Last weekend, I went to hell for the first time in two years. In need of some lamps to combat the complete lack of sunlight during a Montreal winter, I decided to make the haul out to IKEA. Why buy a lamp from The Bay when you can assemble one yourself? As expected, my blood pressure skyrocketed the minute I walked through the bright yellow and blue doors. If I had only remembered the rules of IKEA, it might have been a more pleasant experience.
1. Don’t forget to pre-IKEA carbo-load. It’s impossible to spend less than four hours at IKEA, so hit up the Swedish meatball stand or pick up some (world-renowned?) Swedish chocolate.
2. Never go against the flow of traffic. I now know why Swedish people are so fit–it is because every weekend they enter IKEA, take the stairs up, walk through the furniture section, then downstairs, then through the décor section, and finish this off with some strength training at the furniture pickup section. Out of laziness, I headed backwards through the store and straight towards the lighting section, and almost lost my life to some carts carrying LACKs and EFFEKTIVs.
3. Go with a list. IKEA is not for window shoppers. Bring a spreadsheet and diagrams of your room, or you’ll never leave.
4. No canoodling on the beds. Passers-by may think you’re part of the assembly kit.
5. No playing house. You are not part of the 500 Days of Summer cast, so get out of the display kitchen and keep on walking.
6. Learn Swedish before you go. Surprisingly, the funny furniture names actually mean something, and knowing the Swedish word for mushroom will make your experience much more enjoyable.
7. Close your eyes at checkout. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that you refurnished your entire apartment for less than a hundred dollars. That is, if you resist buying the unnecessary garden accessories (when you have no garden, remember?), and items piled up in front of the register.
8. White furniture always looks worse after a week at home. Need proof? Come to the Tribune office.
9. Take advantage of Manland, a day-care for significant others who have been forced to go to Ikea. Manland includes video games, foosball, and hotdogs.
If you follow these rules, you will survive, and one day, you may even become fluent in IKEA assembly language.