Monday, February 28, 2005

The Ikea Gulag

Okay, so just for kicks I went to the Ikea store near here that opened about a year ago. I'd never been in one (but I have been to Sweden!). It was not what I expected. It was more of a Kafkaesque nightmare. There was something just so paternalistic, socialistic, and "welcome, world citizen/cog/kindergartner" about the place that I started getting a panicky feeling. It took me a long time to find my way out. Luckily, the United States of America was just outside.

So, I just did a Technorati search under "Ikea nightmare" and found this amusing post.

Perhaps they are all there for the Swedish meatballs or a nice lunch at the restaurant... YES a furniture store with a restaurant. This should be the first sign you are about to enter the twilight zone. As you enter the store like so many unwilling lemmings you are funneled up a narrow stairway onto the second floor through the gates of Hell. Yes again you heard me correctly there is only ONE way into the store and ONE way out of it (except for emergency exits that torment you with a sense of false escape at every turn).


My mind struggled to make some sense of it but none could be found and the throbbing of my brain began. There are arrows on the floor telling you which way to walk, and all but a few poor souls follow the blue arrows. A few poor Bastards try to buck the tide and they flail like salmon swimming upstream. I suspect one poor guy had lost all of his senses and he looked like he was desperate to get out of the twisted furniture maze but he had the blank look of someone who had been trapped in a nightmare for a week or more.

At one point I thought I was going mad and I surely would have chewed off an arm if I thought it would have helped me escape.


I saw an exit sign, but it was another tease "emergency" exit and I briefly considered what would happen to me if I went out the emergency exit. All of the sudden everything made sense. This was designed to be a huge furniture Habitrail. It is evil actually in conception you are forced to see EVERY product known to mankind once you enter the store. I am certain there are secret tunnels and doorways for employees (or certainly they would go crazy before they reached retirement age). Imagine if you could force people to look at EVERYTHING... I give you IKEA. Just when you think the torture is over and you have reached the ONE stairway leading back down to the first floor you quickly realize that the blue arrows are still going strong and now you are on the first floor maze. The second floor is a showroom, the first floor is the warehouse where you actually use the notes you made with the free pencils to decrypt the location of the stuff you want to buy like some sick game of scavenger. This is deeply troubling and disorienting as you continue to pass things you have already seen on the second floor and the products stretch out as far as the eye can see!!!!!

Just follow the blue arrows I kept telling myself, just follow the blue arrows. This can't last forever. I repeated that silently in my head like a mantra and tried to remember the good times when I was a free man... I could drink beer and watch TV... ahh the good ole days, and now I am stuck in a Swedish furniture Gulag... ohhh the humanity!!!


Let my suffering be a warning to all who have never been to IKEA...

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