Aug 222011
 
Authors: Allison Sylte

There’s nothing more American than driving two hours to shop at a reasonably priced Swedish furniture store.

At least, that’s what the people behind me in line at IKEA thought, after they had driven from Pueblo to Centennial to bask in the glory of Colorado’s own newly-opened IKEA store.

“Did you know that they have Swedish meatballs for only $2.99?” the excited middle-aged man behind me exclaimed to no one in particular, fumbling with his fanny pack as we were herded through the airport-esque parking lot like bargain-hungry cattle.

“Did you know that I think it’s frickin’ obnoxious for a furniture store to sell meatballs?” I thought to myself in response, angry that I was stupid enough to even dare set foot in that blue eyesore of a building.

Call me crazy, but from the very first time I spied the atrocious yellow IKEA sign and accompanying football field of a building from the top of a nearby Interstate 25 overpass, I was inherently annoyed with the entire concept of IKEA.

Maybe it was the fact that, as a news release I received from the furniture behemoth told me, the store had three freaking restaurants, a “fairy garden for children” and a parking lot the size of Rhode Island.

Or maybe it was the fact that everyone around me is up in arms about this new freaking furniture store, acting like they’ve never seen anywhere that sells stylish and reasonably priced furniture before.

News flash, but I have: it’s called Target.

“This is probably one of the happiest days in my life,” the man behind me in line said as we were led through the store’s entrance. He and his wife stopped to snap a quick picture before we were forced onto the sales floor, trapped in a raging river of people as we flowed through tasteful displays of cheap, do-it-yourself furniture.

I had chosen to enter that day per the advice of my “The Art of War” app. My idol, Chinese warrior and philosopher Sun Tzu, once said that a battle could only be won if you know both your enemy and yourself.

I was at war with IKEA, and it was time that I learn what IKEA had to offer. And so, three weeks after the store’s initial grand opening, I decided it was safe to enter.

“This is the Poang chair,” the man behind me in line, whom I decided to name Harold, said to his wife, as he rocked back in fourth on an unstable looking chair. ”This is the chair that started it all. We should thank this chair. It has brought us such wonder.”

Heeding Harold’s advice, I sat in the Poang chair, and while admittedly it was quite nice, I knew that it was nothing more than a ploy, and much like ABBA, it was some sort of exercise set fourth by the Swedish evildoers at IKEA to mess with my mind.

“Move! You’ve been here for like 10 minutes,” a rude woman, who I could only assume was from Parker, Colo., said to me suddenly, interrupting my train of thought.

Abruptly, I stood up and left the luxurious comfort of the Poang chair, continuing my reconnaissance mission through the winding sales floor, weaving my way through the crowd to find Harold.

Harold, as expected, was paused before another display, staring in wonder at a room that could be constructed for only $800.

“This is what America is about,” he told his wife, stopping to play with the faux silver faucets.

Though I was tempted to tell him that the store was not owned by Americans, I let him carry on with his illusion, mainly because I was distracted by a solid -looking coffee table for only $10.

Our voyage into the depths of IKEA continued. We walked by fake bedrooms, living rooms and children’s rooms, kitchens, home theaters and bathrooms. We had been walking for so long that I had forgotten what my life was like before I entered IKEA.

I had forgotten what sunlight looked like. I forgot that there was a world beyond furniture.
IKEA had broken me to my very core.

Hours later, when I emerged into blinding Colorado sun and began the trek to my car, which was as far away as Nevada. I caught up with Harold again, if only to hear his best line of the day.

“That place sure is great,” Harold remarked, waving his hands in the air and fumbling in his fanny pack for his car keys, dislodging his souvenir map of the store in the process. “But I couldn’t go there every day. I would just be too lucky.”

_Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte is a junior journalism major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com. _

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