A few years ago I had a rather scary experience in Ikea. I couldn’t find my way out. Reminiscent of a nightmare I once had where I was going round and round in an enormous old mansion where each room had a double door which opened into another room, which had a double door that opened into another room, etc, etc. You get the picture. And that’s how I was in Ikea. I got a bit panicky and claustrophobic resulting in a member of staff having to escort me through the shortcut to the exit. I have not been back.
Until this week.
As you know I’ve recently renovated my house due to the dreadful state it was left in under a so-called management company’s care. And now I’m furnishing and I’d seen some rather nice bits and pieces on Ikea’s website. Not wishing to buy blind – things never look quite the same in the photo, do they? – I decided to go along to the Lakeside store and have a look round.
’Look at the floor and follow the arrows,’ a friend said when I told him where I was going. Not much point in looking at the floor, I won’t see anything. Still he meant well. What he should have said was, ‘Follow the smell of meatballs!’ They’re there, right at the exit!
Anyway – off I set, amazed at the number of cars in the car park and wondering what so many people were doing in Ikea on a warm, summer afternoon. The answer was, of course, having a family outing! Bloody hell! I know there’s a bit of austerity going on and people might not be able to afford Chessington or Peter Pan’s Playground but wouldn’t it be better to take your five kids and two grannies over the park? I had to bite my tongue several times when I saw brats being allowed to run riot.
Then, bracing myself and taking a deep breath I stepped inside. And came out more than two hours later! It was like an Aladdin’s cave. I could have spent a fortune on all the various gadgets but I made myself stick to my shopping list. This time I got the hang of it and followed the arrows and the overhead YOU ARE HERE guides. I only got vaguely lost once and that was in beds. I did wonder if I’d spend the rest of my life among the double divans.
The only other issue was the weight of everything. It’s not easy when you’re on your own to lug long flatpacks weighing 20 kilos onto flat trolleys and then wrestle them into your little Fiesta and watch the chassis drop ten inches with the weight. But they have a wonderful service; you pay for your stuff then wheel it to the Customer Services Desk and they arrange to deliver it to you by noon the following day. Now that’s what I call service! You can always trust the Swedes to do things in a civilised manner!
So, I’m Ikeaed and getting sorted out and writing, too. Apart from a feature script and the final Singles book I’ve been approached to write a murder mystery script by my friend J ‘a pillar of the WI’. I’m very excited about that as I’ve wanted to run murder mysteries for a long time and this could be my first dip of the toe into murky, murderous waters!