Five Rules To Surviving A Trip To IKEA, Dallas

I made my first trip to the Frisco IKEA yesterday. In the course of my journey I saw families ripped apart, friendships tested and entirely too many things promising to solve my organizational dilemmas. Yes, I left disorientated with two carts of "AUSKS" and "FULKVIKS."

The problem with IKEA is that while you might enter a focused human fortified with a four item check list, you leave a shattered soul held together with weird wooden pegs and metric screws -- with a blue tarp of crap hanging over your shoulder and a brain that has entered screen-saver mode: mine froze on a picture of a monkey smashing cymbals together. I should have known better. There are some non-negotiable rules when entering the Swedish mega-plex, rules that I chose to ignore. Don't suffer my fate, be successful in your endeavor for organizational perfection with this simple guide.

Do Not Go To IKEA Hungover Last night this seemed like such a good idea! Even the bartender thought so! (Or was he just humoring you as you pounded pickle-backs and toasted "To BESKADA"?) In the sobering aftermath of alcoholic ruin you are not allowed to go to IKEA; you are relegated to the couch. From there you may browse the website and form a cohesive list so that when healed, you may venture out and select your goods in person. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, wants to see you vomit in a sample toilet -- especially in the 375 square foot apartment.

Do Not Buy A Crib The wire bin storage dresser I bought at an IKEA constantly collapses; the drawers don't fit snugly so when anything weighing more than a sweater is placed in them, bam! They crash downward into one another. My bed frame squeaks, the front-facing doors on my cabinets do not align. I think of this whenever I walk through the children's department and see parents rocking cribs back and forth, gazing glossy-eyed at one another. Don't do it: Your baby's slumber spot should require an electric drill for assembly, not an Allen wrench.

Your Guesstimate Isn't Metric It's perfectly natural to stare at your closet and think "Why measure? I got this." But no sir, you had better bring your A-game if you want so much as a floor-length mirror. Measure everything, even the cat. If you don't you'll wind up with a shin-kicking end table, too few curtains and a "closet organizer" that can only fit in your living room.

There Is No Emergency Slide If IKEA were more in touch they would have responded to my five years' worth of requests for an emergency slide. It would work like this: If at any point you begin to feel incoherent and have to tap out, you would tug a cord (like on a bus), a wall would open and an inflatable airplane emergency slide would deposit you down at the finish line where an eager employee would greet you with an ice cold glass of lingonberry soda. Go Cowboy I know that you think IKEA will be a bonding experience, like that time you went antiquing together in Venice, but you are so wrong. Suffer in solitude with a Prepaid debit or gift card so that you do not overspend while on your mission. It's the most selfless gift you can give your relationship.

I watched as least four marriages dissolve as I picked out my shelving; it sent me back to five years ago when my ex and I drove straight from IKEA to couples counseling. It turns out that he was more of a "PAX" while I was an "EXPEDIT." Take one for the team on this and do not bring your friend or lover with you. Sure, you'll see funny words like "SKANKA" and want to share them, but that's what the camera on your cellphone is for.

Godspeed, and good luck.

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Jamie Laughlin
Contact: Jamie Laughlin

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