Shopping Smorgasbord

little swedenAfter having to reschedule at least four or five times, the Matthews Family Band finally made it to North Carolina’s little piece of Swedish heaven last week.

That’s right, we went to Ikea in Charlotte.ikeaThe Kid’s been before, and in fact, sleeps on an Ikea bed.  Petey and I were both neophytes.  I wasn’t expecting much, I mean, it’s a furniture store with meatballs—I’ve shopped for furniture and home goods, and Stouffers make perfectly fine Swedish meatballs.

But, sure, let’s ride three hours to Charlotte, for a lamp.

I’ve decided Ikea’s kind of like giving birth.rosemary's babyMothers: you know how everybody talks about how much labor and childbirth hurt?  And how the real thing is so much more painful than your wildest nightmares?  Like how there really are no English words that can adequately describe the scorching, soul-eviscerating torment you’ll experience?

Parents and Grandparents: Do you remember people trying to communicate how much you’ll love this baby?  And how shocked you were at how hard, fast, and total this tidal wave of love actually felt, and how it transformed every single thing about you and your life?

Yeah, Ikea’s sorta like that.13The place is huge. This isn’t Target with full grocery store.  This is original thirteen colonies huge.  The foyer is bigger than an airplane hanger.  There’s a nursery/kid jail that’s bigger than your average Chucky Cheese.

It takes up two floors.  When you walk in, there’s an up escalator, but no down.  I still have no idea why.  There are lots of partitioned areas, so you can’t see very much at one time.  Which is probably a good thing, because if I could’ve seen everything at once, I probably would’ve had a stroke from pure sensory overload.

ikea apt

An Ikea studio apartment.

The top floor is furniture.  They have it divided into rooms, like most other places.  But they also have these apartment pods of varying sizes for various customers in various life stages.

I discovered a kitchen that was so perfect it was like it had been torn right out of my mind.  It was big and bright with lots of tall work surfaces and spreading out room.closetThen I found my dream closet.  It was more of the Louvre for clothes, shoes, accessories and purses.  There was a beautifully upholstered slipper chair and even a glass of Champagne waiting for me on the luxurious dressing table.

The only problem is that 85% of my clothes were absolutely not fancy enough for it.  I just couldn’t picture my sweats and boring lingerie in such rarified surroundings.  I’d feel sorry for the bulk of my stuff.  Like flip-flops with a ball gown.

gown flop

…so evidently, that’s a thing now. 

Ikea’s first floor’s full of small home goods like linens, lamps, and kitchen gadgets.  Ingenious, unique items at a great price.  That’s where I picked out a blue gossamer summer throw, a snuggly gray one, steak knives, and various other items I couldn’t live without.

That’s also where they have a mini-grocery selling frozen versions of food they serve in the café, Swedish specialties and some candy (FYI-skip the chocolate bulk candy; it’s too sweet and not fresh).     swedish chicAnd throughout, everything is clean and bright with that Ikea blend of attractive casual yet super chic.

I still have no idea how the store’s laid out.  We just wandered around until we came to food.  We ate.  Then there was an elevator.  We went down.  Then we wandered around until we came to cash registers and left.

I’m not sure how they accomplish this tricky bit of auto-navigation.  I think they just use some sort of Swedish Jedi mind control tricks.swedesAnd PS, the meatballs were way better than Stouffer’s.

Thanks for your time.

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