Don't Try This at Home
My brilliant plan.
I’d just moved into my new apartment and the closest thing I had to
furniture was the camping mattress I was sleeping on.
In an interest to save money, I did what most people in my
situation would do: I headed to IKEA.
The IKEA in Minneapolis is located next to the infamous Mall of
America. I took the light rail and a
bus to get there, so I avoided the usual hassle of having to find a parking
space. It was a Saturday and it seemed
that everyone within 100 miles chose this day to go furniture shopping. I cut through the mall on my way to the IKEA
since the bus stop is on the opposite side of the MoA from IKEA.
As I worked my way through the labyrinthine store, I found a
set of table and chairs for about $80.
I wasn’t able to find a futon (which I’d wanted even more than the
table), but that may have been a good thing.
As I moved to the lower level of the store, thinking I’d
just go and pick up the table and be gone, I realized that there were all kinds
of wonderful things for the home I never knew I needed. The unintentional purchase is part of the
charm and the experience of IKEA. It
probably is also where they make most of their money. So, I grabbed a few things I hadn’t been looking for, but could
probably use: a set of a dozen glasses, dish towels, a thermos,
Tupperware… All of these I’ve used, but
did I really need eight dish towels?
Eventually, I found my way to the “self-serve” area. This is basically a warehouse where you are
expected to haul away your new furniture in a cardboard box for later
assembly. The box was big and was kind
enough to tell me how much its contents weighed (30 kilos), but I wasn’t really
worried about that; the shopping list you pick up on your way into the store
assures you that home delivery is available.
So, I look around to see where I arrange for home delivery
and I see a sign for it on the other side of the check-out. Blissfully unaware that anything could
possibly go wrong, I wade my way through the checkout line and start wheeling
my cart in the direction of the delivery desk.
Above this desk (which can’t be seen from the check-out line) is a sign
that informs me that the minimum cost for home delivery is $49.
Now, the entire purpose of going to IKEA was to save
money. Shelling out $49 to ship this
table to my apartment really doesn’t seem like a very cost effective thing to
do. Admittedly, it also pissed me off
that they don’t tell you how much delivery costs until AFTER you’ve paid for
what you need delivered. Of course,
when I get angry I tend to get stubborn.
I’m told this is a family trait.
So, I decided that the hell with them, I’m going to take this thing home
with me on the bus.
I roll my cart outside and through the parking lot and would
have been happy to keep rolling it all the way to the bus stop. Those wily Swedes weren’t happy about this
idea and had installed a sensor in the wheels that will lock them up if you try
to take them outside the parking lot. So,
now I have to carry the thing. Oh, and
the glasses and other items I just had to pick up as well. I put those in my backpack, gritted my teeth
and started walking. Remember how I
said the bus stop was on the opposite side of the MoA?
I took a lot of breaks and tried to take it easy on myself,
but part of me kept thinking of the safety training I’d received the previous
day. Especially the part about not
overexerting yourself lifting heavy or awkward objects and risking back injury. Hmm… lessee, heavy object? Check. Awkward? Check. In fact, I couldn’t think of anything I was doing that the safety
video would have approved of. After
about 1/4 mile of carrying my new table and chairs, I was coming around to the
same opinion as the safety video. Part
of me wanted to say the hell with it, bring the table back and cut my
losses. Of course, that would mean
carrying it BACK to the store. I was
about halfway to the bus stop. Oh hell,
I guess I’ll keep going. This continued
for quite awhile and I threatened myself with mutiny on more than one
occasion. Eventually, I made it to the
Normally, I like it when a bus arrives promptly, but that
day I really wouldn’t have minded a few more minutes to rest. Nope, the ever efficient Metro Transit bus
pulls up and I lug the #@%$in table on board.
I get a couple of questioning looks and one person who sees the box and
says “Oh! IKEA! I was there last
week! Of course, I had a car…” I smiled at this. There really wasn’t anything else to do
After a transfer from the bus to the light rail, I was on
the home stretch. All I had to do was
carry the table from the station to my apartment. This was probably a shorter distance than from IKEA to the bus
stop, but not much. Fortunately, with
the end in sight, these things always seem to go a little faster. I finally arrived at the apartment, carried
it up to my second floor apartment and collapsed on the floor. After a few minutes of rest, I got myself a
cup of water in one of my new glasses and sat down on the floor to assemble my
The table was joined by a futon a week or two later (this
was delivered), but beyond that, it remains the only real piece of furniture in
the apartment. It is my desk, my dining
table, and my storage area. It has been
a very good deal for me and is doing it job wonderfully. Still, the next time I go to purchase
furniture at IKEA, I’ll make certain to bring a car.