Recently we made our annual trek to IKEA to purchase our Christmas tree – contrary to yesterday’s post. I understand IKEA isn’t everybody’s cup of Glögg, but I enjoy the occasional foray into the madness that is a Saturday in the big yellow and blue building. I don’t want to relocate to Sweden, but IKEA is a little taste of their traditions that I like.
I know personally a number of people who will not go to IKEA mainly because of the method they use of herding you through every inch of the store to get to the exit, just in case you might pick up a dozen more items on the way. Following those light arrows on the floor can be very annoying if you have made all the purchases you want. There are, of course, emergency exits throughout the store, and if you know the short-cuts you can get out much faster.
Our visit often involves a bit of shopping, the traditional hotdogs and lingonberry drink, a package of cinnamon buns then the tree selection. But there have been several years when we have not gone into the commercial maelstrom, but merely enjoyed our feast, paid for the tree and gone outside to claim it. This was just such a year; upon entering the store my wife made her way to the food line while I approached an employee to pay for the tree. For the first time in all the years I have been doing this I was told I would have to wait in line to buy a tree.
I looked back into the area where the line ups formed and could not see the end for people with carts and buggies chock-a-block with items. You want me to go all the way back there and wait just to buy a tree, I asked her perplexed. She confirmed that she did indeed mean for me to do that. I explained that I had never waited in line, but would just ask an employee to process the purchase and give me the coupon and receipt. She told me those workers were wrong!
I made my way along the row of check-outs and tried my luck with another employee only to get the same response. I was now convinced it was not one person’s power trip, but a store-wide conspiracy. One that lacked even an iota of common sense – which is rich for a store with the motto “IKEA-Swedish for Common Sense”
Defeated I found a five items or less check-out that only had half a billion people in line and waited like a good customer to buy my tree. Just my luck, it was the same woman I had encountered originally from whom I bought the tree. It would have been so much simpler twenty minutes ago thought I.