We aren’t ready to purchase our kitchen cabinets yet, but we wanted to fine tune our kitchen design and see the cabinets in person. We are planning to buy IKEA cabinets and install them ourselves. Of course, the installation will be frustrating, but who doesn’t love some extra frustration between spouses?
We didn’t plan to spend 5 hours in the store. It just sort of happened. Maybe it was because we left the boys with my parents. For future reference, we noted that IKEA has a supervised play area where they will let you leave your children for an hour for free.
We probably spent an hour of the day eating. First, we had second breakfast. It was only 99 cents (so how could we go wrong?), it was enough to split, and they had free coffee, which is the only kind I drink.
For lunch, I somehow missed ordering Swedish meatballs and ended up with salmon and funny potato cakes and salad and dessert (Amanda got chicken fingers). Still cheap, except the dessert.
Oh, and they have a tiny mini Swedish grocery mart too, which we didn’t realize at first. Many of the same food oddities they sell in the cafe are available in frozen form, but we didn’t buy any. About half of them seemed to involve lingonberries, and roughly the other half were comprised of various varieties of herring.
Another 2 hours were spent sitting at a computer fiddling with our kitchen design. I guess that’s what we came there to do, but I had brought with me the mostly mistaken notion that by visiting the actual store, we would get some actual help / advice from actual salespeople. Instead, the store extends the self-service mantra to kitchen design by way of a large bank of computers, each of which is pointed at the same somewhat glitchy 3D design website you can access from the comfort of your own home.
Our home computer is 7 years old, so there were definite advantages to using the newer in-store models. And it was nice to be able to jump up and go look at something in person when we had a question. Is the bottom drawer of a three-drawer front panel the same height as the bottom drawer of a two-drawer front panel? (Yes.) How big is a microwave? (We brought a tape measure and they provide paper ones.) What would it really look like to have the refrigerator between two tall cabinets? (Not bad, if there’s enough width.)
We did manage to have a couple brief conversations with one salesman. We had built up a long list of questions, so once we had him there, we were barreling through them. After answering two or three, he walked away, leaving us wondering what we had said wrong. To his credit, he came back a few moments later and said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t ask if you had any more questions,” and then he patiently answered the rest of them.
When it was time to eat lunch, we tried to print some views of our design, along with a shopping list. (One of the nice features of the 3D site is that, if you can get it to stop putting cabinets in sideways, it will print you a list of every door panel, screw, and widget that you need to purchase in order to assemble your masterpiece.) But nothing came out of the printer. We eventually found our helpful salesman and caused him to be even more harried by forcing him to remove the printer and shake it.
I guess we spent the rest of the time looking around, mostly at kitchens but also at other mock rooms. And, of course, despite not having the boys along (or perhaps because they weren’t there), we spent some time looking at toys. How can you go wrong with a wooden train set for ten dollars?
Ridiculously cheap food, an hour of free childcare, slow-close drawers, classic toys, and a maze-like environment (look for the signed shortcuts if you go!)… Our overall impression of Ikea is that it is a somewhat weird place. But so is the Pink House.