Day Twenty-Seven: We enter an unfamiliar world

Last evening, led by my youthful companions, who know that my hatred of shopping is outweighed only by my love of spending time with them, I entered a never-done-before alternate world.

In this alternate world, I observed many things, such as bureaus hung on walls three stories high, giant signs which admonished us ominously to “get a cart” because we would “need one,” and an enormous escalator lifting countless passengers skyward.

Huge blue and yellow bags were seen everywhere in this world, and lo, huge carts were pushed grimly through mazelike aisles.

A caged chair was observed to be undergoing what looked like a crude form of electroshock therapy.

Giant bins were filled with things so cheaply priced that we began to feel panicky, as if we should buy them all if only because of their absurd cheapness.

Many conversations were overheard.

Conversation #1

Man to woman: Downstairs you can get a hot dog, chips and a soda for $2.50. They’re giving away food down there. Giving it away. And no line.

Woman: I don’t care. I want the Swedish meatballs. That’s what they’re famous for. We’re staying here.

Conversation #2

Woman to small child pushing cart: Honey, you’ve got to stay on the path and keep moving. We’re like buffaloes in here. We have to go where they tell us to go.

Small cart-pushing child to woman: We’re like buffaloes?

Conversation #3

Me to youthful companions as we shuffled through a labyrinthine cafeteria line: Why are all these people using walkers?

Youthful companions to me: Those aren’t walkers, Mom. They’re tray carts to hold your food.


In the end, there was a plate filled with Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and for $2 extra, soup or salad and a fountain beverage of our choice.

Everything in the ordinary world, once we managed to find it again after literally getting lost in this alternate world, seemed beautifully small.


  1. Karen · August 6, 2012

    Will there be a second time? This place stresses me out. I will, however, admit to liking the catalog very much for daydreaming purposes.


  2. alison · August 6, 2012

    Karen, I think it was a one-and-done kind of thing. (Even the youthful companions were a little overwhelmed.) I wish you could order and have it delivered!


  3. Gabrielle McGhee · August 8, 2012

    Did I ever tell you about the day I spent rocking baby Charlotte in a carriage whilst Michael and Holly shopped Ikea? Not good. We had driven over there from Manhattan with Charlotte and moi sitting on the floor of our van. Not buckled in. She in a carriage seat. Need I say more? I guessed Ikea immediately ………(:


  4. oreo · August 14, 2012

    now that is the most hilarious description of ikea i’ve ever read. not that i’ve ever read another one. but if anyone has written one, it wasn’t as funny.

    the last two times i went, the company i found myself in made the experience rather hellish. so i haven’t been in a long time. i think a person needs to have all their reserves at the ready to make it through such a place. you can’t be trying to endure needy and/or obnoxious people at the same time. it’s just too much.

    also, i seriously wonder if people only bring their children to the play place when they’re shopping. am i the only person who has ever thought, “hey, when my kid gets old enough i am totally going to drop him off and go read a book over a plate of swedish meatballs.”? i won’t say that i would really do it, but i also won’t say it hasn’t crossed my mind…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s