Just when NPR's Marketplace was running its week long series on consumerism and just when I read and concurred with Good magazine's article on the Compact, IKEA Orlando opened its doors. For those of you that haven't heard of the Swedish megastore, IKEA is 330,000 square feet of conspicuous, yet stylish consumption for the house and beyond. All at an affordable price, but not just any price. IKEA's words, not mine.
I have a long acquaintance with IKEA having lived in Europe. The store is a fixture in all but a few European countries. Each store has the indistinct quality of looking exactly alike from the vivid blue and yellow exterior to the grand foyer with an escalator leading the masses to the upper sales floor and over winding paths of concrete marked with arrows through every furniture department and roomscape. Clever Swedes! The items are eye catching and plentiful. All have distinctive names, Billy, Ektorp, Lack and a chair called Poäng.
The products are available by the millions probably billions in IKEA stores everywhere from Singapore to Orlando.
IKEA wants you there for the day. Drop the kids in the play area, get a beeper and you have 45 minutes of childfree shopping. If you're hungry, the cafeteria serves up plenty of Swedish meatballs complete with lingenberry sauce. The 3 of us ate a hot lunch complete with desserts and lingenberry juice for a mere $30. If thats too much for your pocketbook, 50 cent hot dogs are available downstairs.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, this is how we spent our Sunday. We couldn't resist the hype. I plotted the best route taking the back roads of Orlando and arrived early. We parked, courtesy of the dozens of event staff directing traffic, in the cast parking lot. We headed toward the big blue and yellow box . It didn't seem as though the crowds were to plentiful until we stepped around the corner and saw the throng's of people waiting to get in. After a 15 minute wait the line wound into the store and we grabbed our big yellow bag and herded, er headed up the elevator. We wound our way through the maze of rooms and stuff, then headed for the next long line. The line for the meatballs. I have to admit, worth the wait.
Erik didn't think so.
After lunch we replayed the upper floor and put a few things into the big yellow bag. Several more hours were spent downstairs in the market hall and the bag slowly filled. We really didn't need the colander, apron, cutting board, or shoe organizer, but we had to buy something. Soon we headed through the warehouse area to the next mega line at the checkout. Another 15 minutes elapses and I start to fish for my wallet. I fish a little deeper and slowly start to empty my bag onto the cardboard box next to me. No wallet, no money, no credit cards. I looked at my husband and he looks back with disbelief. He had no wallet either. We slowly slunk out of line and ducked behind the huge shelves and abandoned our meager purchases in a stray cart.
Erik was waiting at the other end, his purchases of sparkling lingenberry juice and chocolate bars made. At least someone brought cash.
The flip side...