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You start this world armed only with a UNIVERSAL FURNITURE-ASSEMBLY ALLEN WRENCH
January 26, 2004 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Ikea Walkthrough: Now you are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. A skeleton, probably the remains of a luckless consumer, lies here. Beside the skeleton is a rusty SKARPT high-quality steel knife with hard plastic handle and a shopping cart. Search the body. Take the IKEA GIFT CARD (still has $43 on it). Take and eat the SWEDISH FISH for sustenance. Now go: S, E, D, D, E, SW, W, SW, D, W, U, S
posted by turbodog (61 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
What a great article!

On an aside, I know of no other store where you can get so much for so little as at Ikea.
posted by fenriq at 11:31 AM on January 26, 2004


Ok so when did Ikea become so big? Is there something I'm missing? There are no Ikea stores near me, but Nordic furniture has been around for a while right? Someone want to clue me in so I can be cool too?
posted by geoff. at 11:33 AM on January 26, 2004


frightfully realistic
posted by ruelle at 11:33 AM on January 26, 2004


As an aside, I know of no other store where you can get so little for so much as Ikea.
posted by davros42 at 11:38 AM on January 26, 2004


This was the funniest Morning News piece I've read in a while, and almost everything at The Morning News is top-notch stuff, but this is beyond funny. All hail the yeti!
posted by mathowie at 11:55 AM on January 26, 2004


Is this IKEA something I would have to have a credit card to appreciate?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:00 PM on January 26, 2004


This is the best of the web?
posted by drstrangelove at 12:00 PM on January 26, 2004


I like Ikea. The Swedes are a gentle, giving folk.
posted by The God Complex at 12:05 PM on January 26, 2004


strangelove, your moniker does you wrong if you don't understand the brilliance and irony of the article, not to mention the sheer comedy gold.

Thanks for the link turbodog!
posted by ashbury at 12:06 PM on January 26, 2004


Thanks!
posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:10 PM on January 26, 2004


IKEA is huge in the UK. Every weekend poor, long-suffering partners are dragged by their IKEA addicted spouse into the living hell that is Scandinavian-style shopping. I was coerced into going once by a then partner. What struck me in particular was there appeared to be no way out without traipsing round the whole store. It was like a theme attraction that had no exit but the gift shop, except that the whole thing was a gift shop. On the other hand, you can never have enough tealights.
posted by squealy at 12:13 PM on January 26, 2004


That was brilliant! Great stuff, Shadowkeeper.
posted by vacapinta at 12:14 PM on January 26, 2004


Great article!

But when do we get the solution for IKEA-2? As my fellow advanced IKEA players know, this is the game that takes place in your living room, as you try to assemble the IKEA furniture by following the crazy pictograms.
posted by neurodoc at 12:22 PM on January 26, 2004


What struck me in particular was there appeared to be no way out without traipsing round the whole store

You need to look for the secret shorcuts. Like from carpets and rugs to bathroom accessories. Cuts over half the walking distance. There's a couple of others, but I can't remember them right now.
posted by smcniven at 12:27 PM on January 26, 2004


There's now an Ikea in......PARAMUS, New Jersey, which is sort of odd, since the area seems slightly high-rent for IKEA (I much prefer the ambience of the planes taking off and NWK in Elizabeth. Ikea may be attempting to go a bit upper-scale; any thoughts?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:30 PM on January 26, 2004


This is the best of the web?

No, Dr. Strangelove. Politically-oriented posts from FoxNews.com comprise "the best of the web".

Anyhow, good find, turbodog.
posted by dhoyt at 12:43 PM on January 26, 2004


Matthew Baldwin is a funny guy. His blog defectiveyeti.com is often very, very amusing.
posted by elendil71 at 12:46 PM on January 26, 2004


You need to look for the secret shorcuts. Like from carpets and rugs to bathroom accessories. Cuts over half the walking distance. There's a couple of others, but I can't remember them right now.

Make sure to find the secret +5 tongs of sanitation to use in removing the sticks from dhoyt and Dr. Strangelove's butts.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:48 PM on January 26, 2004


I jumped on the IKEA wagon a few years ago when I bought my matching entertainment center, coffee table (both which had wheels... very good idea, IMO) and CD holders.

I later returned for a very cheap but awsome looking rug for the livingroom.

I agree, one can certainly get alot for less... it's all in the packaging. You have to put everything together yourself, so not only do they save on labor, they save on space at the warehouses 'cause everything is flat-packed.

