IKEA, one of the things that Sweden is most well-known for (except for hot blondes and shady movies produced some decades ago…), is so popular (read: at least well-visited) here in Sweden that you cannot believe.
During this summer, I made a lot of consecutive visits to IKEA. We bought a bed and a set of drawers, since we made some heavy furnishing alterations at home. My dear Fredrika loves IKEA; I don’t. Or rather, I have to say that overall IKEA is a well-working company with very competitive products and prices, and the staff, especially the ones handling returns and broken items, are very professional.
But I’m not just that much into finding cheap items which I don’t really need, just because it won’t cost me as much as the same items, designed, would. It’s about the same as if I would buy an Acer laptop only since the price is very low. I just don’t want the crap.
The result of IKEA’s pricing and vast range of products is that Swedes (and I guess people in other countries too) make pilgrimage travel to the stores in evenings, and especially weekends, to make some bargains. For people without cars, there are a number of buss-loads of soon-to-be customers dropped off at the entrance each and every day, and they are more excited than people going to, for instance, concerts.
Lots of people + lots of families + lots of tired, bored kids doesn’t result in the most optimal place and environment to spend your time. People start arguing, kids behave the way adults really want to behave under such circumstances, but are too polite to do, and it is general chaos and mayhem (more or less).
When I was at IKEA for the third day in a row to exchange products, I couldn’t help but asking the guy at the cashier:
Excuse me, but how many children do you hear crying every day?
He looked at me with his very tired eyes (although he was probably only 21 years of age, or so), sighed and replied:
Well, in the morning there are some, and then it grows quiet. For a while. But then it becomes a sort of crescendo of crying in the evening! I really don’t know where to go or how to stay sane, just because of the enormous sound wall.
I smiled, payed for my stuff, and went out into the fresh air. Having spent some recent intensive time at IKEA, I was sure it is also the home of break-ups.