My coworker Bobby and I took a trip to the Chicago suburbs Saturday (don't call it a man-date), first to drop off a box of photos to Casa Italia in Stone Park, and then to IKEA in Schaumburg.
If there's a recession going on right now, it certainly hasn't hit my sentimental old favorite Scandinavian superstore.
I've been an IKEA fan since my college days, outfitting my old Washington, D.C. apartment with cheap Swedish rugs, particleboard-inspired entertainment centers and Scandinavian lighting. When the gigantic retailer finally made its way to Chicago in late '90s, I rented a van and filled it with furniture for my East Side apartment.
And, when I moved to Bay View in 2002, I visited IKEA one more time, picking up lighting and kitchenware and other essentials. I guess I hadn't thought about it, but until Saturday, I hadn't been back in almost seven years.
Part of me would like to declare that I've matured past the point of buying IKEA's self-assembly furniture. I know enough people who think everything the Swedish megastore sells is cheap crap, and indeed my tastes in furniture have changed from sleek and modern to Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arts and Crafts.
But as my dad and I get closer to finishing the rec room we're building in my basement, I knew IKEA could fill that space on the cheap. So after comparing prices at local alternatives and coming up underwhelmed, I borrowed a friend's pick-up truck and headed south with unbridled enthusiasm.
Recession or otherwise, IKEA was packed as usual. Bobby and I made a beeline for the cafeteria, of course, to begin shopping on a full stomach of Swedish meatballs and lingonberry juice. Just like the scene in 1999 and 2002, teams of shoppers strolled the expansive building in search of bargains. The lines were long and slow, and the parking lot was filled with hundreds of cars.
Obviously, that's because value is still the name of the game at IKEA. Contrary to what the haters say, it isn't all cheap, pre-fab junk. They have some legitimately nice and pricier upholstered and leather furniture, though I was shopping for maximum bang for the buck.
In the end, I walked out of the store with a loveseat, recliner, two ottomans (ottomen?), two lamps, a coffee table and two bags of frozen meatballs for under $450. If there's any place in Milwaukee that can offer such a bargain, albeit stylishly, please let me know, because I looked at everywhere from Big Lots to HOBO to Value City before driving to Illinois.
I know it's never going to happen, but I really wish an IKEA would come to Milwaukee or Madison. I'd be there all the time.
On the other hand, maybe it's good that Schaumburg is just far enough away for me to space my IKEA trips a few years apart. Swedish meatballs to sectional sofas, it's just too easy to go nuts at this store.
I wish Ikea would re-ignite their interest in opening a store in Wisconsin again. Unless they have and I haven't heard.
I have to say that my occasional shopping there in the last 10+ years has given me some great furniture. If you take care of the stuff it will last quite a while. I recently bought my couch and platform bed there and I like it. It is a great step up from hand me downs or finishing off a spare room. I am certainly glad that they are across the border, otherwise I will not have the room!
Love the IKEA. Haven't been there in 3 years. Its time to go back with a Scanda-shopper buddy soon. Nice job reigniting that fire Andy....pfft. thanks a lot. :)
Ottomans??.......ottomen???......."Otto, man!!!" (the Simpsons bus driver).....who, incidentally, likes to get "blotto".............blotto, man........blotto men???.......
Jerry Seinfeld | March 23, 2009 at 2:52 p.m. (report)
What's the Deal with The Ottoman Empire? Were they that lazy? Come on! Put your Feet on the ground? (in high, comedic-pitch)
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