Great stuff for tight spaces... (well... like my apartment)

There was a time, I admit... much to my girlfriend's dismay, that I would go to IKEA a couple times a month... but after I bought everything I was looking for, I have never been back.

Just let your girlfriend buy something :)
posted by LoopSouth at 1:15 PM on January 26, 2004


Ikea assembly instruction parodies: 1, 2

Finally, FINALLY, Ikea is coming to New England. It's about damn time. The Somerville store had been delayed because of zoning problems for years, and now there will be two stores in the Boston metro. They will also move into New Haven next year, in space currently occupied by the ugliest building ever.

Finally, no more roadtrips to Jersey for cheap
posted by PrinceValium at 1:17 PM on January 26, 2004


... furniture.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:18 PM on January 26, 2004


Actually, I like Ikea, a mass retailer certainly more appealing than such odious establishments as Restoration Hardware (prediction: bankruptcy) and Pottery Barn. Sure, said shops do not appear to be competing against each other, except when it comes to levels of design imagination and craftsmanship.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:26 PM on January 26, 2004


It is dark. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.
posted by thanotopsis at 1:32 PM on January 26, 2004


Funny link. :) Good find.
posted by dejah420 at 1:40 PM on January 26, 2004


This is outstanding. As someone who occasionally frequents an Ikea (sometimes even not entirely against her will) and as someone who cheats on almost all video games by searching desperately for walkthroughs as soon as she can't figure something out (so...if you have any tips on how to open a perpetually locked door in mission 4 of Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War for XBox, email me and we'll talk), I definitely relate, and appreciate. Gotta love the yeti.
posted by iconomy at 1:49 PM on January 26, 2004


Great find. This brings back nostalgic graduate-student memories of shopping at Ikea (two cheap folding chairs, one little table...).
posted by thomas j wise at 2:02 PM on January 26, 2004


Deliver me from Swedish furniture stores.
posted by Foosnark at 2:13 PM on January 26, 2004


I remember traipsing through Ikea for 2 hours, deciding what I wanted to buy (a bookcase), got in the queue for the checkout, and then thought, "this won't fit in my car will it".

It didn't.
posted by BigCalm at 2:14 PM on January 26, 2004


IKEA is hit and miss sometimes - some of it is crap - some of it is really good stuff.

I just bought a Jerkker computer desk last month - $99 bucks and it's simply one of the sturdiest, best looking work areas I've ever seen... it'll last me for years, I'm sure.

On the other hand... there's lots of stuff at IKEA that will probably wear out after 6 months or a year... some of their wall units and entertainment consoles look good, but are poorly made.

The cool thing about the IKEA stores are that you really do get to sit down and try out nearly everything they sell - if you feel that it's poorly made then you can usually find something else to suit your needs.
posted by wfrgms at 2:15 PM on January 26, 2004


I just bought a Jerkker computer desk last month

That has to be the most apt name I've ever heard for a computer desk.
posted by Skot at 2:20 PM on January 26, 2004


The interior design of IKEA stores is based on the same concept as casinos: it's deliberately overwhelming and confusing so you buy something for security. Some airports, Heathrow for example, are doing the same thing; when you go through Customs you're in a store.

I love IKEA for the same reasons I love the Gap: it's simple, moderately-priced, decent-looking stuff. Not especially exciting, but I'm not looking for that.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:44 PM on January 26, 2004


We do the "body-weight" rule at IKEA - we purchase nothing that would need to support anyone's body weight, and we've been fine with everything we've gotten there (mostly shelves, coffee tables, rugs and the like). The other beauty of IKEA is that they have thousands of fun/funky accent pieces (clocks, candle-holders, vases) that you can get for what never seems like more than 5 or 10 bucks.

And while I live in Boston, I'm actually a bit sad they'll be opening up here. Part of our schtick was "arduous" trek to Elizabeth. And we'd always half joke about how cool it would be to rent a truck and go to the Montreal one (canadian dollars!! those french fry/cheese/gravy things!!). Of course, bringing a rental truck over the border probably isn't a fun scene these days...

I need to get out more.
posted by jalexei at 2:59 PM on January 26, 2004


Montreal Ikea?! What a cool idea! Do a cheap rx, IKEA road trip!
posted by ParisParamus at 3:04 PM on January 26, 2004


Note to self:
Add to list of reasons to move to Canada: Montreal Ikea.
Add to list of reasons NOT to move to Canada: Montreal Ikea.

Actually, I was a little disappointed that the Ikea Walkthrough wasn't a fully 3-D graphic Flash animation. But then, it is Monday.

