Sunday, July 26, 2015

Swedish Walmart

"IKEA Frisco TX" by Rainchill - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons (Source)
Friday afternoon, The Missus Herself reminded me that we had some stuff which needed to be returned to its place of origin. This stuff was either the wrong stuff or stuff which had been purchased for a particular contingency but which was now excess to requirements. That is, it was no longer authorized on the Chez Sarge TO & E*.

Now the latter stuff consisted of: kennel, dog, heavy duty, two each. Back around the Fourth, The Nuke and The Sea Lawyer had planned a visit up to Little Rhody. Now you might recall that those two have a couple of pooches, Kodi and Bear. They are not small pups. They can ride up in the back of The Nuke's off-road vehicle (seats out) but once here they would need a kennel in which to chill out.

Who knew that dogs need "their space" from time to time?

At any rate, due to an illness (Kodi got sick, she's okay now) the trip was cancelled and we were left in possession of:  kennel, dog, heavy duty, two each. As we have felines who make their space wherever the heck they please, the kennels were excess to requirements and had to be returned.

Now the former item in the aforementioned stuff requiring return to its place of origin consisted of a bunch of bed curtains.

"Bed curtains Sarge? Who are you Ebenezer Scrooge?"

No, no, I'm not Scrooge and don't think big old heavy Victorian bed curtains. The ones we have (and which require replacement, due to having two felines who make their space wherever the heck they please) are lacy and light. They are in The WSO's old room on what a young daughter of a friend of ours refers to as "the princess bed."

At present those curtains now have the look of a tattered set of sails off an old schooner which has been through a blow in the North Atlantic in winter.

Okay, they're not that bad, not to mention which I need to throw in a nautical reference from time to time to keep the nautical readers of the blog amused.

As The Nuke likes to say, "Yeah Dad. You're real salty."

"Arrrrr and shiver me timbers." says I.

Anyhoo. The replacement sails, er curtains, were much too long for the bed we have. I would not have noticed but I'm a guy. We don't notice when curtains are tattered, too long or otherwise unserviceable. We also only see in primary colors and everything is either black or white in terms of "nuance." Subtlety is not our strong suit. At least many a female of my species has informed me of these "facts."

Which reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw once up in Vermont...

"All Men Are Idiots. And I Married Their King."

I found that greatly amusing, the three females of my tribe along for the ride looked at me as if I had just laughed at Newton's Third Law.

Apparently facts are just that, facts. Period. Full stop. Not to be laughed at, mocked or trifled with. And here I thought I was the king of the idiots.

Anyhoo, I see I've wandered off topic once again.

The curtains needed to be returned. I asked The Missus Herself where she had purchased them.


"We have an Ikea?"

"No. But there's one on the way to Boston."

"Boston? As in Massachusetts?"

"No, you great lump. Boston in Westphalia. Of course, Boston in Massachusetts."

Checked the map, and good googly-moogly, that Ikea is some forty miles from our permanent encampment.

"Hhhmm, I didn't know they sold curtains at Ikea..."

"Yes, it's kind of like a Swedish Walmart."

Well, it was the first time in my entire life that I had ever entered an Ikea. I was familiar with the store's purveying of "inexpensive" and hard to assemble furniture but had never actually been in one.

Upon arrival we wended our way to the Ikea parking garage and found a spot. We were almost backed into by some freaking loon who wanted to back his car into a space instead of just pulling into it like a normal person.

I didn't really get a good look but I'm betting he was driving a Volvo and wearing Earth Shoes. While my first instinct was to drive him before me and hear the lamentations of his women, The Missus Herself told me to "calm down, there's a space over there."

It's mortified I was, being deprived of my prey like that. But as the kids like to remind me, we don't live on the steppes back during the days of the Great Khan. If we did, they like to point out that I would probably be a lowly foot soldier. Made to march in camel dung and...

Digressed again, didn't I?

