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)
5 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published May 7, 2016
I won't lie to you: I know nothing about the current state of professional wrestling. But from 1983 to 1989, from about age 9 to 15, I was a huge fan. So big, in fact, that I wrote a fan letter to WWF announcer "Mean" Gene Okerlund.
Published April 28, 2016
Angry readers, self-righteous writers and surly social media speculators are in a tizzy about an uptick in "clickbait," and in many respects, they have every right to be. In lots of cases, it's a bogus attempt to lure gullible readers, and ultimately, it won't and doesn't work.
Published April 25, 2016
I've known about Mel Brooks' upcoming June 11 visit to Milwaukee for a little while now. Make no mistake, this is a "bucket list" show for me: Brooks is one of my all-time favorites in Hollywood, and "Blazing Saddles" has sat atop my favorite movie list forever.
Published April 15, 2016
For the many dozens of times I've visited the historic Pfister Hotel - for meetings, meals, weddings and drinks - until prepping for OnMilwaukee Hotel Week, I never spent an overnight at this Victorian masterpiece. Cross that off my bucket list - and I didn't even have to meet a ghost to do it.
Published April 14, 2016
As today's the wonderfully-made up "414 Day," or "Milwaukee Day," depending on who you talk to - it's a sexy day to look back at this excellent video from 2014 by the Five Card Studs.
Published April 11, 2016
I've been binge-watching HBO's "Vinyl." During a scene at an L.A. beach party, the camera panned to a sideburned record executive, smoking a joint and talking about Elvis. Even 25 years since I saw him last, I knew immediately that was my friend from high school, Dave Shalansky. I'd recognize that guy anywhere.
Published April 4, 2016
I'm sitting here on Opening Day, in the first row of the press box at Miller Park, and it's quiet. Too quiet. I mean, I can hear the fans in the ventilation over the sound of stands in this not-sold-out stadium. Apparently, other people here are either rolling their eyes in the fifth inning (or they're passed out).
Published April 2, 2016
It's been a long while since we interviewed FOX6 meteorologist Vince Condella for a personal profile, but with the long-time weather man's upcoming retirement, it was time to catch up.
Published March 15, 2016
I'm a big fan of Atlas Obscura, a website that calls itself "the definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places." And it does a good job. Yesterday, it took a look at Milwaukee and its 12 quirky treasures.
Published March 3, 2016
Sometimes, the `90s in Milwaukee feel like a distant memory; other times I can't believe they're so long gone. But then I looked at some of the photos I took while building the shell of what would eventually become OnMilwaukee, and these scenes seem ancient, indeed.