A Bloomington Writer Just Killed Our Ikea Buzz

But only for a minute.

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Some of us are bleeding blue and gold these days not for the Pacers, but for the Fishers Ikea debut growing closer with every passing moment, promising meatballs and Poang chairs whenever we want them. But then along came Bethy Squires, a very talented writer with the very good idea of spending a full day in the country’s largest Ikea store to see what would happen. Damn it, Bethy. We want our naivetit back.

Squires grew up in Bloomington and attended Earlham College, then moved to Los Angeles, where she works on TV Land’s satirical sketch comedy Throwing Shade, if her Twitter bio is accurate. Her essay on Curbed.com, “Journey Into the Heart of Ikea,” which she reported at the Burbank store, shows off her flair in the first paragraph. “I chose a Saturday, the day the lord set aside for furniture shopping,” she explains. “I wanted to see all the couch-inspired fights, document every umlaut, and figure out how the parking attendants don’t die from smoke inhalation.” She actually did tally the umlauts she encountered (like this—10 a.m. umlauts: 11), as well as fights.

Evidently couples quarrel a lot while shopping for Ikea products. Squires offers links for proof. Great. Enthusiasm level: subdued.

It’s not like we haven’t been to Ikea before, having made dozens of the West Chester Ikea/Jungle Jim’s combo runs. But Squires makes us see the Swedish furniture universe anew, and vividly. “There’s a scene in Sartre’s Nausea where the protagonist realizes that every leaf on a chestnut tree is as real as him. His mind buckles as he comprehends his insignificance compared to all those leaves. Will looking at approximately 200,000 scented votive candles similarly tear my mind asunder?”

Ikea
Ikea Docksta table

I remember how a worker in West Chester appeared out of nowhere to help me with a heavy, flat-packed Docksta table recently, and scoring a $20 whimsically printed chair cushion on clearance, and I’m still hopeful. After all, that’s only one votive for every four people in Indianapolis.

Two to four Burbank cops post up at the entrance on weekends, Squires discovers. Will Fishers have to spend tax dollars to maintain order at Ikea? It seems like a waste of money. You could buy 200 Jansjo floor lamps for what we’d pay those officers. Enthusiasm level: fading.

Squires notices a prop “dream jar” in an apartment setup, but it’s empty. She starts to see the store’s neutral color palette as “dryer lint.”  Maybe she’s right. Is gray furniture joyless?

In exhaustion (at least seven trips through the showroom), she collapses onto a Kivit sofa. Oh, the Kivit! This is a boxy three-cushion couch that feels sturdier than you’d expect from Ikea. I almost bought one recently, in Hillared dark blue. Enthusiasm level: über freaking out! Stuff it, Squires! We will not be disillusioned before the first bag in Fishers is uncrinkled.

Ikea forever!

 

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