Monday, July 10, 2017

Why Taking All of Your Kids to IKEA Is Kind of a Disaster

Let's talk about IKEA. Actually, let's just call it Ikea, because I don't want to be yelling at you the whole time.

I've been to Ikea exactly once in my life before and thought it was pretty cool. That was before I had kids.

After kids, Ikea is pretty much the worst.

Spoiler alert: all 9 of us made it out alive.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

It was Phillip, my mom, the kids, and I. You'd think with a 1:2 ratio we'd be fine wrangling all 6 kids in Ikea for a few hours. You'd be wrong.

My first clue was on the way in from the parking garage. We needed to go up to the second floor, and my older kids begged to take the escalator. We've had a baby in a stroller for their entire lives and never get to ride the escalator, so I get it.

"I have to take the elevator," I told them. "We're going to the second floor, meet us there."

After they disappeared up the escalator, we discovered the elevator only went up to the first floor. We got out and looked around for another elevator to take us to the second floor, but I got distracted: the supervised play area where we planned to drop our 3- and 5-year-old was right here. On the first floor.

I stood outside Småland (that's what it's called, isn't that cute?) for a minute, wondering what to do. We needed to drop off the 5-year-old, but she was waiting for us with her siblings on the next floor.

My mom saw an escalator, volunteered to run up and get her, then bring her back down. Except there was no down escalator. Ikea only wants to funnel people through its showrooms. Ikea does not want you to backtrack. Down escalators are not part of Ikea's plans.

This was not good. We hadn't even made it into the store yet, and our family had already gotten separated and the 3-year-old was complaining about how bored he was.

(In retrospect I realize one of us could've taken the elevator up to the second floor, grabbed the kids, and taken the elevator back down to the first floor, but we weren't thinking clearly. No one thinks clearly in Ikea. They spray something in the air so that even though you just came to browse, you get disoriented and end up purchasing a Söderhamn living room set with ottoman.)

Spoiler alert: all 9 of us made it out alive.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

By the time my mom finally guided the kids through the entire store and made her way back to the first floor, we'd discovered that Småland was already full and we couldn't even drop the kids off, anyway.

Not ideal, but at least we were all together again, so we headed for the second floor showroom.

Ikea is kind of an experience, and I guess we hadn’t prepared the kids for what we were there to see and do. My 9-year-old was bored out of his mind and couldn't figure out why we drove all that way just to look at one big room decorated like lots of little rooms in a house. It was like a museum filled with absolutely nothing of interest.

Although he did like the light fixture that looked like the Death Star.

Spoiler alert: all 9 of us made it out alive.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

The baby was content in his stroller for about one nanosecond, and then after that it just slowed me down as I chased after him. He wanted to touch everything in the showroom. He made it a personal goal to smack all the big screen TVs. He got particularly attached to a bear skin rug in one of the rooms and ran back and forth across it until we had to drag him away kicking and screaming.

When he was toddling wildly through the aisles and someone accidentally knocked him over with her cart, I wanted to thank her because I hoped he would stop careening around like an insane person now.

He didn't.

The two kids we'd planned to drop off at Småland were terribly bored. But only for a few minutes. Then they remembered how much they love jumping on, tumbling off of, and removing all the cushions from our couches at home  and lucky them, they were in a gigantic room full of sofas as far as the eye can see.

Assuming that for each couch I yelled at them to take their shoes off the cushions and get down from there before they break something 3-4 times, I was exhausted before we even got to the kitchen section.

By now, the kids were starting to feel this Ikea thing and were pretty into the experience. They were running around opening all the cabinets and looking in all the refrigerators. Okay, maybe they were just hungry. We promised them Swedish meatballs if we just got through the showroom without breaking anything.

Something that made me feel strangely better was noticing the huge bite taken out of a display loaf of bread on one counter. It wasn't one of my kids (this time,) but it was comforting to know I wasn't the first parent to have walked this road.

Spoiler alert: all 9 of us made it out alive.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Someone else was apparently hungry here, too.

We'd chosen to walk through the second floor showroom because it ended up in the children’s area, and we thought that might be a little more interesting for the kids. And was it ever.

They loved the huge metal bins full of oversized plush versions of random objects.

Spoiler alert: all 9 of us made it out alive.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

When we pried them away from there, my daughter discovered this chair with a shade you could pull down and voilà: your very own isolation chamber!

Spoiler alert: all 9 of us made it out alive.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
We call this "the introvert chair." And now we all want one.

Finally, we got through the showroom and ended up in the Ikea restaurant. With a total of 9 people it took a little while to assemble everyone’s order. At this point I was pretty sure that Ikea was not built for families of our caliber, but I changed my mind when I fit all of our food on this ingenius little cart to take it to our table.

Spoiler alert: all 9 of us made it out alive.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
I know these are to use in the restaurant, but does IKEA sell these for home use?

As most of us ate our meatballs
and my 5-year-old savored her chicken tenders (which she excitedly informed me were “even better than chicken nuggets!”) I noticed a sign on the table saying that the price of your meal gets deducted from your bill if you buy $100 worth of Idea merchandise.

At first I thought Ikea was not a place for big families like ours, but I was wrong: we're going to need new couches in the near future, and if all 8 of us go to the cafeteria afterward I'm pretty sure they are going to end up costing about $30.

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8 comments:

  1. I went to ikea twice, once I waited in the at with my kids and made my husband go find what we were looking for, because the first time ended up a little overwhelming and that was with 2 kids

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  2. Hahaha the introvert chair!!! I need that!

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    1. I heard that schools have them for kids with sensory issues. But I see a bigger market than that.

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  3. IKEA, I am not yelling, but it's too amazing not to use capitals. I LOVE this place. We actually go visit the furniture we are preparing to buy. It's a process. You go, look at everything. Take a break in one of the "living rooms" and watch the penguin movie. it's always penguins on. You take pictures of everything you think you want because there is no way you will ever remember it. Then you wait for it to go on sale. Naturally. (we won't talk about the horror of when you bring it home and have to put it together) Then if you have a family member card, you get a free latte. Ok, 2.
    BUT...we have found out that the delivery charge for one item and the delivery charge for many items is the same. So makes more sense to get all the things. We did find a spoontula that no one should live without. Is it a spoon? Is it a spatula? No one knows. But it's AWESOME and it was the best 1.99 we ever spent. And yes my husband does know that having a wife that finds a trip to Ikea were we spend 2 bucks and get free coffee is a wondrous thing. Not as wondrous as the spoontula, but what is?

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    1. I kind of love the word 'spoontula.' I think it's a way cool place, but maybe we'll try again with less kids. Or when they're older.

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  4. Ikea was a wasteland of horror for me. They don't have any electric scooters!! So many more seniors would go! I guess their marketing niche is young people, who love walking 10 miles to get anywhere in their store...

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    1. And people who know how to pronounce words like 'frykantig.'

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  5. I've actually never been in an IKEA store. My kids are older now but I know the feeling of trying to wrangle six kids in a store and keeping them entertained. I totally want one of those introverted chairs and food trays for my home!

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