So why, out of all stores, do I have an infatuation with IKEA and all of its glorious Swedish home furnishings?
Upon driving up 1 Ikea Way in Stoughton, Mass., the flags are visible beyond the horizon, standing at attention in front of the massive blue building. No, treasure chest. The flags mark the territory of the expansive treasure chest of trendy unassembled chairs, tables, desks and Swedish meatballs. Well, maybe the meatballs are assembled, but leave it to IKEA to create the first cook-it-yourself lunch.
Ok, so we've driven up, we've been in awe and now we're inside. The rooms upon rooms of assembled and organized faux family living make me giddy. I lounge in each space, imagining that this really is my living room, that those really are my family photos and that I really do own a $900 leather couch. Moreso than just wishing to purchase the contents of the room, I long to buy the actual home. Maybe the whole Swedish ownership thing is just a façade. Maybe IKEA is really a front for real estate agents everywhere to subconsciously lure innocent furniture shoppers into investing in their own properties. While I have no actual proof to back this up, I would bet an IKEA cinnamon bun (and anyone who has ever tasted one will know how serious a bet this is) that 9 times out of 10, shopping at IKEA results in closing on a home in less than a year.
So maybe I'd lose that bet and that cinnamon and icing laced bun from heaven, but I have five more and only spent $5 on the complete set of six. Because that's another one of IKEA's tricks; everything is ridiculously underpriced. Sure it's got some divas among its kitchens and bathrooms that require hefty price tags, but the rest of the furniture is extremely down to earth. It's got that "end table-next-door" appeal. The pieces are the Jennifer Anistons of the furniture world, except they don't whine about Brad Pitt or have to pose nude on the cover of GQ to get attention.
So with the low prices, it's easy to get carried away and furnish a home that may or may not actually exist at shopping time, which makes me wonder: What do the employees' homes look like? Whether there is an employee discount is irrelevant. Unless they specifically hire people with iron clad will power, you can bet there are some major shoppers among the cashiers and ottoman consultants. Their houses probably look like the catalogue, they're probably the official IKEA gift giver of their group of friends and they are probably loved more by their families than the average human who can't be the furniture fairy for their clan.
So with a sigh, I wait. Until I have an apartment in which to install organizational shelving and decorate. Until I have a need for lamps of varying sizes and a drawer with a plexiglass top to showcase and organize my bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Until I really and truly have a need for a vase, a big white one with gorgeous flowers sticking out the top. They may even be fake flowers, because IKEA sells those, too.
IKEA sells everything you'll ever need in life, including happiness, but as always, there's some assembly required.