Although we are not slated to be reunited with our household goods for another 22 days, that has not stopped anyone in this household from falling into the logical fallacy of the recently relocated:
1. I moved to a new place. 2. My new place is not my old place. 3. My old place had my old stuff. 4. I am not in my old place. 5. Therefore, I need new stuff.
To be fair, we need a shelf capable of being attached to a wall, as that is where we'll stash our cable modem and AirPort while the floors underneath them are radically redone. And we need a magnetic knife rack, as my idea of a knife drawer was shot down with, "I'm afraid I'd reach in for a knife and pull back a bloody stump." And we need a dish drainer, as we no longer have a dishwasher who is not named "Phil." And now that we have the luxury of not having to work at a kitchen table (which is still in storage), it would be nice to have a desk in our office, and I want to shamelessly ape this set-up.
The most efficient way to pick up all this stuff in one go was IKEA.
I don't do well at IKEA, because more than a decade of e-commerce-first shopping behavior has ruined me for any retail experience that doesn't let me use a search engine or winnow down inventory based on insanely specific requirements.
Also, most IKEA shoppers hate humanity and/or polite society and it shows. Oh, how it shows.
The Internet is Ground Zero for people who know how to do things better than I. Therefore, I reasoned, surely someone had written the inevitable "Hack your IKEA trip" blog post. Why not see what was out there?
I went with Squawkfox's June 25, 12, post, "How to survive a trip to IKEA," mostly because I feel a deep affinity for anyone who loves planning ahead and making lists.
One useful piece of advice from Kerry's post: In advance of your trip to IKEA, get an account on the IKEA website so that you can make a list ahead of time. There are two reasons to do this: Firs, you can see what's actually in stock; second, you can sort that sucker by bin location, print it out and use it to conduct a commando raid on the bins where all the giant flat-pack stuff is kept.
A second useful piece of advice from Kerry's post: Avoid the Market Hall. It only leads to madness and/or impulse buys.
So I made my list (you can see a copy of it here in my Evernote shared notebook) and promptly discovered my first problem: Nearly everything on my list was in the Market Hall. This is the IKEA version of "The call is coming from inside the house!"
I will say that the benefit of making -- and printing up -- the IKEA list ahead of time is that it helped me stay focused. And the benefit of bricks and mortar retail eventually manifested: I was able to compare the sturdiness of NORDEN gateleg tables in white and birch (verdict: the birch was sturdier but, alas, out of stock on the day I was there), which really is the kind of thing that you can do only in person.
I had but one detour and that was more out of curiosity than weak impulse control: I wanted to see if IKEA had a floor model of the RÅSKOG kitchen cart so I might ooh and ahh over it and fan the flames of my covetousness. They did not.
(The cart would be perfect for storing the toddler's craft supplies. It's small, portable, adorable, and nearly impossible to find in America.)
Other than that, I was actually in and out the curséd Viking retailer in under an hour.
So how would I rate the Web's advice? Helpful in making the case for doing advanced prep on the website.
Not so helpful in addressing the irritation inherent navigating the Market Hall, which was packed with all manner of savages -- couples who had a State of the Relationship parley right by the throw rugs, people dropping glassware and edging away from the mess without telling an employee, people who confused the act of screaming, "Madison! Jackson! Cut that shit out!" with hands-on parenting, etc.
Since this is the Internet and I also get to tell people how to do things, here is my advice for negotiating the IKEA Market Hall: Don't bring a shopping cart. Bring your own bag. It'll make getting around the people in the narrow aisles that much easier.
And I promise, once I find a solution for shopping with "We need to talk about where you see us in five years --" and "Madison! Jackson! Cut that shit out!" ... I promise I'll blog it.