August 19, 2004

Giving Minos A Run For His Money

Posted in General at 9:59 pm by Ian

Last weekend, I went to the Ikea store in Burbank, eventually escaping with a serving cart, four lamps, twenty glasses, and various sundry items. I had also intended to get a bookcase, but I could not find the one I wanted, and they were out of the inexpensive one that I saw and liked. By that time, though, it was the least of my worries.

When you enter the store, you ascend an escalator to the showroom, passing various bits of furniture attached to the walls, designed to entice you to… stand still, I suppose. I mean, it’s not like you’re going to go down the escalator. (Even when you get to the top. There’s no down escalator, only a long staircase down.) At the top of the escalator is there are pieces of paper that appear to be maps, and are, technically, much in the same way that one of those wooden cut-outs of the states that four-year-olds lose from their puzzles are: They both define the outer boundaries while giving away nothing of the mysteries within. There are also golf pencils and paper measuring tapes.

The showroom is made up of many fake rooms, all displaying the wares Ikea has to offer. As I wandered through this showroom, I became amazed by the fact that all of Ikea’s designs are either very similar, or I was lost. When I found the top of the escalator for the third time, I pinpointed it.

See, the map that they had given me did not include the hundreds of walls and rooms that were added to make it seem like you were walking through an enormous mansion owned by a rather frugal gentleman with odd tastes in upholstry. Even worse, you couldn’t look up to the ceiling to see the edges of the room because there were fake ceilings in many of the fake rooms. So I wandered at random for the next while, until I finally found the kitchenry area. I found some glasses that I liked. They are, for those who are interested, nearly exactly like the ones that Dad and Peg have. For those of you who haven’t seen their glasses, imagine a crystalline cylinder with one closed end. I bought a bunch, and also some smaller ones of the same variety. Eventually, that is. I couldn’t get them then, because I still had to find the bookshelf that wasn’t there. And a table/counter/cart thing for my kitchen. I eventually found the cart thing, of which there was only one remaining, and in the process picked up some lights. Two with little grippy clamps to go above my sink so I don’t have to cut food in the dark, and some table lamps so that I can stop reading by flashlight before I go to sleep.

It occurred to me at some point that I should get a cart, which I did after only about twenty minutes of wandering aimlessly. Once I had gotten it, however, I was that much slower, and I knew that I had to find a more efficient way to navigate. I settled on the following:

1. Leave my cart by the picture frames.
2. Locate an Ikea employee.
3. Ask said employee where item x was.
4. Try, desperately, to listen to all the twists and turns that said route entails.
5. Fail. Miserably.
6. Walk in the direction indicated until I can no longer see the employee.
Repeat steps 2 through 6 until I find my item, and then repeat step 2.
7. Ask said employee how to get back to the picture frames.

Using this method, I managed to round up the stuff I wanted in just under forty minutes!


  1. JT said,

    Congratulations on the new stuff! Now we’ll be waiting for you to hit a midlife crisis around 30, blow up your own condo, and start fighting yourself in bar parking lots before building your army of minions of like-minded non-individuals.

  2. Dan said,

    I’ve only been to Ikea once (in Berkeley) but it only took once to realize that it’s not that you intend to spend all day in the store, it’s that they designed it so you can’t get out. Las Vegas casinos are easier to navigate out of than Ikea is.

  3. Evan said,

    The one in West Covina is like that too. It’s awe inspiring, how much…stuff… there is. That one has arrows on the floor though that eventually point to the way out. Eventually.
    Hey, when you come to visit the liposuction clinics down here, lemme know. We should have some dinner. But not at the liposuction clinics, somewhere good.

  4. Ian said,

    Is that a fat joke? I don’t get it. :confused:

  5. Ethan said,

    next time, the thing to do is hook up with one of the evil king’s daughters so she’ll give you a ball of string that she got from the architect of the store that you can tie to the door and follow your way back out when you’re done shopping. At least, that’s if you’re using Theseus as a role model. I love that no one thought of the string trick before that…

  6. Nikhil said,

    It’s a continuation of the Fight Club joke.

  7. Ian said,


  8. Evan said,

    Thanks Nikhil. I think Ian may need to spend some time on a porch now, proving his worthiness. How can one miss so obvious a reference? It’s not like you were distracted by lye burns…

  9. Lisa said,

    I think someone should totally do the Theseus thing. It’d be hilarious – I wonder how long they’d let you wander?

    And it would make a statement.

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