{14/02/2013}   Just popping to Ikea for one thing …

Bloody Ikea.  I always witter on about how much I hate it, but in reality that’s largely because it brings out the oh-that’ll-be-useful in me and it’s far too conducive to buying stuff you perceive you need but which deep down you so know you don’t need.  But I do hate the layout and the fact you are forced to browse and I really, really hate going there on weekends or in school holidays or on weekend days that are also the last day of their sale (I inadvertently did that once and it nearly reduced me to crawling under the duvet in one of the show bedrooms to hide from the sheer horror of it all).  But, I find myself reviewing my slight snobbery about Ikea these days and I am at least a little more appreciative of its concept and innovation.

I went to Ikea yesterday without a car, which I felt was a good money and flat-pack saving idea.  I went there for two bathmats to replace the way-past-their-best ones I currently have.  I obviously picked up a large Ikea shopping bag, pen and paper just in case.  Of course I managed to fill my bag and of course I got drawn into some of the display areas and of course I found lots of things I felt I needed but knew I didn’t and of course I didn’t do the purchase assessment I had vowed to do before getting to the checkout.  Instead, I repacked my bags (having been food shopping before, also an attempt to limit the amount of stuff I could buy in Ikea – I know myself far too well!) to empty out my biggest bag which I knew could carry all that I was about to purchase.  At that moment I could have done a stock take of what I was about to buy, but I had a niggle I’d end up putting a few necessities back on the grounds they weren’t strictly speaking necessary.

So I left Ikea fairly laden, though I suspect I could have bought more had I had less to carry and, deadly for the wallet, my car.  Now assessing what I bought, it isn’t actually that bad and I did stop myself buying a few things that I just knew I couldn’t talk myself into buying as a means of improving the quality of my life.  But what surprised me about that particular trip was that I finally appreciated Ikea.  Yes, you can buy some cheaply made things, but they are also cheap.  Yes, I have a Billy bookcase and yes it is poor quality and yes I did assemble one bit the wrong way round and yes it was tense, yes I swore and yes it had to be taken apart and largely rebuilt.  But it was cheap and I got it at a time when if I wanted a bookcase it had to be a cheap one.  Plus, with books in, it looks ok and does the job.

However, in the kitchen of the flat I currently rent there are some lovely free standing kitchen units, which I admire and which quite a few of my friends have commented on.  They are Ikea.  The other day, looking at a house for sale on line, I commented on the nice kitchen.  It was actually the same units as my kitchen, Ikea.  They sell so many things at so many different price ranges and to cater for so many tastes that it’s actually not that hard to buy something that other people don’t recognise and which looks good.  The Billy, however, is not such a purchase; most people point it out and remark something along the lines of, “Oh, I’ve got a Billy too”!


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