IKEA aided by the generous sprinkling of the humble Umlaut

We had heard rumors that IKEA at Tempe near the airport was magic. Friends of ours told us via Face-book they had bought an entire kitchen there. He had loaded up his large SUV vehicle with 6 trolleys of flat-packs and that it even included the hexagonal Allen key. He confessed he was exhausted afterwards. It had been a big day.

We needed a lamp shade after having bought one from Aldi. The Aldi lamp shade came also in a flat pack and with a tiny Allen key as well. It was made of stainless steel tubing that would slide into one and other to form the stand. On the picture it showed a lovely curved shade that would, because of its curved steel tubing and shape, hover over the reader and his or her book while its stand was modestly kept behind the chair or, as in our case, behind the comfy settee. After assembly on the carpeted floor it looked a bit strange and the curve was far greater than anticipated. Also, because of the canter-levered construction, the lamp would totter and hesitate, could hardly keep itself upright and threaten to topple over at any moment. To counter this, I put a small piece of wood under the stand. It now tilted the opposite way.  After looking at it for a few weeks we thought it was too ridiculous. Hence our plan to visit that Mecca of interiors, the IKEA store at Tempe and buy a ‘good’ one. It would be Swedish and therefore good.

We left Bowral on a bright sunny day. We had driven past this IKEA some months before and had even flown over it. You could not miss its blue and yellow, so sternly Swedish with hints of Ingmar Berman’s ‘seven seals’. The position is perfect on a busy highway and right next to the airport. The import of flat packs (from China) could almost be parachuted right to the front door or even onto the roof. The over- flying aircraft are so close you can see the rivets in their metal coverings and stroppy standing passengers hauling their luggage from the over-head compartments.

When going to its entrance one is already greeted by the first umlauts and strange Swedenised Anglo words. The shopper softens up, bulging with pride being introduced to a foreign language.  After entering a massive cathedral like entrance space we half expected a moody Max Von Sydow to greet us. No such luck though.

There were young girls handing out oversize and brightly coloured yellow bags. The large bag had us stumped. What was this for? We felt a bit silly. We noticed everyone going up the elevator all had those large empty yellow bags. Surely it would not be possible to put a bed or chair in it. Once upstairs we joined a throng of other shoppers going through a vast maze like area of endless beds, settees and completely fitted out rooms with a décor of items all ladled with umlauted names and price tags. There was so much of it, a dizzying choice. I felt overcome but noticed many of the comfy chairs had already been taken up by elderly people like myself, overcome and freaked out. (With and umlaut)

We shuffled on hoping to see a suitable lamp stand. At what price a well lit reading enjoyment? This Tempe IKEA is so large and so full of Sweden and its China produced umlauted articles, it must be tempting not to book the hotel next door and take a couple of weeks to see it all.

With dehydration setting in and a spell of agoraphobia we needed to make a quick resolution. Out! Of course with the planes roaring overhead ever thirty seconds or so counter blasted with equally loud music, many shoppers just get on with the business of filling those yellow bags. It transpired there are many kinds of objects that one is tempted to buy. Tea-light candles for example. Two hundred for just $ 4.99. Who can resist? Put them in the bag. Packets of Swedish tissues or napkins put them in the bag. Tea-pots with a name dual vowelled and umlauted; in the bag!  Swedish embroidered shopping bags, 6 for $ 19.90; in the yellow bag!

We found, after an exhausting two hours our lampshade, all in a small flat pack; in the yellow bag. We made it to the exit, emptied our yellow bag. I noticed IKEA catered for the exhausted shopper. There was a huge eating area. They were selling frankfurters on a roll for just one $1.-

I was dragged away. Back to Bowral. I sat on the carpet and assembled our new shade stand. Perfect! Thank you Sweden. (China)

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30 Responses to “IKEA aided by the generous sprinkling of the humble Umlaut”

  1. Hypocritophobe Says:

    Gerard,
    We got this one,many moons ago.

    http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/80110900/?query=LERSTA+Reading%2Ffloor+lamp

    it rocks.
    I’d like a few more.
    It was on special at the time and cost about $23 with two CFC globes.It still has the original globe in it.Must be 5 years old at least.

    Like

  2. nick ryan Says:

    所以,你们这样做到底买灯罩?(Chinese, Simplified) Regards, Nick

    Like

    • helvityni Says:

      Nick, it’s john and angie who inspired Gerard to go IKEA, they got the flat-pack kitchen, also daughter had bought some really nice and cheap bedlinen there. I’ll go there again, now that i know which way is out….

      Like

      • nick ryan Says:

        I shopped in Ikea years ago in the UK, must have been when they first opened there so an old Ikea hand really, It was the late 1980’s and I too was impressed after a decade of MFI (an acronym that everyone wanted to know and was successfully kept a secret for years, it broke in the end, it stands for Made For Idiots. Hmmm wonder what IKEA stands for in Swede? Nick :)

        Like

      • nick ryan Says:

        Helvi, have you spoken to David L recently?

