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Posts Tagged ‘IKEA’

  1. The Mini Refrigerator that Turned into a Giant Headache: Part 1

    June 25, 2017 by Diane

    My mini refrigerator died. It had survived thirteen years, which in refrigerator years is, like, fifty, but after this last heat wave, or my five-millionth defrosting job, it went to the happy junk yard in the sky.

    I always time my defrosting duties for when my landlady is out of town, so I can store all my perishables in her full-bodied refrigerator. She was in Reno until Saturday. My mini fridge died on Friday. I had to get a new mini fridge pronto before my landlady came home with a Costco-sized load of groceries. That left me twenty-four hours to get my food out of her refrigerator. So on a day I normally work my second job because my first job doesn’t pay all the bills, I went hunting for a new refrigerator that wasn’t in the budget.

    I scoured the internet for brands, and read reviews. Armed with a list of possible candidates, I got in my car.

    First, I headed to Costco. I walked the entire store and found zero mini fridges. I also found zero food demonstrators, so I had zero sustenance for my epic journey through Costco.

    Next up: Walmart. I loathe Walmart only slightly less than I loathe IKEA, mainly because the people who work in Walmart seem profoundly unhappy, and none of them speak my native language, the Queen’s English. I traipsed hither and yon looking for mini refrigerators, and finally spied the empty shelves where once they stood.

    I looked around for a helper.

    “Excuse me,” I said to a young man wearing a blue Walmart smock. “Do you have any mini refrigerators in stock?”



    “Si. Here.” He directed me to the empty shelves and we stood side by side gazing at them.

    “Are there any in back-stock?” I wondered aloud.



    I drove across the street to Target.

    I spotted a young woman wearing the Target colors: a red top and khaki pants, and asked where I might find the mini fridges.

    “The kitchen section, if we’ve got any,” she said.

    I walked five miles looking for refrigerators that didn’t exist. First, to the kitchen section, where I found shelf labels, but no actual mini fridges. I hunted for a helper. There are no helpers in Target. There are shoppers wearing red tops and khaki pants who have no idea what’s in back-stock, but no Target employees walking purposefully, or even sauntering, down the aisles. I know this, because I walked up and down every aisle until I was at the front of the store again, asking one of the cashiers for help in the kitchen section. She pointed me to a guy with a walkie-talkie who promised to help, and then promptly disappeared. I asked another cashier who pointed me to guest services, where walkie-talkie-guy was chit-chatting with an employee. “I’m on it,” he said when he noticed me, and promptly disappeared. I asked another…I’ll cut to the chase. Somebody finally found a mini refrigerator, I paid for it, and a beefy fellow wrestled it into the back seat of my Corolla.

    I drove home.

    Dare I tell you what happened next?

    Remember, I was under deadline. My landlady was packing to come home. She would undoubtedly stock up on food before arriving. I had less than 24 hours to get my new fridge into my cottage, out of the box, allow four hours for it to stand upright before plugging it in because that’s what the directions say, clean it, turn it on, and get it to the proper safe food temperature which takes, oh, twelve hours.

    I decided to get that refrigerator out of the car by myself.

    Granted, this was a mini version, and half my height, but it was twice my weight, or what felt like twice my weight after pushing and pulling and shoving and angling and using forceps to get the dang thing out without breaking my car door. This, I imagined, is what it feels like to give birth. Without the mess.

    I dragged it over uneven pavement to my back door, heaved it over the doorstep, and rocked it down the hall. I clipped the packing straps in two, and started cutting the sides of the box with an Exacto knife before realizing I could lift the box off its base, wrangle the fridge off the styrofoam, and push it into position.


    I hunkered down and opened the small door.

    The photo on the outside of the box showed a variety of food filling the shelves, one item being a jar of Mayonnaise. I should have realized…the jar was Barbie-doll size. Upon closer inspection of said photo, the Mayonnaise jar was no bigger than the Yoplait yogurt crammed next to it.

    This refrigerator had midget shelves.

    The freezer? Huge!

    Obviously, this mini fridge was designed for someone who lived in a man-cave subsisting on frozen dinners and a single stalk of celery.

    I’m a vegan.

    I need a crisper that’s bigger than a wallet.

    I needed to get that refrigerator back in its box, down the hallway, over the uneven pavement, into my car, and returned to Target in exchange for another refrigerator at some other store which, hopefully, had something in stock.

    The clock was ticking.

    I got to work.

    …to be continued.

  2. Heading to IKEA? Bring a Map and a Compass

    February 5, 2017 by Diane

    man box prefabricated parts designer
    I needed a new set of Pyrex. My old set broke in the kitchen sink because my trigger finger acts up at times, and things slip from my grasp. I had leftovers to freeze, and nothing to freeze them in, so I did the smart thing.

    I headed to IKEA.

    I’d heard they sell Pyrex, or something like Pyrex, cheap.

    I should have stayed home and glued the old set back together.

    In case you’ve never been to IKEA (and trust me, you never want to), let me enlighten you on the IKEA experience.

    First, the parking garage.

