I could be the last person in the US to discover the wonders of IKEA.
Yesterday, on a visit that went on for hours, I had my first astonishing experience at the Round Rock, Texas IKEA store. Thankfully they have a restaurant and café where I could take a break (or two) for rest and recovery before heading out again.
The store is so big (rumor has it that they are in the throes of expanding again!!) that one really does need to take advantage of the maps included on their Shopping List handout. Of course, I did not understand the IKEA shopping philosophy and made the mistake of first entering the Swedish food market and bistro, where they offer a fairly small assortment of imported beverages, condiments, snacks, frozen items and such. I settled on a jar of Sylt Flader & Apelsin, or Orange and Elderflower Marmalade, and thought I had completed a sensible shop. Beyond that space the self-service and check-out areas carry on in a well-organized and fluid manner.
As I headed out, I thought I’d take a quick peek in door number two: the Marketplace is an endless cavern of kitchenware, bed and bath décor, textiles, home organization and accessories. Then, on to the Showroom, another huge circuit in its own seamless maze. As I followed the signs and arrows from department to department, I felt as if I had not only set down on the Yellow Brick Road but I had entered the Land of Oz, never to return.
At one point, I began to wonder if I could go on, land-locked forever, and questioned whether I had become so completely desensitized that I lacked the ability to recognize the fear of being lost. What the heck, I had plenty of time, it was all amazing, and I was confident that food was not far away.
Everything is displayed with simplicity, functionality and organization in mind. The kitchen utensils, dishware and cabinetry are all beautiful, well-crafted, smart and affordable. If I was lost, I was o.k. with that, because I had just stumbled upon heaven, too.