Tuesday, July 28, 2009

IKEA Dublin, Opening Mayhem

Did you know that the Swedes pronounce Ikea without the I, so it sounds more like icky than pikey? In truth, Ickea Dublin is neither icky nor pikey, a fact I discovered with surprise on the opening day of the furniture Mecca.

I needed a couch, as much as any bachelor really needs anything. As a double-edged project, I decided to subject myself to shopping torture for the good of the blog. I expected turmoil, hatred and elbows. I expected mothers with prams to graze my ankles, snotty children, excess mucus, and the cacophony of hissing couples. I prepared myself for the worst, jogged to the bus stop an asked for a one-way ticket to Ballymun.

Arriving at the big blue warehouse, I knew from the start that something was amiss. When the bus driver told me we were to be delivered directly into the IKEA complex, I expected the UN on the walls, spraying the local outlaws with automatic weapons, screaming for the gates to be winched up as our bus hurtled through the clouds of smoke and gunfire. Sure, there were the flags and the bunting, and a few children with balloons. Sure, there was the Abba playing from a van in the car park. Nevertheless, it wasn’t the mayhem I’d been anticipating. I didn’t feel annoyed, stressed or anxious. I walked inside and people smiled and helped. Nobody was breathing down my back. Yet whenever I thought of asking a question, an agent of Ikea was waiting eerily on hand. I’d look up, and there he'd be, some fellow in a yellow t-shirt, grinning with information. I was instructed in a patient tone to play with all the furniture. 'That's the Ikea way!' he told me. So I did.

I opened out the sofa beds, closed them, sat on them, lay down, swapped mattresses, took off covers, discarded blankets and changed them for others, tinkered, measured, tested and compared. During the activity, I was approached by several patrons. No, no, no, I thought, don't ask me. I don't work here. Just play around with the stuff until you get what you like. That's the Ikea way. Then it hit me. I was enjoying myself. For the first time in my life, I was enjoying the retail experience. It thrilled me. I bought other things. Pillowcases, quilt covers, and bed sheets, a new mattress, a wardrobe storage unit and a bathroom mat. By the time I got to the departure lounge - it starts to look like an airport at the end – I was endowed with useless, cheap, well made gee-gaws. No matter how much you think you’re going to spend, you’ll spend more. Why? Because it’s fun. And you feel like you’ve saved a million.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but Ikea is good. Don’t be afraid of Ballymun, it’s less like the Thunderdome than you think, and they’ve rigged the 13A bus with carapace armour, a napalm flamer and nitrous injection.

DIARIT: 9/10

Ikea Tips: (1) Delivery charge starts at €35 for Dublin City centre, goes up to about €100 and is based on the value of the goods delivered. (2) You can get a temporary ‘IKEA Family’ card by picking up a bar-coded flyer in-store. You don’t have to fill out the details in the form, just tear off the bar-code and present it at the till. 25% off loads of stuff. (3) You can get a wooden dining table and four chairs for 50 blips. Incredible. (4) Bring your own plastic drinking vessel and it’s easy to scam free coffee in the departure lounge.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant writing. I think you could write something witty and entertaining about anything. Really good.