Iv’e never been to Disney World but this Sunday I went to Ikea. On the way home from preaching at my boy Noel’s church in NC, I made a not so quick trip to Ikea in Charlotte to pick up some chairs for our newly renovated headquarters. Someone should have told me not to go alone, without a plan, and before doing any recon. Someone who loves me could have told me to wear sneakers not dress shoes. One of my 86 friends on Facebook could have offered me their taser to ward off the family of fours aimlessly wandering the skinny aisles four wide like 10 billion other people weren’t shopping at the same time. Imagine if a Wal-Mart parking lot was full of Saab’s with ski racks. That’s a Sunday at Ikea in Charlotte. The free meal (you gotta spend $100 shopping) was necessary after the walk from my parking spot which I think was in Greensboro. After disposing of the 1/2 rack of baby back ribs, cornbread, and fries I wandered downstairs to find the chair section. But first I needed a shopping cart. Of the four options, I picked the one that most resembled the carts in the rest of America. Bad choice. Ikea carts may look normal but they’re not because all four wheels turn, at the same time, in the same direction, usually towards a little kid, or a display of wine glasses. If I had my knee brace, high-tops, and muscles the cart would have been fine.
My leather soled lace ups made me look like I was rolling skating, for the first time ever. This was with an empty cart. But like being lost and not asking for directions, I humbly accepted the devil shopping cart as a challenge and determined that I wasn’t going to look like I didn’t have it together, or that it was my first pilgrimage to hipster heaven. Bad choice. I don’t think I have pectoral muscles so I’m blaming the soreness in my chest right now on a cracked rib. I bounced off every person, laminate table top, eclectic lamp, chic bookshelf, and modish framed print within five feet of me and the devil cart.
I found the chairs on aisle 18 an hour after arriving. On the way there I picked up two feathery pillows that I didn’t know I needed until I saw them, a glass canister that was so cheap I had to honor it by taking it home, and two red trash cans to match my chairs. If I wasn’t being chased by two moms for hit and runs on their three year olds with my devil cart, I might have found some more treasures.
Ikea is selling a lifestyle accented by furniture. Like Trader Joes, Starbucks, and Whole Foods the product is almost secondary to the experience of shopping for it. I’ve never seen a TV commercial for any of these retailers, but often I do hear people breathlessly describe how much they “loooove” shopping at their stores. I don’t “loooove” shopping at Ikea, yet, but the chairs are perfect.