Hub and I sometimes run errands for Mom. At 93 she is feisty, mentally alert, drives and gets around on her own. But she no longer wants to trudge through grocery stores if she doesn’t have to or schlep through big box stores seeking needed items.
Mom wanted a wall lamp over her desk. She didn’t want to spend time and energy shopping.
Hub and I set out on the mission on a cold, windy, rainy Saturday.
First stop Home Depot. A logical choice, or so we thought. Did I mention Mom lives in a rented apartment? Home Depot sold only wall lamps that needed to be hard-wired, which means drilled into the wall and connected to electrical wiring. No can do in a rental. We needed a lamp with a cord that could be plugged into an outlet. Simple, easy.
The Home Depot salesperson suggested we try Ikea.
I have passed massive Ikea stores in my wanderings over the years, but never had the urge or need to walk in. Until this particular Saturday afternoon.
My phone GPS got us to the store, but the five-mile trip took almost an hour due to traffic and lights. Finally turning into the Ikea parking lot, locating a parking space proved frustrating. Available spaces seemed non-existent. Cars crawled up and down lanes looking for, hoping for an empty space, or lucky enough to find someone pulling out of a spot. We eventually parked in the row farthest from the store.
We walked quickly – it was raining and windy – to the store’s entrance, or what we assumed was the entrance. We were wrong. Entering the building through large double doors an employee immediately approached and told us we had come in the exit doors. He escorted us outside. The entrance was around another side of the building. More walking. By the time we set foot in the store we were already exhausted, chilled and damp.
I cannot adequately describe the spectacle that confronted us. Concrete walls painted in pale colors, bright lighting, wide corridors, high ceilings, a sweeping staircase, an elevator, children’s playroom, and multitudes of people milling around. We walked upstairs and studied a directory, trying to locate lamps. I gave up, spotted an employee and asked where lamps could be found. He highlighted the department on a brochure, handed me the store map and directed us back downstairs to begin our journey.
We followed the directions and several minutes later, after walking through a series of aisles loaded with kitchen stuff – appliances, gadgets, dishes, glassware…found ourselves surrounded by lights of all makes and models, sizes, colors and prices. We gazed at lights displayed on the floor, above us, on shelves and in bins, before locating wall lamps with cords. Success!
We did not dawdle, were not particular and quickly chose a lamp. Of course bulbs were not included. Scrutinizing the small print on the displayed lamp’s tag we noted the bulb required and roamed around again attempting to find the right bulbs. We grabbed the items and proceeded to checkout.
Not an easy, and definitely not a short, hike.
First we had to find the pathway to payments. Apparently you cannot retrace your steps in Ikea. You slog forward along with everyone else, like a herd of cattle. People in front of you, folks behind you, keep moving! Checkout was somewhere in front of us, the only route via a series of zigzagging aisles lined floor to ceiling with shelves stocked with everything imaginable for a home – furniture large and small, accessories like baskets and candles, a picture gallery, wall hangings, and, succumbing to the season, holiday stuff. Mainly Christmas items.
Finally we turned a corner and directly in front of us were more people. Lots of them. Lines of people with shopping carts and flatbed carts loaded with boxes. We got on the end of a check out line and waited impatiently, eager to pay, get back to the car and rest our aching feet.
boy kid – high school or college student - working the register smiled, “Hi. Is this all you have?” he asked as he scanned our items.
“That’s it,” I said.
“Nothing else? You came here just for these items?”
I said, “Yup, we’re done. This place is a zoo.”
“Saturdays are bad, but Sundays are worse. People come from all over to shop here. Next time come in the middle of the week, not crowded at all.”
“Thanks, but I doubt we will be back,” I responded, and left with our purchases.
Another brisk walk to the car – it was still raining – and we drove to the apartment, looking forward to steaming cups of coffee and a comfy chair.
With any luck we will not visit an Ikea store again for a long time. Maybe never.