Sunday, August 1, 2010


Dear Ikea,
Ah, Ikea, Ikea, Ikea. Where do I start?
Okay, those pert little handrails I noticed today, just at the right height for a child? Good one, Ikea. You made me smile. And then you had to post a sign next to said handrail, saying something like "See? We care about our little ones!" Which made me narrow my eyes. What are you trying to sell me, now, Ikea, now that you've become my child's caregiver? Rainbow-pack plastic tableware? Fabric with numbers scrawled on it? Those humongous blue bags for only $0.50? And throw in a new bedroom set, now that we're here? Only $1,099--and real wood!

The first time we met, I was appalled. It was like Vegas, except for furniture. I mean, how was I supposed to leave the place? What time was it anyway? The tiny, cheap votive candles are calling to me, saying, spend! spend! Surely you'll use 100 of us! I turned in circles, found an exit, and skedaddled, hands empty.

I didn't come back for years.

Then I had children.

I started noticing the perfect, child-sized tables, the metal cookware, the bright beads of the abacus, the red-legged easel. Any questions regarding said items brought this mantra in response: I-kee-ahh. I-kee-ah.
I shuddered. I considered. I got in my car.
I bought things.

Now, every time I return, I find more to love, and more to hate. Oh, the crowds of consumers, heaping yet another picture frame on their carts. The siren call of cheap, well-designed goods. The eye for detail, coupled with that seductive price. The outfitting of our new rental for much less than I thought.
I-kee-ah. I-kee-ah.
Soon you will be asking to return home with me in greater quantities, unless I resist. Do I really need new kitchen towels? Shelves? Fabric printed with primary-colored flowers?
So don't be appealing to my children, Ikea. Not fair. Not fair at all.

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