked the funds to purchase these items from one of the “hip” furniture stores – i.e. the furniture stores that sell their goods preassembled.

So, I took my thin wallet and headed for Ikea, which, for those as unfamiliar with the name as I was, is some sort of Scandinavian home furnishings superstore. Imagine Bed Bath & Beyond if it were several square miles larger and had lots of unpronounceable product names with umlauts and weird circles above the letters. Also if it were designed by a sadistic sociologist who wanted to create the human equivalent of a rat maze.

Maybe that description is too wordy. More succinctly, Ikea is a bumblefuck.

I drove more than a half-hour to find Ikea, but from the outside, it appeared to be worth it. Its five acres of parking structures glimmered on the horizon like an emerald city at the edge of the world.

My initially favorable impression of Ikea’s enormity was tempered as soon as I entered the parking complex. I was ushered by disgruntled police officers to the “Red Lamp” parking garage (not to be confused with the “Blue Car” parking garage or the “Svknekÿþû” parking garage).

I maneuvered through row after row of SUV-filled spaces, trying, in vain, to find a spot. A balding man wearing a fuzzy puppy-dog sweater shot me the bird, and in very unrefined terms questioned my heterosexuality, my legitimacy as a child, and the eternal destination of my soul after I snuck into a spot that he was eyeing.

Maybe that description is too wordy. More succinctly, Ikea’s parking lot is a clusterfuck.

A clusterfuck differs from a bumblefuck in that a bumblefuck is a mostly humorous, innocuous mass of confused humanity, where as a clusterfuck is an engagement with sinister undertones that could break into mass rioting and violence at any moment.

I began my trek to the store, which was about a mile away from the “Red Lamp” parking garage. Perhaps Ikea should consider hiring Sherpas, or at least install energy-refueling stations for the walk to the store where wearied customers could grab some orange slices and water, or, at the very least, embrace the sweet release of death.

Finally, I entered the store. The sound of wailing children echoed like an avant-garde symphony throughout the entrance, and I overheard a mother tell her child that he “did not deserve a treat.”

I looked at the store map. It had a system of arrows, indicating the one and only path that customers could take through the store. Those wily Swedes designed the path so that you had to see every piece of merchandise before proceeding to the checkout aisle, which was located about 73 miles away. Customers were obligated to look for little blue arrows on the floor to guide them through the mass of confused, frustrated stragglers that filled the hellish building to capacity.

All bets were off. I needed to get out, and quick. Being shoulder-to-shoulder with this many frantic, unhappy people was beginning to freak me out.

My cart careened off of people’s shins, off display cases, and into countless strollers, launching infants like footballs as I raced to find the home furnishings section. Upon reaching this area, I was told that computer desks and lamps were actually located in another section of the store. I had to go against hallowed blue lines to retrace my steps back to the computer desk section.

I found a desk, and, for $20, bought it. It was too large to scan at the self-serve aisle, though there was no sign to indicate this. I had to waddle over to the non-self-serve aisle, where I waited in line behind a woman who told her child that he was “bad” and that he “didn’t deserve candy.”

I arrived home, ready to tackle the gargantuan task of putting together my desk. I opened the instruction manual, which contained no words, only vaguely humanoid characters without hands using tools to assemble the desk in a manner that appeared to violate the laws of physics.

So here I sit, typing on my shoddily assembled desk, which is missing feet and moving drawers. But it has a flat surface that supports the weight of a computer, and other than my pride, dignity, and blood pressure, I emerged unharmed from the diabolical labyrinth of Ikea.

While he excels in most other areas, Jeff Merrion’s spatial logic falls within the lower third percentile of United States citizens. He is a Religious Studies major and, as such, has a long life of administrative assistantship awaiting him. To potential employers: Jeff makes a mean cup of coffee.