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March 08, 2006: Missing the point

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For those of you who don't know yet, hold on to your seats. Because Sacramento has hit the big time. Yes, folks, we finally have our own Ikea. Be still all of our beating hearts.

I've been passing it on the way to work for months now, watching as the big blue and yellow box was put together and the signs hung and the parking lots striped. I remember when they built the one near Berkeley and how everyone was just so excited because oh boy, there was going to be an Ikea within driving distance, and I vaguely recall that they had to either put in a new off-ramp, or reroute traffic off the existing off-ramps so as to avoid any Ikea-related snarls on the nearby freeways because the masses would flock. And when the Sacramento one opened at the beginning of this month there were signs on the freeway, warning that traffic might be slow as you approached the exit for Ikea, because the masses, they would be a'flocking to this one too.

I've seen their stuff on their website and since I am not so much a fan of the minimilst holdover-from-the 70's style of furniture, I never bothered to go to the one in the Bay Area. It never seemed worth a special trip just to go to a furniture store. But now, we have one in Sacramento, and it is conveniently located right off the freeway, one exit before I turn to go to my office, and so tonight, on the way home from work, I was bored and pondering the lack of dinner choices and figuring that I really ought to go see what all the fuss was about, and feeling as if maybe it would be fun, just this once, to be part of the flocking masses, and I called Richard and instead of going directly home we instead met at Ikea and prepared ourselves for the Ikea experience.

It's a very large store, for those of you who've never been in one, and they start you off upstairs, and they give you maps, which is good because if you were looking for anything in particular instead of just aimlessly meandering, like we were, you would very quickly go ever so slightly insane if you did not have a map to direct you where to go. They've got tiny little 'rooms' set up here and there in each section of the store, showing how to incorporate their furniture and accessories into even the tiniest of apartment spaces, and that in itself was rather clever and useful. But the furniture itself? Eh. I was not impressed.

Or rather, maybe I am about 15 years too old to be impressed by Ikea. It is inexpensive, yes, and the sort of furniture one would expect to find in a college student's apartment, and if I was just starting out and desperately in need of some stuff that matched and didn't come from a relative's hand-me-downs or a garage sale, I could see the appeal. But I am not a college student and I am still not a fan of minimilist 70's style furniture, and so it just didn't do much for me.

We ate dinner there, because one doesn't get the chance to eat Swedish meatballs in a furniture store every day, and we found some plain glass drinking glasses down in the kitchen supplies section of the store, which I've been looking for for a while now. But then we went home and that was it, and I suspect that unless we suddenly find ourselves in the need for some cheap, boring bookshelves, we will not be going back any time soon.

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