4th April 2011
Do you ever worry that your life is a bit dull, when you listen to your friends regaling each other about their fantastic Saturday nights out? Do you get jealous when they go on and on about romantic dinners in amazing restaurants and evenings spent strutting their stuff on the dance floor, in time to the latest tune playing in the flashest club.
Well don’t worry, they’re lying. Perhaps that’s not fair. I’m sure they’re not all lying. But after my Saturday night visit to IKEA at the weekend, I can confirm that most of them were, in fact, partaking in a bit of home styling retail therapy.
Never have I seen so many families, couples and groups of young men and woman rammed into one furniture store on a Saturday night. Some were hanging about in the sofa department, chatting and texting on mobile phones, no doubt to their friends admiring duvet covers in the bed section.
Those with small children were sharing a bargain meal in the cafeteria, filling up their children with fizzy drinks at the free refill station, before steering them around the room settings, letting them race off all the e-numbers by spinning in office chairs and bouncing on beanbags.
Couples were oohing and aahing over the kitchen settings, designing their own dream layout on the computers provided. And just about everyone else was in the marketplace, selecting bargain frying pans, crockery, cutlery, glasses and mugs, plant pots, lamps and rugs that they really didn’t need but at those prices, who can resist.
Next came the warehouse aisles from where you pick the large items that you saw on display in the main store. If you haven’t written down the correct location reference, be prepared for a long walk retracing your steps back to where you saw the ideal bookshelf for your room. Walking against the flow of pedestrian traffic makes for a much longer journey. And when your item is too heavy to lift on to your trolley? Just keep trying because there’s no one around to help unless a fellow shopper feels sorry for you.
The queues for the tills are a testing experience and the scene of some domestics breaking out between now fraught couples, regretting the whole e-number overload at the start of their shopping experience. But eventually you fight your way through, argue with the cashier who’s charged you for 400 coat hangers instead of 4, and head out into the darkness of what feels like the world’s largest car park when you can’t remember where you parked your car.
Never fear, there’s still more fun to come. If you’re not too exhausted when you get home, you get to assemble your flat pack furniture until the early hours, giving you the appearance on Sunday that you would have had if you’d spent all night out at the club. Job done.
If I sound scathing, ignore me. I had a fantastic time and was very proud of the bookshelf I built the next day. So much so, I’m going back for another next week. I’m a glutton for punishment!
Register for an IKEA family card here before you next visit the store to make sure you can take advantage of any discounts going. Oh, and free coffee too!