My husband, God bless him, is a ham. He says things wholeheartedly without realizing they are clichés. He loves Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden more today than he did in 2001. He says sweet nothings to lay it on thick in front of my mom to get a laugh. Heck, he’s not a ham, he is SPAM. When we started dating, one of the things we realized we had in common was wanderlust. For me, it was expressed in pictures and moments that I could explain how I felt, for him it was in this proverb he has picked up, probably on www.deepthoughts.com. He would quote it to me, and I would try not to gag, ” A man travels the world in search of what he needs… and comes home to find it.”
Recently, it dawned on me…that maybe he was onto something. A slight edit here, and a revision there, and it’s something I can get behind. “A girl travels the world in search of what she needs and comes
home to IKEA to find it.” I LOVE IKEA. It’s not the marketing gimmicks and novelty goods. What gets me are three little things… the Swedish meatballs, chocolate spread, and the stuffed moose.
Let me just break this down : the meatballs. You have heard of them, you may have had them…they are an entrée at every IKEA daily. They are an institution. Actually they are institutional food, in the best way. You get meatballs in gravy with lingonberry sauce and mashed potatoes. On a normal day, I would never ever order this. I have leaned vegetarian my whole life, and the idea of eating institutional comfort food sort of makes me chuckle as I write this. But they are heavenly. Even Anouk loves them! The price is awesome. Coffee is free. And on weekdays, you get a kid’s meal for free, too. (Jay loves chicken fingers, so Anouk and I shared the “adult” food while he happily enjoyed his kid’s meal)
Do you love Nutella? Do you think you have done one better with the Trader Joe’s selection of spreads? Yeah, I thought those were good until I found IKEA had this Chocolate Spread: It is out of control. It’s Nutella with heath bar chunks in every bite. Spoonful after delicious spoonful for $3.99. YAAAAAAAAS!
And the Moose: I found this toy last year and gave it to my niece. I wanted one for myself. And then I had a baby. And now it is hers… He is hers. We call him Norvik… already. Once you feel this thing, and throw his floppy arms (or legs) around your neck, you will give him a name and have a hard time letting him go. He shames other soft toys…
Once I am in the door, it’s me that’s the ham. In some ways it’s a Wal-Mart, in other, very important ways, it is the pinnacle of what retail has become in the last 100 years. IKEA has managed to make a wonderland for consumers like myself, being able to not just imagine a place, but walk into little versions of homes we could want to live in. What a novelty. The cinnamon rolls, the textiles, the storage systems, the inventive kitchen tools…. all just a short drive away from home. I know I am not alone in it. I see the look on other women’s faces. I also can see the look in the face of their husbands….It looks familiar to me… It looks like my husband’s face. They are not into it. They see how a shopping basket can be filled from the trickle of meaningless $5 items here and there. They can see how one duvet can turn into a bedding set. They can see how once you get started you …can…make a day of it…. and I’m just thinking….this place is so smart.
I often think about getting out-of-town, getting out of the mundane and into an adventure. I usually want to tap out of the consumer-driven world in order to gain experience, not duvet covers…. but in the case of IKEA, they have made finding stuff for my family fun and delicious. They have made our homes… so familiar.
I’d love to meet you on twitter here.
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