Icky-a. Otherwise known as Ikea, the inexpensive DIY home products retailer. I took my first – and presumably last – trip to the utilitarian furniture mecca yesterday, and oh, how I wish I could get those two hours back.

I should have heeded the subtle warning of caution in my sister’s voice on the phone yesterday morning when I merrily mentioned the plan for my maiden voyage to the store. She seemed a little surprised that I’d trek to Ikea, and wished me well, all the while I ignored the underlying “yeahhh, good luck with THAT!” tone.

I went equipped with a list of odds and ends that we needed to finish off the boys’ rooms…a desk, some desk chairs, a small bureau, some nightstands, and maybe a filing cabinet for my office if there was anything appropriate. I’m handy with a power screwdriver, so I knew that even if David never got around to assembling our purchases, I could put them together myself with an extra set of hands from one of the boys. We quickly got the lay of the land and learned how to mark down the pertinent information on the Ikea shopping list. For those unfamiliar with their shopping procedure, there are little pads and pencils, and you write down the aisle and bin number listed on the item you want to buy, and you wind up the experience in a cavernous warehouse where you pick the cartons of furniture and pay.

We made our way through the shopping maze to the home office department, where we found two perfect desk/hutch combinations for Matthew’s bedroom. One of them was marked, “Temporarily Oversold,” Ikea-speak for “Out of Stock.” The other was just as good, so we marked down the aisle and bin number. We then found filing cabinets that would do the job for me, and had an Ikea dude help us configure the drawers with the door-fronts and drawer pulls we liked. We came upon a nice, inexpensive bureau so David could finally get his stacks of clothes off the bedrom floor. Two nightstands. A table for Matthew’s room. A desk lamp. A small entertainment unit for Ben’s A/V components. Aisle and bin number. Aisle and bin number. Yippee!

We finally ended up in the warehouse where we grabbed a flatbed cart and began the adventure of picking the cartons. Our first destination was aisle 1, bin 16. We located it easily, but found ourselves standing in front of an empty shelf. So we made our way to the next destination, aisle 6, bin 24. Also empty. The third item was supposed to be packed in two separate cartons. We located its home in the warehouse, only to find there was one lone box left in the bin, marked “#2 –This is 1 of 2 boxes for this item. Make sure you take BOTH boxes.”

I’m now a vision of restrained elegance, kicking the flatbed, and loudly and profanely wondering why, in this ginormous, effing warehouse, I’ve been able to pinpoint all the items that are out of stock. And I’m outraged that the corresponding display items up on the shopping floor were not appropriately marked with the “Temporarily Oversold” warning. Instead of forging ahead with finding the last couple of items on the list, I decided that Ikea did not deserve my business, and I stormed out, through the checkout area packed with mile-long lines, muttering like a lunatic about what a colossal waste of time this shopping experience had been.

Needless to say, David’s clothes are still on the bedroom floor, and will likely remain there for some time. My files are still packed in boxes. Matthew’s computer is still sitting on his bed. And one of these days, I’ll get my tuchus to a real furniture store and pay a little more to find what we need, have it delivered and put together.

YOU can kea if you want to, but no thanks, I won’t ever kea again.

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