Of Ikea and Amusment Park Rides

In addition to sounding like an overly aggressive karate-chop noise, Ikea ranks in my personal “Top 3 Stores I Love AND Hate.”  [Kohl’s, don’t get all cocky.  I got my eye on you too.  But for different reasons.]

Before I go into the whole Ikea thing though, I wanted to ask if anyone else remembers going to the amusement park and riding on that “Antique Car” ride when they were younger?  Remember the first time you did it all-by-yourself?  You’re waiting in line, almost giddy with excitement.  You can’t believe the “people in charge” are going to let you DRIVE!  All-by-YOURSELF!!  You don’t even have a LICENSE!  And they’re gonna let you DRIVE!  All-by-YOURSELF!!!!

Then you get on, wrap yourself with that smelly strap.  YOU’RE OFF!!!  And?!?!  wah-wah-wah (insert game show “I’ve been let down by my own stupidity” noise here).

There’s a TRACK!  Why did you never notice that blasted TRACK before?!?  You’re not really steering; You’re just following the TRACK!  In fact, you can take your hands off the wheel altogether and casually place them behind your head, kick your feet up on the dashboard and you’ll STILL make it back to the start.  And you thought YOU were going to be in charge.

Well….Ikea is like that.  You think, “This is gonna be GREAT!  This is gonna be so much FUN!!”  But as you begin to bump down the road, you realize “steering wheel” is a misnomer because there’s no steering involved.  On your part, at least.  You’ll go where THEY tell you to go.

You see, Ikea makes you go ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE STORE in order to get out the other end.  Even if you just run in for something that can be found at the entrance of the store…you still have to go ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE STORE to get out alive.

Trust me.  I know.

Sissy and I were just there this past week-end.  We ran in before church to “quickly” look at Ikea’s selection of stoppered bottles.  (It’s a Christmas project.  Don’t ask.)  The glassware department is right beside the weird Euro cafeteria where the meatballs are selling like hotcakes even though it’s only 10 in the morning.  I know exactly how we came in.  I can re-trace the path in my head.  The plan is that once we get down the stairs, we can just…walk back up and out.  Right??

But like some sort of haunted house, while we were downstairs for 5 minutes, all the doors have shifted.  The pictures have grown taller and creepier.  An evil laugh booms over the loudspeaker MWA HA ha ha haaaaaa.  And even though we walk back upstairs, there’s no way to get out the way we came in.  (“Last thing I remember, I was runnin’ for the door.  I had to find that passage back to the place I was before.  “Relax,” said the night man, “we are programmed to receive.  You can check out anytime.  But you can NEVER LEAVE!!!!”)

We spy an elevator marked “Exit, this way.”

Hey Willy Wonka!  What happens if we get in this elevator? 

So we try it.  There’s a hope in my mind that the elevator will either 1) blast out of the top of the shaft and we’ll soar through the air until we can get our bearings – or 2) will shoot sideways and we’ll wind up back in the parking garage where our ride is waiting [hey! it’s Ikea.  It could happen through the use of rickety Scandinavian technology.]

And?  The elevator takes us to the bottom of the stairs again.

Whaaaaaa?!?  How the EFF do you get out of here?!?!?

Since I’ve heard about a store “shortcut” that only the most seasoned Ikea-goers know about, I start keeping my eagle eye out for top-secret shortcut signs.  As I’m doing that, Sissy begins to tell me about her dream from the previous night.  She’s on a merry-go-round with a bunch of babies.  The merry-go-round starts going faster and faster.  The babies fly off one-by-one.  She tries to grab them as they sail past, but she’s ineffective.  She can’t let go, otherwise she’ll go flying off too.  Eventually she’s the only one left.  She’s holding on for dear life with both hands while her legs flap out behind her like pants-on-a-clothesline-in-the-wind.

Hmmm…  Sissy?  Why does what we’re doing HERE at IKEA remind you of your dream?!? 

Merry-go-round?  Haunted House?!  Antique Cars??  Either way – stop the Ikea ride.  I wanna get OFF!!!

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