Wednesday December 13, 2006
“This is getting to be a habit,” I said as I pulled the car neatly up in front of the locked gate to the IKEA carpark at about 9:15 this morning, waiting for them to open at 9:30.
“Is that bad?” Graham asked, all innocent-like.
“Of course it is. All habits are bad. Tony Blair says so. If they’ll do almost compulsory radical surgery on the stomachs of obese school children these days then heaven alone knows what they’re planning for people who spend too much time at IKEA.”
“It’s not possible to spend too much time at IKEA.”
“I shall remind you of that in about three hours time when you’re all worn out and wanting to go home.”
It wasn’t so bad, really. We hadn’t to wait too long before we were sitting down to our IKEA breakfast platter, with coffee—such a bargain at £2.40 per head. And the shopping went well, too, with items being scratched through on Graham’s list, one after another. There’s a rule, almost, that whenever you go to IKEA there’s some item on your list that’s out of stock. Keeps you coming back for more. Well, today, everything on the list was there on the shelves waiting to be picked up, right down to the two plain white porcelain tea plates I wanted to replace those that were chipped in the move.
When we got to the last item on the list, though, we hit trouble. It’s a rather nice, very solid butcher’s block kitchen work table.
“That won’t go in the car along with all this other stuff,” I said.
“Nonsense,” he said, but with a tad less than the full force of Graham confidence. “This is me you’re talking to. Champion Fiesta packer of the West.”
“I know that. You achieve miracles with your packing. But even you won’t be able to get that in.”
“We’ll see,” he said, heaving the two large and heavy cardboard packs from the shelf on top of the two large but not so heavy packs already on the flat bed trolley.
He sounded even less confident now, though and, when we joined the line at the check-out, his confidence was all gone.
“You’re right,” he said. “It won’t go in. What shall we do about it?”
“We can pay to have it delivered, or we can put it back and come back on your next day off to fetch it.”
“Well, we’re not paying to have it delivered. Better things to do with sixty quid than blow it on a white van man. Do you mean what you say about coming back?”
“Of course. Just so long as I get my…”
“…IKEA breakfast? It’s a deal. Come on, then, let’s put it back on the shelf.”
And so, much to the consternation of the people in the queue behind us—have you noticed how people stand far too close to one another in IKEA?—we put our trolleys into reverse and made our way back to the towering mountain of flat-pack from which we’d extracted the work table that was now destined to belong to someone else.
“That’ll do it,” Graham said as he closed the boot lid on our stack of purchases. “Now I want a coffee before we go home. I’m whacked.”
“Told you so.”
“Told me what?”
“Oh, nothing of significance,” I said, with all the innocence I could muster.
The return journey was a smooth and uneventful as our morning jaunt through comparatively light motorway traffic.
“Where do you reckon all the people have gone?” Graham asked.
“Christmas shopping, like as not.”
“Ah. Yes. Well, don’t worry. We’ll get to it soon enough.”