What unique quality does IKEA possess that separates it from the rest of the big box stores? Why is it women love the place, but guys would rather stay home and do the laundry than pass beneath the big blue and yellow sign?
Being as analytical as I am, I think I finally figured it out. Kind of.
First of all, not all men are do-it-yourselfers. While finding a man who confesses he’s lacking in that particular area may be challenging, they do exist. In fact, there are closets stuffed full of them all across our nation. I, of course, do not fall in that category, but I have a friend who does.
My friend assures me getting dragged from the sanctity of one’s home, only to be thrust into a “some assembly required” environment poses a threat to his manhood. After all, he reasons, we’re supposed to be able to bolt things together. We’re guys, right? I tend to agree.
As I discovered on my first trip into the place, the store layout is a big problem. The vastness overwhelmed me and, from my vantage point, everything looked the same. Which way do I turn? Recognizing my dumbstruck expression, my wife sidled up to me and replied, “Stick with me. I don’t want you getting lost.”
Get lost, indeed. I found the way here, didn’t I? Being too mature to make a big scene over a little thing like this, I decided quietly proving her wrong was really my best option.
“I’ll catch up with you in a bit,” I replied. “I want to look at some stuff over there.”
“It’s a surprise. I’ll see you at the checkout.”
Number one on my agenda was to see if they gave out free food, like they do in Costco. No luck. I then looked around for navigational landmarks, just in case. Everywhere I turned I encountered rooms with similar looking furniture, fake TVs and imitation books. No biggie, I would find the checkout and wait there.
After several minutes of aimless wandering, I realized I had been going against the flow of traffic. That struck an odd chord. The flow of traffic? In a store? Apparently IKEA controls foot traffic by painting lines and arrows on the floor; the only thing missing is the cattle prod. So what happens if you step outside the lines? In the interest of research, I gave it a try.
And got lost.
Let’s face it; men hate asking directions. It leaves the impression we don’t know where we’re going. I thought the whole purpose of building a store was to get people to the cash register. But what if you can’t find it?
I checked my watch. Fifteen minutes elapsed since I struck out on my own, and I still had no idea which direction to take to find the elusive checkout. I felt like a lab rat in a maze looking for that big hunk of cheese. Should I swallow my pride and ask for help, or stick it out and run the risk of having my wife come and rescue me? As I wrestled with my options, God sent me an angel.
“OK, hon, I’m finished here. I’m just heading to the checkout, so I’ll meet you at the car in five minutes.”
I didn’t think it appropriate to hug a stranger, so I simply followed her to freedom.
Since that time, whenever I hear of a missing person I resist the urge to call their families and ask, “Have you checked IKEA?”
I am much more selective in my shopping excursions now. In fact, my wife is at IKEA at this moment, looking for a lamp. I opted to stay home.
Now, where did I put that fabric softener?
“IKEA Store in Queenstown, Singapore” © Calvin Teo. Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.
“IKEA” IKEA Lovers @ flickr. Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.
“IMG_0444” Teddy Song @ flickr. Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.