Notes From Ikea

By:

April 14, 2012
It’s been more than two years now since I started working in Art Department in Film and TV and they started sending me to Ikea. I am the one who does the dirty work, the things nobody else wants to do. They can’t handle the long lines, the arguing couples, the ever-obvious decline of society, or they just can’t be bothered to drive to Red Hook. I know this store better than myself. I am alone in a wasteland of pseudo-Swedish-named reasonably-priced furniture. It’s the Old West out there, an unregulated battleground. There will be many casualties, but I will not be one of them. This is my turf.

May 2, 2012
The air is laced with laughing gas, as at the Key Food in Greenpoint. The weak fall. That pillow has a picture of a lady drinking out of a pineapple — isn’t that droll? No. I am here for two tall plants and two tall plants only.

June 20, 2012
The security guard remembers me. We embrace with our eyes as he marks my receipt with a Sharpie.

July 18, 2012
My boss eats a pack of Ikea cookies in line and then throws them away without paying for them, as always when she shops with me. She follows this immediately with a slice of elementary school-style pizza, then lifelong regret and self-loathing.

August 1, 2012
I was in and out of Ikea today in half an hour. My speed is rivaled only by my resistance to their demon meatballs. For every meatball I have eaten, I have killed a man.

September 22, 2012
Entered Ikea at 3:16. Entered the checkout line at 3:19. This must qualify me for the Ikea Olympics. Stockholm 2016! I shall decimate all opposition to my reign of death. Also, today is my birthday.

October 16, 2013
In a barren wasteland of apathy and hair weaves, Lerou shines as Ikea’s best employee. He has worked there for two days. He asked me if I needed any help, then proceeded to search for my items, take my cart to go get them while I continued to look for other items on the computer, refused to let me help him lift the items off the shelves and into my cart, and escorted me to the shortest checkout line. If you want to look for him next time you are there, he is tall and slim and was probably a hallucination. Last week I saw a plate of meatballs and a machete floating in the middle of the highway. I didn’t have time to eat them, however, because I needed to buy a few things at Ikea before they closed that evening.

November 30, 2012
Today was the third day out of four that I have spent in Ikea. I never want to hear the word “Melltorp” again. Where I once had dignity, I now have recycled blue bags.

December 8, 2012
I was too cheap to buy a menorah for Hanukkah last year but found some Ikea tea lights under my bed. Knowing Ikea quality, it will be a genuine Hanukkah miracle if they last one night, never mind all of them. I shall pick up a bag of frozen latkes tomorrow in Ikea’s frozen food section ($2.99).

December 23, 2012
It is nearly Christmas and I am, of course, at work, at Ikea. Merry Christmas, Ikea! I got you three full carts of returns on five separate receipts, return wait time an estimated 37 minutes. I’m sorry, I guess I got you that last year.

December 28, 2012
Tonight was my high school reunion. One classmate asked, “What do you do?” Four classmates replied in unison, “She goes to Ikea.” I shot them all, drove home, and warmed up a plate of frozen meatballs.

January 12, 2013
I was in the middle of a long return with my boss when a manager cut in and asked if someone with one item could go in front of us because of some error the store had made. Bored and desperate for human contact, I struck up a conversation with him.

Me: Hey man, why did you have to cut us? You’re making me late for lunch.

Guy: You just reminded me I haven’t had lunch yet. I’m hungry.

Me: I have some yogurt in the car. Do you want some of my yogurt?

Guy: How long has it been in your car?

Me: Two days.

February 10, 2013
I walked into Ikea today with two carts piled high with returns. A cashier shouted at me “No! Not you! Leave this place, you foul creature! Death is upon us!” I shrugged and took a number.

February 12, 2013
The cashier asked for my ID to process the return. I handed her my parole card. She needed a manager’s approval. I need approval from no one.

March 23, 2013
After a return, I got back money on a gift card. I walked up to the food court and found a woman with two small children. I asked her if she wanted my gift card. She said she couldn’t afford it. I said I wasn’t selling it. She asked how much money was on it. I checked the receipt. About $536, I said. I handed it to her and walked away. She can buy fifty Lack Tables or one sofa that won’t fit up her staircase.

April 15, 2013
Ikea Brooklyn, my usual Ikea, didn’t have the stove hood I needed for the set, so I headed to the Elizabeth Ikea. One day, two Ikeas. And let me tell you, for once in its existence, something in New Jersey is better than something in New York. There’s reasonable cell reception despite being in the middle of nowhere. There isn’t that godforsaken mysterious high-pitched beeping noise, which I can only assume is to deter dogs looking to buy low-quality furniture. At Ikea Elizabeth, the smell of pepperoni permeates the air. Music played instead of an endless loop of HGTV. The lines were short and they even had a self-checkout section. The cashiers were friendly, including in the returns section, and did not shout ominous threats at me like usual.

July 2, 2013
I was in and out of Ikea in less than two minutes today. I was the only person in the returns line. I know I will never have a greater day in my life than today, and so, after returning today’s purchase to my boss, I will shoot myself so that I might die happy.

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