And, while growing up in L.A., I had the Celebrity Dishonor of being severely bullied by one of the spoiled sons of TV pioneer Steve Allen. Therefore, please do not use the term "Allen Wrench" in my presence...

And why does the MetaFilter SpellCheck accept the word "Ikea" but not the word "MetaFilter"???
posted by wendell at 3:37 PM on January 26, 2004


I love IKEA for the same reasons I love the Gap: it's simple, moderately-priced, decent-looking stuff. Not especially exciting, but I'm not looking for that.


Does that mean you also like exploited labor?
posted by drstrangelove at 4:06 PM on January 26, 2004


How is it possible that the guy who wrote the article never had the pattern as SW,E,D,E,N ?
posted by dogwelder at 4:17 PM on January 26, 2004


We do the "body-weight" rule at IKEA

We bought a bed there actually, and it has worked out fine. And our bookcases hold more weight than any mere mortal. Once a year or so we take a screwdriver and tighten all our Ikea stuff, and that's pretty much all you need to do to make stuff hold up for a while. But some of their vendors are better than others, true.
posted by PrinceValium at 4:48 PM on January 26, 2004


How is it possible that the guy who wrote the article never had the pattern as SW,E,D,E,N ?

Ah, fuck.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 4:57 PM on January 26, 2004


There's now an Ikea in......PARAMUS, New Jersey, which is sort of odd, since the area seems slightly high-rent for IKEA (I much prefer the ambience of the planes taking off and NWK in Elizabeth. Ikea may be attempting to go a bit upper-scale; any thoughts?
They are going more upscale--more solid wood stuff, pushing the complete room packages and kitchens more--I notice it more and more with each catalog. I think they've realized that many of us have grown up with it, and can trade up from particleboard.
posted by amberglow at 5:00 PM on January 26, 2004


everyone's talking about ikea, but i'm super impressed at matthew's nail-on-the-head rendition of the "game walkthrough" genre (typically seen at gamefaqs).

great work matthew.
posted by bruceo at 5:19 PM on January 26, 2004


Body-weight rule? Just, jump up and down on the display models before you buy. Some of their stuff is a little flimsy, but it's real easy to spot because it wobbles when you lean on it. The good stuff, however, is wonderful. We bought a bed, 2 sofas, a dining room table and chairs, and tons of shelving at IKEA when we moved to the US nearly four years ago now. All of it is still holding up fine. None of it I regret. The chocolate's pretty damn good as well.

Shopping at IKEA is the only real downside of the equation.

We also bought linen, stadard lamps, several funny shaped cushions, a perfect table for my turntables, basic cutlery, bowls, plates, and a saucepan, and the only thing that's wearing out, is the crockery.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:40 PM on January 26, 2004


I remember a bed we loved in the catalog turned out to be a cheap piece 'o crap in the store - I think that was the source of the "body weight" rule. I agree on the bookshelves, ours are holding up great.

As to IKEA going upscale, I remember reading that their kitchen cabinets have become the interior designer's dirty secret - excellent quality and cheap cheap cheap.
posted by jalexei at 5:53 PM on January 26, 2004


Some airports, Heathrow for example, are doing the same thing; when you go through Customs you're in a store

And if you have any sense, it's World of Whisky, where you can make up for all the indignities of airline travel!

IKEA's fine, by the way. Good cheap CD holders, wine glasses, &c. And they're well set up for people with kids.
posted by languagehat at 6:00 PM on January 26, 2004


That rocks Shadowkeeper.
posted by eyeballkid at 6:06 PM on January 26, 2004


Besides all the furniture, IKEA sells cloudberry jam, which is pretty plain by itself or on toast. However, on vanilla ice cream, it's a revelation.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:31 PM on January 26, 2004


The last (and only time) I went to IKEA I had an honest, frank discussion with my friend Patrick as to whether or not we should just go out the fucking fire exit. Places which are designed by groups of evil behavioral psychologists to confuse and bewilder you into purchasing crap really, really get to me. And so my default reaction is not, as they had hoped, to purchase something, but rather to start punching strangers in the neck. *Every* *single* *piece* of your surroundings there is chosen with great care to fuck with your little mind, and I'd have to be stoned out of my gourd on some serious anti-psychotics to run the gauntlet and still keep the enamel on my teeth.

The world will feel a great lightness and deep peace when the last IKEA is burnt to the ground and salted.

