IKEA – Not My Cup of Lingonberry Tea

Yesterday afternoon Seth and I drove down to IKEA in Stoughton to look for filing cabinets or a credenza to help organize our new home office.  The last time (and also the first time) I visited an IKEA store was many years ago in Schaumberg, Illinois.  Our daughter was starting graduate school at Northwestern and needed some items for her new residence.  After a long day of getting her settled, she and I drove to Schaumberg on a rainy, foggy night.  Even from a distance, the IKEA store was enormous—bigger than any “big box” store I had ever seen—with its lights shining up and making the mist glow.  It looked like a NASA launch pad.  We went in, bought a few of the things she needed, wandered around for a bit and left.  
IKEA, Canton MA
IKEA without the crowd
Yesterday, we arrived around 3 PM and joined a long line of cars waiting to get into the garage.  So many people were trying to get in that it looked like the company was giving things away—which they definitely were not.  Look at this picture and imagine cars lined up bumper-to-bumper.  We waited for a parking space and then joined the mob of people streaming into the store.  Granted, it was a holiday and not a regular weekday, but still.

Over the course of the next hour, I learned several things:

  1. If you want to go to IKEA, go early in the morning or later in the evening.  Do not arrive in the afternoon.  When we left just after 4 PM, there was no line and many spaces available in the garage.
  2. We do not belong to the demographic profile that fits IKEA’s target audience.  Despite the store’s size, we saw nothing that we wanted to buy.
  3. I really, really don’t like crowded stores.  I felt like I had gone to Disneyland and was following a “people mover” path with so many people moving along it that it was difficult to even step aside and think about the merchandise.  Disney is better at moving the people.
  4. The prices did not, I believe, match the quality of the merchandise.  While I did not find anything to buy, I did see prices that matched those of other, smaller stores with higher-quality goods.
  5. I couldn’t take a deep breath until I got back outside.

Well, live and learn.  At least I know that we never have to drive back down to Stoughton.  And, with gas prices high and going daily upward, that’s good news.