Sunday, August 12, 2007

Oh happy day!

The new IKEA store just opened in Portland. For nearly a year the big sign has been taunting us every time we'd drive to the airport. Finally the big, blue box has landed and our community has been blessed with the miracle that is IKEA.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Big freakin' chain store comes to town, kills local Mom and Pop businesses, mass consumerism brings out the worst in people, the furniture is made of particle board, blah, blah, blah, blah. Sorry, but when it comes to IKEA my social conscience takes a nap. It's IKEA! Woo hoo! I just love IKEA.
Hey, I've been feigning an interest in cultural events in Seattle for years, just for an excuse to visit the Seattle store at least once a year. Now we have our very own.
I helped Ray furnish an apartment for the consulting company he worked for several years ago. We spent an entire day at the Chicago IKEA store. When we finally checked out as the store was closing I had lost my notebook with all my important phone numbers and client hours in it, my eyes were spinning and my feet and back were screaming for mercy. I still love IKEA.
We have been to the new Portland IKEA twice in the past week. It has been packed with happy Portlanders. See, here's the thing. IKEA stuff is good. And cheap. And beautifully designed. One of the things I bought this week is that milk foamer you see above. It cost less than $2. It works better than the steamer on the espresso machine. And it looks cool. I got bar stools for Emily and Cayo's house. (Actually solid wood—not particle board) They were easy to put together and really sturdy, with a nifty hand hole in the seat so you can easily pick them up. The IKEA catalog came in today's paper. I read it before I read the newspaper.
I expect to find everything I will ever need for the rest of my life at IKEA. The meatballs are good, too.


  1. I've visited Ikea once because it is about 250 miles away. We were specifically looking for a futon bed. I didn't have a good experience there, although I saw some merchandise that I thought was quite nice, well designed.

    Here's what happened: We wanted to look at the futon beds which were in the first department one comes to after going up the stairs (or escalader, I don't remember.) The futon beds sat very low to the ground which doesn't work with my slight leg disability, so they were out of the question.

    The store was packed with people. We had to literally get in line and follow the parade from department to department to get out of there. We did take some of the short cuts, but it didn't shorten the trip by much. We saw a sign saying down to an exit, so down a stairs we went, but that was a back exit, emergency only. So then we had to figure out how to get back in line and follow the parade around most of the first floor to FINALLY walk all the way through the ware house to FINALLY get out of there.

    I resented the captive audience approach.

    My daughter says that we didn't have to follow that parade, but we did have a pamphlet and we couldn't seem to find a way to buck the heavy crowd.

  2. And the $1.00 are good. Except they never cost a $1. We always ended up wandering the store afterwards. Once after breakfast friends spent $1500.00 on a sofa. Another time we spent $1000.00 on our kitchen island. So our $1 breakfasts ended up costing us $1000.00!

  3. I adore IKEA too. Good design, well priced, - can't beat it. I'm heading to the new one near me (New Haven, CT) on Wednesday and plan to have the meatballs while there, natch. The 08 catalog came yesterday - can't wait!

  4. Anonymous12:39 AM

    I'm an IKEA fan too. I've probably been to a dozen stores -- in four countries. The best part: we were able to add to the book case we bought in Virginia when we moved to Germany (Nürnburg store) and then modified it when we moved again (Mannheim area). I'd love to add a few more shelves now, but unfortunately, after 12 years they discontinued the design. Our couch takes massive amounts of abuse from the kids though, and after 5 years it's still holding up great. Emily and Cayo may want to know that absolutely EVERYONE in Europe with kids has at least one set of the colorful plastic kids' plates and cups -- they're great at home and on picnics and park outings as well (I suspect any American parents living within driving distance of an IKEA have the set as well).

  5. I have that milk frother... but doesn't it need batteries from IKEA? I neglected to buy batteries and I haven't been able to find a substitute in our junk drawer. (That's where we keep the batteries. Doesn't everyone?) Plus, I'm in love with my Bodum frother -- but it can only do one serving at a time. I bought the IKEA frother thinking I could do more milk if I had guests. Um, that's way more info than you needed from me.

    We also love love love the ginger crisp cookies that are also $1 a box.

  6. Anonymous11:48 AM

    I have not been yet, well, I have been out of town. Steph wants me to wait and go with her, but we can't coordinate so I think I am going by myself tomorrow. Maybe Mr C will come along. When we lived in NC, Steph and I used to drive to Virginia to go to IKEA. We would stay overnight and come back with the car full of goodies.

    Whe they finally opened one in the bay area, we couldn't wait to go. It was hysterical to see all the lookie loos who were just walking through, as if in a museum, and many wondering why they had bothered to come. I'm sure many went back to Walmart.

  7. yay IKEA...unfortunately, ours closed down - was in the entirely wrong neighborhood and just did not do well at all. I hope they try again close by...but for now I have to travel aways to check one out..and I don't get the catalog anymore -sniff, sniff-...I used to love poring over it! I got a camp bed there for 20 bucks (years ago!) that is the BEST camp bed...and feather beds...we've gotten several over the years...turns out our kids liked sleeping European-style with the feather beds instead of regular sheets and blankets.

    I am hungry for some meatballs now...with lingonberry jam and sour cream gravy and egg noodles...yummmmmmm

  8. Anonymous12:22 PM

    Yeah, I'm reeeeaaaaal happy for yuh. The closest IKEA has gotten to Nashville is that lately their catalog is being advertised on cable.....

    (HEY!! IKEA!!! Take a look at our demographics, will yuh?)

  9. Jer and I are gearing up to go soon. We need a new floor lamp, and I'm vacillating about replacing the generic student-era pine chest of drawers in the guest room with something a bit more dashing and less beat-up. I wonder when the PDX store is likely to be less crowded?