    If you enjoy driving around a concrete maze following signs that point to an entrance which never actually materializes, then you’ll love the parking garage at IKEA. The entrance, I concluded after twenty minutes of driving deeper and deeper into the bowels of the garage, is a mirage. Or a rumor. There is no entrance to IKEA. I was ready to follow the exit signs instead, exits leading NOWHERE, I might add, when lo and behold I spied a bank of glass windows, and what looked like an escalator, and people going up.

    At last, I had arrived.


    Miraculously, I found a parking spot nearby, before I lost sight of the entrance altogether. The parking spot may have been a loading zone. Or slotted for emergency vehicles. No matter. I calculated that I’d be in and out of the store in twenty minutes. No harm, no foul.

    Little did I know.

    Little did I know what awaited me inside the hell known as IKEA.

    I took the elevator. It was steps from my car, and seemed like a quick way in and out of the building. So I pushed the button to call it forth.

    And waited.

    And waited.

    Finally, the doors opened.

    A man emerged, pushing a flatbed longer than the New Jersey Turnpike, loaded with boxes and lumber and some kid riding on the back. Next was a woman with a modest-sized cart the size of a city block. A third cart, loaded so high I couldn’t make out whether there was a man or woman pushing it, nearly ran me over. I began to wonder about the size of the elevator, when at last it was empty.

    I got on, with a geeky-looking man. “Which button do I push?” I asked. He pointed to the one labeled “Main Floor/Showroom.” Up we went.

    The doors opened. I followed a line of people and found myself on an escalator, and stepped into what appeared to be a gigantic dollhouse.

    The Showroom.

    The Showroom is a series of model rooms, furnished with IKEA chairs and tables and bookcases and beds and couches and paraphernalia, made to look like real rooms in real homes in real neighborhoods. The Showroom is a fun place to browse.

    For about sixty seconds.

    After ten minutes of living rooms, it’s bedrooms. Then bathrooms. Then kitchens, kids’ rooms, family rooms, dining rooms, guest rooms, closets, cupboards, and IT NEVER ENDS! On and on it goes, a maze of showrooms, and there’s a fat guy in sweatpants lounging on a red couch looking dazed. In one of the fake bedrooms, I saw a man wearing pajama bottoms. I think he had moved in.

    The scary thing is, there’s no way out. You’re forced to follow the arrows which go left, then right, then left again, then right, then left, and left again, and right, and right again, and after thirty minutes of traipsing through The Showroom, everyone is shuffling like zombies, pushing big empty carts.

    And then it’s The Marketplace.

    The Marketplace is where you fill your big empty carts. By this time, you’ve been brainwashed into believing you actually need everything you’ve seen in those model showrooms, so you start grabbing. Wooden hangers, eight to a bundle, $4.99. A bamboo cutting board, $7.99. Aha! Pyrex! I loaded up. Sheets. Pillows. Lamps. A cart would have been handy.

    Staggering around, I looked for the registers. I asked a young fellow wearing a yellow IKEA shirt.

    “Take the shortcut,” he said, pointing the way.


    The shortcut led through a vast warehouse of cardboard boxes containing ready-to-assemble IKEA furniture designed to drive a sane person squirrelly. To find the right box you need to consult a computer screen, follow a map, and climb ten stories to balance something the size of Trump Tower on your shoulders as you make your way down the ladder to your cart.

    I soldiered on, rounded a corner, and saw lines so long I knew I had found the registers. Undeterred, I stood at the end of what appeared to be the shortest line.

    And waited.

    And waited.

    The woman in front of me read Chinese on her smartphone.

    The man behind me napped on a pile of lumber.

    A kid jumped up and down on a mattress.

    We moved forward an inch.

    I thought about the book in my car, the one I read at stoplights. It would have been handy to have reading material to pass the time. But alas, the only reading material I had was the Chinese text on the smartphone, and the signs that displayed the food one could purchase beyond the registers. A cinnamon bun for a dollar. A hot dog for seventy-five cents. A Coca-Cola for fifty cents.

    We moved forward half an inch.

    I eyed other lines. Thought of switching. And then I counted heads. There were more heads in the other lines than in my line, and in my line there were FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY HEADS. And they were all imagining that cinnamon bun, hot from the oven, sticky on the fingers. They were imagining that hot dog for seventy-five cents, and that ice cold Coca-Cola, because nobody had seen food for thirty days, and I came to the awful realization that WE WERE NEVER GOING TO EMERGE FROM IKEA ALIVE!

    “That’s it. I’m out of here,” I announced, and stashed all my goodies—the bamboo cutting board, the eight-pack of wooden hangers, the Pyrex, the sheets, the pillows, the lamps, the make-it-yourself fifteen-foot bookcase, the entire bathroom display—on top of all the other IKEA goodies that had been discarded, and rushed for an exit.

    I found the elevator.

    I located my car.

    I headed for an exit.

    And waited.

    And waited.

    I’m still waiting. Writing this missive behind a long line of cars.

    I have one piece of advice to leave you with:

    Never go to IKEA.


    Unless you have eight weeks to kill. And a sherpa guide.

    Send food. Please.