All is ‘tickety-boo’ – Kullen, Billy and me

ikea-webIn 2013, 212 million copies of the IKEA catalogue were printed in 29 languages and 62 editions. In the same year the IKEA Group stores had 684 million visits.* That’s roughly the population of the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Canada and US put together.

But why is it that every time I am in an IKEA store it seems like at least half that number is there as well? It’s as if you’re trapped in a swarm of bees; you’re swept through the store by the masses buzzing with activity around you, couples arguing over the colour of their new sofa, parents shouting after their children who are playing hide and seek, trolleys being shoved into your ankles and seemingly endless queues at the check outs. Every now and again a very stressed and desperate voice makes an announcement over the speakers: “Little John wants to be picked up IMMEDIATELY from Småland.” (That’s the supervised play area in case you wonder.) And by the end of each visit I haven’t only bought the items I came for in the first place, but at least twice as many knickknacks I just couldn’t resist. That’s what I call the “IKEA-frenzy’. But I love it, for me it’s a fun day out. Of course it includes lunch in form of IKEA’s famous meatballs and maybe a piece of delicious cake to satisfy my sweet tooth. So what’s there not to like.

After moving into my first place in Wales, which was unfurnished, I obviously needed some furniture and with IKEA being my first choice I crossed the border into neighbouring England for a trip into the nearest store one day. I wasn’t worried about assembling things, as I have done my fair share of flat packed furniture construction, but more about transporting and carrying things as I was on my own. But as a modern and independent woman (some people would call it stubborn or stupid) I thought I’d manage. And I did. Almost. I have to admit, I was slightly surprised that I managed to get the mattress into the hired van and up the stairs in my house (I’m almost 5’1’’ so it felt like it was at least three times my size). It seemed to have a mind of its own, not wanting to go upstairs and therefore clinging to door frames and corners making itself as bulky, wide and heavy as possible. And I had to unpack the wardrobe before loading it into the van because it was just too heavy to carry in one piece (thank God for Swiss army knives). But otherwise it went quite smoothly. No screws were missing, I had more than enough nails and Allen keys and the instructions were easy and manageable. That is, until I had almost finished assembling my 3 door wardrobe and was instructed to bring it in an upright position. I just couldn’t. It was too big, unhandy, heavy and my ceiling too low to do it with the help of some DIY construction. I pushed and pulled, turned and levered but it just wouldn’t go up. So I used it lying down on its side for a while, doors and everything else ready to go in, until help arrived. But even in that state it was an improvement from the rack I had used for the first couple of weeks. It has taught me something though. When I moved house after a couple of years, I decided to hire a company to carry things and re-assemble the furniture for me. You see, I’m not getting any younger…

* source: http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/pdf/yearly_summary/ikea-group-yearly-summary-fy13.pdf
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