I consider that we are lucky to have an IKEA store very close to where we live. If you don't have one, it's hard to describe what it's like. Just picture a multilevel Cub Scout blue-and-yellow store with furniture and home goods and outdoor furniture and kiddie furniture and cookware and plants and lamps and bulbs and a kiddie ballroom (no dancing, plenty of playing by those who have attained the height of 37" and are potty-trained) and a cafeteria where you can get enough Swedish meatballs to give you blåmärkes (bruises) on your knäet (knee) if they drop on you.
I guess our IKEA opened 25 years ago, and I still get lost in there. It's a-maze-ing! Do you know how certain restaurants deliberately keep it loud so that you don't feel like hanging around for a third cup of coffee and so more chitchat with your bizarre cousin from Illinois? Well, the goal of IKEA seems to be to keep you there for hours on end. I myself have missed several family functions and at least one orthopedic appointment because I could not find my way out of Home Organization to As-Is, because I always park near the 2 Hot Dogs and a Soda exit. Fortunately, in IKEA there are hundreds of real beds and fake TVs in case you want to spend the night.
Over in the Netherlands, lKEA has had to step in and tell the playful Dutch to stop playing hide-and-seek in its stores. Last summer, some Belgians decided to set up a massive game in one of their stores, and, as always, a great idea crossed a national border just like poutine is trying to do here, come down from Canada and get Americans to eat fries with gravy AND cheese curds. Over there where the tulips bloom and the windmills spin, over 63,000 people had signed up on Facebook to play at one of the chain's 13 Dutch locations.
Last summer, before the bigshots found out what was going on, a large group had a Big IKEA Hide and Seek in Wilrijk, Belgium, hiding in fridges, under stuffed toys, under the blue shopping bags and even in the storage space under beds.
“It’s hard to control,” Ikea Group spokeswoman Martina Smedberg said by phone. “We need to make sure people are safe in our stores and that’s hard to do if we don’t even know where they are.”
And disappointed Americans need not think they can still have a fun time with a childish activity in IKEA. Sure, you have to be over 37" to get in the ballroom, but you also have to be under 48".
Leaves me out!