Bleagh.
posted by Coda at 6:33 PM on January 26, 2004


Funny article, thanks for the link turbodog. We don't have any IKEA stores in this state but Edward Norton's character in Fight Club gave me some indication as to the type of furniture available.
posted by Tarrama at 6:42 PM on January 26, 2004


Congrats, Shadowkeeper, on getting your writing in a MeFi FPP without having to pay anybody. (not that I've ever done that...)

Still, I want the 3-D Flash animated version...
posted by wendell at 8:30 PM on January 26, 2004


My wife and I aren't yet willing to drive to Houston and back to visit the IKEA there; I'd KILL for Austin to have an IKEA and a Waffle House.

We bought an IKEA catalog off eBay last year (for something like $10) when ours was slow to arrive in the mail. Spent the next three days going through with yellow post-its; I guess its the modern equivalent of the old Sears Wish Book catalog.
posted by mrbill at 9:00 PM on January 26, 2004


Y'all can have several of our wafflehausen if we get Ikea here in D/FW. There are more of us, and we're worse-behaved, so you'd better let the not-quite-in-Oklahoma wookies win.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:18 PM on January 26, 2004


Hey, I'm *from* Oklahoma. :)
posted by mrbill at 9:20 PM on January 26, 2004


prince val, one of the reasons that the slummahville ikea has been so delayed is that it's going into the post-apocalyptical run down shopping mall area that building 19 is. They're trying to rejuvinate the area (at one point they were talking about putting a new sox stadium there) so they're not letting them paint it blue and yellow (i love that). Speaking of building 19, i'd say that it has ikea beat hands down for getting crap for cheap (and i do mean crap).

if you really want to get the short cut into and through ikea the trick is to start in through the exit and to always go perpendicular to traffic (ie: through the showcases, not the road)...and a compass can help also.
posted by NGnerd at 9:53 PM on January 26, 2004


The first Ikea in Japan is going to be built on the site of the SSawS indoor ski area, that is currently being demolished.

Tokyo needs neither an indoor ski area nor an Ikea, but it ain't up to me...
posted by gen at 11:35 PM on January 26, 2004


They're demolishing the indoor ski area? That whole concept rocks so hard--that much technology and effort to create an Ersatz Fun Experience is a thing of perverse beauty, in a way. A reminder that mankind can accomplish Great Things, as long as there's essentially no point. It's like the Zippy the Pinhead equivalent of the Apollo program.

Oh, and Shadowkeep, where are the cheat codes?
posted by arto at 11:46 PM on January 26, 2004 [1 favorite]


I have this friend who makes a lot of his own furniture who's very dismissive of my Ikea stuff. Some of it's definitely cheap, but other stuff is a good value. My computer desk is basically a quality surface with 4 solid legs and I love it. (Wish I could remember the dorky name.) And my middle name is Niklas which I've never seen anywhere in the states other than Ikea. I'm sure it's common back in the motherland, but still.
posted by Wood at 12:17 AM on January 27, 2004


What ever happened to StØr? You know, StØr?

(And yes, agreed. Funny! Thanks Shadowkeeper, thanks turbodog!)

StØr!
posted by loquacious at 7:17 AM on January 27, 2004


I've never lived near an Ikea and so never been in one, but I'm not sure if I would want to shop there anyway. I hate white furniture with a passion hotter than a thousand suns and all Ikea stuff looks so clean and sterile... but then again, my home decorating icon is Norma Desmond (substitute pictures of myself in my silent film heyday with old photos of family and you've got my idea of a dream room).

If Ikea ever sells huge, dark wood, ornate sleigh beds with gauzy bed curtains trimmed in velvet and beads, I'm totally renting a truck and driving to Richmond.
posted by jennyb at 8:30 AM on January 27, 2004


The IKEA outside of Philly (in Conshohocken) recently relocated to an even more gigantic store. We have a bunch of kitchen utensils and glassware, a futon, bookshelves, other shelves, bathroom accessories, lamps, rugs, and curtains from there. It's great for the grad student budget.

But the meatball sauce tastes like butterscotch.

If only they made lingonberry pancakes....

/lebowski
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 8:58 AM on January 27, 2004


If I was doing a spoof of the store, or wanted to reference it in some production, or make fun of it, or even go into competition with it, the obvious name to use: STOCKHOME.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:04 AM on January 27, 2004


STOCKHOME
::adds to file of stuff stolen from MeFites for my first novel...::
posted by wendell at 11:11 AM on January 27, 2004


Feel free to use it (actually, I hope to see it in the Simpsons). Just make sure you locate it in Paris-Paramus.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:14 AM on January 27, 2004


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