The Five People You Meet in IKEA


We’ve had too many funerals to attend as of late. This got me thinking about the book, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” which made my twisted mind start thinking of whom one might meet in hell. This triggered me to reflect upon my recent trip to IKEA (which could definitely be interpreted as some sort of retail hell.) Which THEN got me thinking about the people who shop at IKEA. See, I had a lot of time to ponder this while waiting in an unnecessarily long line a while back. (See also my mean tweet @suburbanstylist) There is most definitely a way to break this down. So, with my sincere apologies to Mitch Albom I present to you, “The Five People You Meet in IKEA.”


The Unrested, Normalcy-Craving New Mother:

You know her. You’ve seen her. You just might be her. She’s got a stroller full of shit and she’s hellbent on spending the day like a “normal person” wandering around this vast Swedish Wonderland. She’s hoping the colorful sights arranged in this cinderblock monstrosity will keep her child engaged while she shops for a nice pint-sized plastic table or the perfect playroom storage system. If she’s lucky, her kids are old enough to spend some time in Smalland (PURE BLISS.) She stays until she’s out of goldfish crackers and apple juice – because kids don’t like beverages made with Lingonberry. She’ll be back again next week.


The Mature Set:

If you haven’t seen this crowd, it’s because you haven’t been to IKEA before dawn. Well not quite THAT early. But the Mature Set makes it a point to get there right when the big, yellow door starts rotating. Free coffee! I’m not sure they buy anything during their visit, but they love to congregate in the restaurant…most likely day after day, after day. I’m not sure they appreciate the furniture’s aesthetic, but they do love the coffee.


The Foodie:

They’ve come for the meatballs. They’re there for the glogg . They hit the Swedish supermarket on a mission. Sure, they most likely have an appreciation for the minimalist modern design, but when it comes to IKEA, they’re all about the grub. They pass on the 50 cent hotdogs and I’m praying they pass on the weird, little tubes of crab paste (Good God – what in THE hell is that stuff?) They sure do love that Swedish cuisine. If the shopping trip allows, they might run upstairs for full-bore-sit-down-meatballs with sauce AND a side of lingonberries before they go.


The Hipster:

Isn’t there always a hipster of some sort? The Hipster hails from the nearest metropolis with his U-Haul trailer in tow. The Hipster is there to furnish his sweet, city loft with all things cool and contemporary. He cares not, that the miniature, white “couchlette” is impractical and unfortable because it looks freakin’ cool. He spends his “IKEA Fund” on only what he needs and saves the rest of his money for his knit beanie and horn-rimmed glasses collection. He hates the suburbs but makes the trek in the name of having a “sweet pad.”


The Pro:

Perhaps the pro harbors a little bit of all these folks. The Pro has been to The Mothership enough to know what’s worth the pain and aguish over the assembly directions featuring only a mute, little dude with a big nose. The Pro starts at the top of the store and works her way down. The Pro knows the Billy bookcase system is the bomb. The Pro NEVER buys the flatware. The Pro knows to bring her own bags and to avoid this place on the weekends. The Pro knows the Poang chair is an affordable, amazing piece of art. The Pro is deserving of the $1 soft-serve at the end of the trip. The Pro knows how to navigate IKEA.

PS: I’m The Pro ; )

Spill. Now. Do you love the big, blue box or loathe it? Are you a flat-pack junkie or do you think IKEA was designed by Swedish terrorists to make your husband freak-out and run screaming out of the store. These are the things I need to know. 

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