A New Experience - South Dade News Leader: Opinion

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A New Experience

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Posted: Friday, April 14, 2017 11:07 am | Updated: 12:47 pm, Fri Apr 14, 2017.

Walk in my Shoes

It sits off the turnpike and reminds me of a big blue ship with yellow sails. From the road, one can wonder if it is a warehouse, a school, an office building or an artist community. Then you see it…the huge letters…IKEA! Yes…I was going to enter the world of IKEA.

I have always wanted to go there to see what it was all about but Mr. Wonderful calls it a store filled with “Yuppie stuff” or “Swedish particleboard” so he wouldn’t go. My daughter called and said they needed me to go with them to IKEA with my truck so that they could pick up a new bed for their son and some other items that were too much for their van so I told them that last Sunday after 8 am mass I would go.

Sunday, I drove to my daughters where I picked up our grandson, Alex, and my son-in-law, Eddy. Our daughter, Debi, drove her van with the two little girls, Avery and Elli. Off we went and I was excited! I felt like Dorothy ready to step onto the yellow brick road only it was my virgin pilgrimage into the world of IKEA.

Arriving at IKEA is a mystery in itself. I don’t know if there was another way but we ended up turning like we were going into Dolphin Mall (another Yuppie place) and then driving around to the back where we found the huge IKEA parking garage. We pulled in and found plenty of parking, even on a Sunday and off we went.

We entered a lobby that was nothing but glass windows, tiled floors, stairs, escalator and elevator. We took the elevator up to the next floor where we dropped off Avery (Kids must be between 37 and 54 inches tall, no more, no less) so Avery was the only one to make the cut. Avery received a name sticker on her back, deposited her shoes in a bin and mom was handed a monitor to carry around which alerts you if you need to return to the kiddie place. We had an hour to shop, free of charge, with one less child.

Next we grabbed two shopping carts. You get two choices. One with a child seat that you can hook those big IKEA bags onto or the other is a regular shopping cart with child seat…or so I thought. I began to push and my grandson snickered as the cart was all over like a chair on ice. I didn’t know that the carts have wheels that go four ways so I had to hang on for dear life until I got the feel for driving this crazy cart.

“Which way do I go?” I asked my daughter. “Mom…just follow the arrows on the floor.” She replied so I did. Oh, wait. I forgot to mention that we passed a row of lockers where you could place large items you did not want to carry and lock them up for free. What next? OK so off we went following the arrows…yeah just like the yellow brick road.

Room after room of furniture. I even saw a sewing room that tugged at my heart! Bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, nurseries, patios. In some instances, they take a tiny space and make an apartment out of it and show you how it can be designed to meet your needs. It is something to see how they can make things fit. We found items as we walked and Debi took pictures of the item tags with her phone.

The children were very well behaved and an hour in Debi went and picked up Avery (I thought we were almost done) and we continued through the store. And on. And on. Every time I turned a corner I expected it to come to an end but it didn’t. I wished I would have worn my pedometer because I think I walked miles. At one point, we had to backtrack to see a desk for Alex and that added more mileage. People stared at us like, “How dare we go against the arrows!”

Finally, I thought we were coming to an end but then voila! We were in the warehouse. In the warehouse, it was our responsibility to go and find the items. One of the items would not come up so Debi went to the help desk and they said we had to pay for it first and then they would bring it out.

Two grocery carts and a cart like at the hardware store loaded with boxes and we were finally ready to pay. While Debi stood in line, Eddy got in line for frozen yogurt and I took the kids to sit down and wait. We had our yogurt and then picked up the remaining boxes. I went and drove the truck to the pick-up lane and we loaded up the van and the truck.

My views of IKEA? First, an hour of free babysitting is nice but nowhere near long enough! One could certainly spend all day in that store! The kids did behave and a customer commented what a polite gentleman Alex was. If a child had a meltdown there, forget it. There is no way to run outside or escape from the yellow brick road. For people starting out or not wanting to invest a lot in furniture, this is for them although I saw many items I would have like to have seen closer but time did not allow for it…we were on a mission. If someone is looking to reorganize and need new storage solutions, this is also the place. IKEA is great to get ideas of how to lay things out and how to group items. Finally, that yellow brick road is really long! Next time I will wear more comfortable shoes!

Next time? Yes…next time. My daughter and I both decided that we will make a girls’ day and go back to IKEA alone and with more time. This truly is a day trip. Oh, did I mention they have a restaurant inside where you can get all those Swedish favorites? We didn’t have time to venture there.

Yes, next time we will take our time and look closely at items. I just happened to find out on the internet that in the IKEA stores in China, they encourage people to nap on the beds in the store. Perhaps I see a little nap in my future as well as maybe a new comfy chair for my sewing room. I did have fun during my new experience and spending time with the grands was well worth it.

So, bottom line? Everyone must make at least one trip to IKEA to experience the vast deep blue sea called…IKEA.

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