So we enter Swedish Walmart Ikea and The Missus Herself starts marching through the store. I was noticing the low ceilings, the lack of sight lines and the curious throngs of aging hipsters all gawking at the cheap inexpensive merchandise.

Now bear in mind, this was after we had returned the aforementioned curtains. My assumption was that m'lady was on the hunt for replacement curtains.

"No, you great goof. Flower pots. I need flower pots."

Not wanting to ask many questions I stayed in trail and followed her through the store. I was beginning to think we were lost and meandering through the store in hopes of somehow finding the Northwest Passage, er, I mean the way out.

Seeing a pillar with a cache of maps, I snatched one.

Swedish Walmart? More like the Cretan bloody labyrinth.

I half expected to encounter the Minotaur and was keeping my eyes open for something to use as a weapon.

Me at Ikea.
Actually: Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth by Edward Burne-Jones (Source)

My first trip to Ikea.

I'm rather hoping I'm not forced to repeat the experience any time soon.

Rather an odd place.

Yes, we bought flower pots. No, we didn't buy any curtains.

And there wasn't a meatball in the whole place.

Not that I could have found them even if there were.

*TO & E = Table of Organization and Equipment. For those of you who chose not to chase down that link and wade through The Acronym Page. I'm cool like that, those who want to chase the link can. Those who don't, well here you are. I don't always do this. I'm feeling accommodating today. (See what I did there, gave you a second chance to hit the link. Just in case you missed it up there.)


  1. I have similar experiences with Trader Joes---Old people with scraggly hair and Birkenstocks (with socks) everywhere.

    1. Hahaha!

      Birkenstocks with socks. It's like a uniform isn't it?

    2. at least at TJ's ya don't need a map..
      the fun part of going there is spotting the first timers

    3. People watching is a side benefit.

  2. Hahaha, great post Sarge. You're really in the zone today!

    It was already in the top ten on my "ain't gonna do it" list, but I've moved visiting ikea up a couple of spots. Thanks goodness I live in the hinterlands.

    Staying in trail reminds me of the two things a wingman is allowed to transmit. "Two's up" and "Lead, you're on fire."

    Regarding the man thing, I was recently the head meat burner at a community bbq. Having been handed a trash bag filled with excess meat buns, and finding no place to put it, I set it on the nice clean grass. I did not realize this was a hanging offense.


    1. Living in the hinterlands can be a good thing.

      Heh, buns on the grass. Don't ask me where my mind went. I'm not even sure.

    2. Actually there are three things the wingman is allowed to transmit. The third is: "I'll take the fat broad".

    3. Heh. I knew there was one missing!

  3. A hand held GPS would be useful in navigating an IKEA.

  4. I loved the thought of visiting IKEA. I'm not so sure I liked the actual experience. We don't have one around here (Central/North Florida Atlantic Coast - OK Daytona Beach area). I've been to the store (IKEA) twice. Once in Bezerkeley CA and once in Palo Alto CA. Both times I accomplished what I wanted to do in about fifteen minutes (get some DVD racks, blonde wood, needs to be assembled). The ladies, well, you can guess. The former store was about seventy miles from Santa Cruz (uber liberal habitat of my clan), the latter, in Palo Alto (home to Stanford where, in cahoots with UC Santa Cruz, they suck out the brains of our youth and replace them with liberal world views), about thirty miles distant. I liked looking at all of the stuff. But there were way too many projects there, waiting to hatch in the minds of the ladies. I guess the only thing I didn't care for was the fact that you can't get out of the place in any direct way without walking the designated path.
    I suspect having a store like this close by would be the same as it was for us when we got a "Marie Callendar's (?)" restaurant. or the "Red Lobster". We were excited, but it wore off quickly. They closed. Tough restaurant town, Santa Cruz.Both times I have gone to IKEA, they DID have meatballs. I wonder what has happened.

