Erika the Pink Goes to IKEA. Eats Cake.

(This was written by both of us with much giggling.  And cake.)

We love Ikea.  We love the solid, useful furniture, the whimsical accessories with strange and wonderful names like Bløørg, and Flärne, Pam’s infamous Dingentingen, or the one that makes our friend, Taylor, giggle: Jerker.  We love the smell of cinnamon wafting out of the cafeteria, and the coffee so strong it’ll clean out your innards (Glinda and I are both Scandinavian; that’s how we like our coffee. Also?  With cake.)

We love the United Nations feel of the place too.  On Saturdays, you can hear virtually every language known to man being spoken and people in their national costumes doing folk dances in the aisles and glaring at you when you go the wrong way because, y’know, there are arrows for God’s sake.  Of course you also find a lot of unhappy-looking men passing notes to other men: “We’ve been here  for three hours already and she’s still looking at curtains.  Help me?”  Honestly there should be a husband’s version of Smålland (Their kids’ amusement area) called Makenshelgedomen where they serve Swedish beer and pickled herring.
So in the last three months we’ve been to Ikea four times.  No, we don’t love it that much.  It’s just that Glinda wanted a Hemnes TV unit  which is six feet long and unlikely to fit in any car we could rent.
An IKEA Store along Alexandra Road in Queensto...
The Promised Land.  With cake.

Trip #1: Largely a recon mission, actually. Recon and coffee. And cake. After our usual full circle tour of the store we made our way down to the warehouse of furniture section where they had stacks of the units. Glinda waffled on the idea of actually picking one up that day and finally decided against it. In retrospect, it was probably wise since it wouldn’t have fit in the car with the three of us. Tracy would have been very put out to be left on the curb.

Gonna fit in the shoe car?  Hell no!

Trip #2: Dear automakers, telling us that your vehicle has “X cubic feet of cargo space” is not helpful. At least not to Glinda, who was absent from school the day they taught how to calculate that stuff. Which would explain why she would rent a baby shoe-sized car for the trip. Adorable, but useless. And so was the car.

Trip #3: Armed with the proper transport and determination, we made our third trip. This was it. We were getting that damned thing. After coffee. And cake. Quick circle tour of the store (because we can’t not)  and down to the flatpack lair. Only to discover that there was a big empty space where Glinda’s new entertainment center should be. “KHAAAAAAAAANNNNNN!!”

About this time we were starting to think maybe the fates were against this idea.

Trip #4: No Tracy. No coffee and cake. No fooling around. Straight to Aisle 6, Bin 62 and there it was in all of its boxed glory. Glinda gave a cry of triumph that her Viking forebears would have applauded.  “KHAAAAAAAAAANNN!!” (Hey, if “aloha” can be both hello and goodbye….) Then she loaded it on the cart and raced to the check-out. 

Actual parts
Actual part count

Jim and Glinda got it home and upstairs, and then he took off (Smart lad!) leaving us to cope with approximately 12,476, 322 pieces of unlabeled stuff  and an assembly manual in which the only written information was a warning about how you could hurt or possibly kill yourself, your pets, your family, the people next door, the mailman and most of the people in your town if you let your furniture tip over, in at least twenty languages including Cuneiform. (Dot, dot, triangle, something that looks like a Mac +…)

The manual itself?  A lot of awful line drawings implying that grumpy people can’t be allowed to put these things together, and that someone with a pencil behind his ear is essential. This led to a call to the Ikea helpline.

Your phone is magically connected to Ikea.


(Actual reenactment of speakerphone conversation between Inge from Ikea and Glinda, with Tracy in the background.)
Inge: Hej, Ikea hëlplïnej. How may I hëlpj yu?
Glinda: Hi, Inge, I’m Glinda, and I’m a little confused.
Inge: Everyone who calls is a little confused. Vat’s your problemj?
Screw this, I’m leaving.
Glinda: I bought the Hemnes TV unit and I’m looking at the instruction manual.  Do I need a man with a pencil behind his ear, or can I put the pencil behind my cat’s ear?  And if I can’t find a pencil, will a pretzel do?
Inge: I have no information on cats or pretzels, but you can put it behind a voman’s ear. Ve Svedes believe in equality.
Tracy: I found a pencil.  Should I put it behind my ear?
Glinda: Yeah, try that.
Tracy: It keeps falling out when I bend over to pick up the Fnang.
Inge: Do you have any  of our Stickj or Guunk?
Glinda: What the hell is that?  TRACY PUT THE NAIL GUN DOWN!
Inge: Guunk is our special Ikea glue, and Stikj is our special Ikea tape.  Hëllë is a kind of jam; good on skorpor, but not so good on your friends unless yu are very close.  Ve Svedes believe in equality.
Glinda:  I applaud that, Inge.  But here’s my next question: I can’t tell the difference between these two screws.
Inge: There is no difference.  Ve Svedes believe in equality.

Tommy revs up his lasers in case something needs cutting.
                  Glinda: No, Inge, we’ve moved on from there.  I mean literal screws like to hold things together.
Inge:  Ĥëëħêè
Glinda: Never mind.  We really need some professional help here.  Can you send someone?
Tracy: Someone who looks like Nicolaj Coster-Waldau?
Inge: Ja, ve have one like that, but he’s gone a-Viking and von’t be back until next year.
Tracy: Damn.
Inge: Shall I send Sven?
Glinda: Sven?  Sounds promising.  Is he tall and blond, and does he have a pencil?
Inge: All our people come with pencils behind their ears.
Tracy: What a strange way to have sex.
Glinda: Sounds great.  We look forward to his arrival.
Inge:  I vill set yu up vit an appointmentj for Mondag.  Yu can pay Sven in herring and beer.  Thank you for calling the Ikea hëlplïnej and have a nice eftermiddag.
So Sven showed up
Sven med pencil

And fifteen minutes later: 

And then we all ate herring. And cake.

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2 thoughts on “Erika the Pink Goes to IKEA. Eats Cake.

  1. When I went down to San Fran to help Pat D. move back into her totally restored apartment (after a fire and a two year wait) we went to IKEA and bought her furniture. A sofa, two chairs, two bookcases, a TV stand, a computer table, a bed w/ headboard, a dresser and very large wardrobe later, I managed to put most of it together myself (except for some help with the wardrobe, thank god). You're right about the many parts involved and the sometimes incomprehensible, no-words instructions. I remember working on one item for awhile before I realized one of the parts already attached to other parts was totally backwards! ~ and of course had to be totally disassembled. And my fingers were sore for days due to using the many allen wrenches provided to make each piece. Fun times. (Be glad for Sven!)

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