Just Follow The Arrows

Posted on November 8, 2018 under Storytelling with 3 comments

Ikea. Too big to describe.


“Follow the yellow brick road”

Glinda. The Wizard of Oz.

Is it possible to get lost in a store? Certainly.  Now, you may not get lost at the 5 to $1.00, Sobey’s or even Walmart, but if you happen to be wandering through the new IKEA store in Dartmouth, getting lost is highly probable as you try and navigate 330,000 square feet of merchandise.

At the behest of my wife and daughter, and against all of my non shopper’s instincts, I agreed to go to IKEA in Dartmouth last weekend. Normally I would have to be shackled to go into a large shopping venue but I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. Having downsized and trying to live by the mantra “slow down and have less”, going shopping for household items seemed somewhat counterintuitive.

We also had our granddaughter in tow so naturally the first stop upon entering the store was the supervised children’s play area. It took longer to check her in than to clear U.S. Customs. A parent has one hour of uninterrupted shopping provided their child makes friends quickly. If not, the parent is paged with one of those locator gizmos that they have in restaurants. After seeing the size of IKEA, it is entirely possible that you could leave your five year old in the play area and find out that they are old enough to enter university by the time you have investigated every item in the store.

I grabbed the Saturday Chronicle Herald expecting that boredom would quickly set in.

I resisted the temptation to accompany my wife and daughter and headed into the belly of the whale.  I was told to follow the arrows on the floor to avoid getting lost. It didn’t take long for me to get the impression that the only thing comparable in complexity to this behemoth of aisles and shortcuts was the Riverbreeze Corn Maze in Truro. At one point during my 30,000 step jaunt, there was a disconsolate lady somewhere in the kitchen section asking a sales clerk how to get out of the store. They suggested downloading the Google Maps app.

After dispatching the ground level in record time, I made my way to the second floor to have a coffee in the cafeteria. The lineups reminded me of those all you can eat buffets in Vegas. However, IKEA is clever and knows that there are people like me who just want a coffee and a cinnamon roll. To my relief, I found out that I didn’t have to get in the large queues. I knocked off a few words of the New York Times crossword puzzle while caffeinating.

I must admit that the signage in the store is excellent. For people like me who are extremely challenged putting furniture together (or anything else for that matter), the most important sign is “We Assemble”.

I am not a shopper and understand my limitations so I try my best to avoid saying or doing anything that might expose my ignorance. Silence and avoiding scrutiny are excellent strategies. Sadly, there are others who don’t recognize their shortcomings and human frailty. While passing through the bedroom showroom, there was a guy trying out a bed. Fully shod (maybe he was a horse or a horse’s ass), he climbed into the bed and tucked himself under the covers. This is not totally surprising. The store is so large that it is possible to develop a romantic relationship during your stay. Maybe this guy was getting ready to propose.

Do you know how to hang a curtain rod? I can hang a load of laundry on the clothesline but DO NOT put me in the line of fire of tools. Apparently there are people more inept than me, hard as that is to believe. While passing through the curtain section I overheard this little gem of an exchange. The salesperson patiently and diligently explained the process and suggested that he put screws in the studs if possible. The befuddled (stunned) male then asked the following question: “Do you have studs for purchase?” I was sorely tempted to jump in and suggest that he contact the Calumet stud farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

I continued to “follow the yellow brick road” (the arrowed floor path is actually grey) and arrived at the checkout area. Have you ever been to Costco around Christmas time? Mere child’s play compared to IKEA’s checkout area on a Saturday afternoon. The only redeeming feature of this terrifying locale is an ice cream stand once you get through.

I reconnected with the gals. I thought my granddaughter had aged. I know I had.

After this experience, I now understand what IKEA means: I Know Every Aisle.


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3 Responses to Just Follow The Arrows

  1. Mary MacPherson says:

    I’ll never hear the name IKEA again without a chuckle. Once again, great laughs, Leonard.

  2. Toni Wilson says:

    Hi Len, I took my mother-inlaw there a few weeks ago we only did the ground Floor…..as the whole Ikea building would be too much for her. We got to the check outs, she wanted a small table we saw along the way. Told her to stay put so I wouldn’t loose her, I went back and guess what those arrows take you around and around, I was lost, asked staff to direct me to the check outs. Thank God my mother-Inlaw was still standing there and right in front of us was that table she was looking for. Picked IT up and got out, WoW that was an experience. Time to go to her apartment and put IT together, her Son gathered all his tools, never put Ikea stuff together before, well NO TOOLS REQUIRED, he had the easiest job and didn’t have the IKEA store experience.

  3. Bill says:

    No, just no.

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