    1. It is one of those things which sounds good, but in actuality doesn't live up to the expectations.

      We got excited when a Red Lobster opened in Omaha. We went, as a New Englander I recognize good seafood. We never went back.

      Besides, we were in Omaha, land of excellent steaks. What were we thinking?

  5. I once had a couple of hours to kill in Sacramento.
    there wasn't enough time for a movie or nine holes, so I made my way to the Ikea for a look-see.
    I can only say that I was impressed with the choices.

    I hope, Sarge, the Ikea folks don't find that you've compared them to Walmart.
    I further hope that "The People Of Walmart" don't start shopping at Ikea.

    1. In 2010 GS and I made a cross- country journey.
      We stopped at Sydney, Nebraska for the only visit either of us has ever made to Cabela's
      I think she enjoyed it even more than I.

    2. Walmart in New England isn't that much different from Ikea (at least to me). Though the people in Ikea were perhaps "better" dressed. In that all of the colors matched and there were fewer holes.

    3. Cabela's. I've heard of those. Never been in one. Don't know if I ever will.

      Time will tell.

    4. When I were a lad Cabela's was a three-level building in downtown Sidney. Clothing upstairs, guns and gear on the mid level, mail order on the ground floor. By the time I was about 10 they had turned the Sioux Ordnance Depot into one of largest (perhaps the largest) mail order operations in the world. Their mass flow was astounding. I ran into Cabela's catalogs and customers all over the globe; always a "touch of home" (Sidney is 40 miles east of Kimball) as I went about my navy business of wrecking bars and conquering fair maidens. They didn't go big retail until the 90's. Their Sidney store is cool to visit but it's best to leave the ol' credit cards at home. I miss the old store. Miss a lot of olden stuff. On the other hand, you can get more better stuff quicker and cheaper from Amazon. I'd be lost without Amazon. I guess when olden doors close, newfangled doors open.

    5. Re: ...wrecking bars and conquering fair maidens...

      Sounds like one of my old career fields!

  6. Oddball that I am, I actually don't mind IKEA; that is to say that I understand where I'm going, and where the wife is going.

    The key to the upstairs is found to the center left: you'll see two marked pathways that I refer to as "Buster" (North) and "Blower" (South). One can bypass 80% of the upstairs, wind up in kids from "Blower", and be 100' from the dessert line in the cafe (lower right). The Marketplace (downstairs) has almost an exact layout, with the same egress paths available.

    IKEA is fun when you're shopping for actual furniture; taking down the aisle and bin numbers for the kits, then wandering through the self-serve warehouse is almost like the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, as we watch the aforementioned box of the Covenant be stored as just another Federally held curio in a sea of such treasures. Except you're looking for the treasure of your choice. Bringing a fedora and bull whip downstairs helps alleviate the lines, and set a mood. Just be gone before the police arrive.

    And a tray of cinnamon rolls from the take-home cafe (downstairs- directly across from the checkouts) and bag of meatballs (same area, in the freezer case) is salve a-plenty for the husband who got conned into the sortie.

    Remember these tips, and I think you'll find much more mirth on another go. And to bring this back to flygplans, remember: the Swedes might be odd ducks (as illustrated by their Walmart analogue), but boy, can they ever build airplanes. Drakon, Viggen, and Gripen are all different in their own sort of way, but each are mean feats of engineering within their respective generations. It's odd to think, but Viggen easily had the best GCI-FCS combination of its generation out of the gate. :)

    1. Ah, there you go. You accept your fate and embrace it.

      Concur, Saab has some excellent engineers. Here's a video I saw not long after the incident occurred. Pilot survived with minor injuries.

      Saab builds them tough!

  7. Ikea is the definition of we WILL sell you something... By the time you actually navigate the store, you're looking for water and nourishment... And carrying a ton of crap the SO has 'found'...

  8. Yeah, that's been my experience so far!

    1. I'm hoping it was a one time good deal.

      Though I doubt it...


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