        Like

      • helvityni Says:

        Nick,no, we have not heard from him, I was going to ask you the same…if you do, give our regards and ask him to drop by…
        When we were still on the farm ,he used to come to Bowral a lot to see some excellent vet for his dogs….two of our neighbours are vets…this is dog-country :)

        Like

      • nick ryan Says:

        Won’t say too much on here suffice to say he has split up from his wife and living in Macau, I doubt he will be popping by for a while, he is looking for work there, smitten with the love bug, he is very happy. Nick

        Like

      • helvityni Says:

        WOW, good on you DL, keep in touch from Macau…I suspected something like this… :)

        Like

  3. Hypocritophobe Says:

    00100000 01000000 01001110 01101001 01100011 01101011 00101110 00001010 01001001 01110100 00100111 01110011 00100000 01110010 01100101 01100001 01101100 01101100 01111001 00100000 01100001 00100000 01101101 01100001 01110100 01110100 01100101 01110010 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01110100 01100001 01110011 01110100 01100101 00100001

    Binary

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    • nick ryan Says:

      0100000000100000010001110110010101110010011000010111001001100100001011000010000001010100011011110111010101100011011010000110010100100000001110100010100100001101000010100000110100001010

      Like

  4. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea. After trying to put up 2 flatpack wardrobes and 2 chest of drawers I did swear that I would never go back. However the lure of those tea lights, tea towels, glasses, bed linen, cushions is just too much! oh and let’s not forget the meatballs with lingenberry sauce!

    One of the most satisfying shopping experiences of my life happened many years ago in an Ikea in the North of England. It was an hour and half drive from where we lived. I wandered around the vast store that you describe so eloquently in your post and then soon got seduced into buying a load of stuff that I really didn’t need but couldnt resist. By the time I got to the check out my trolley was piled high with pretty much everything but the proverbial kitchen sink. All the check-outs had mile long queues of people waiting to pay. I looked at my watch and realised that by the time I got to the till I wouldnt have enough time to get home and collect the children from school so there was only one thing for it, I had to abandon my laden trolley and head to the car park. As I drove home I actually felt really relieved that I didn’t have to worry about how much money I had spent! I’d had all the fun of putting unnecessary crap into the trolley and none of the guilt associated with it!

    Delighted to hear that your new reading lamp is a success. I need one badly but haven’t found anywhere that sells one that I like in Jakarta.

    Like

    • nick ryan Says:

      Did you have any associated guilt abandoning your trolley? At least it gave some cursing employee a little more work putting everything back LOL :) Nick

      Like

    • helvityni Says:

      Lottie, the light we bought is perfect,, I set my eyes on it straight away, love at first sight….after that I wanted to go home, no sausage stops for me…I wanted to see it in its new home. All good!

      Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Lottie Nevin:

      Yes, we hardly made it to the exit, almost lost the will to live, hoping the tea-lights would not be wasted at our wake.
      It was only when I noticed the large cafeteria behind those numerous check-outs with the promise of a frankfurter on a roll (just 1 dollar)that revived my spirit.
      However, I was janked away from that little delight with the promise of a much better fush and chups at The Bowral hotel afterwards.
      How did you go at Ubud? Any luck with The Lotus Cafe?

      Like

      • Lottie Nevin Says:

        Yes, thank you so much for your recommendation Gerard. It was heaven! What a beautiful place. Unfortunately my camera decided to play tricks with me otherwise I would have taken many more photos. The food was very good too. Next stop Casa Luna :)

        Like

  5. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes Nick; in the end we did buy the shade.所以,你们这样做到底买灯罩?.

    Like

  6. gerard oosterman Says:

    Hypocritophobe;
    Perhaps the infinite multiple use of just the two but including the nought is the philosophy of Ikea. One shuffles past a repeat over and over again. The Ikea experience reminded me of a John Brack painting with factory workers just queueing at the bundy clock.
    Perhaps just another ‘Brave New World,eh?

    Like

  7. Hypocritophobe Says:

    I have bought a few Ikean things over the years.I got these really nice o/head kitchen cabinets once.
    Put them away “to do” later.
    By the time I got around to doing them I had some technical questions about them.
    I was also going to get a couple more and the special glass doors they came with.
    Made the call…
    It turns out they don’t make the doors any more???
    But Ms Ikea???
    Then I looked at the original docket.7 years old!
    I ended up fitting them with military precision and the strength of an armoured vehicle.
    They aint goin’ nowhere.

    The thing is,I actually think that by the time I weighed up all costs,including the accessories,hinges,panels doors etc,it was no cheaper than going to a bloody cabinet maker and getting some custom made!!!
    That said there are lots of smart cheap/convenient products in Ikea.our mattress for one(oh no I have still not fitted the bloody slats to the bed base!
    We also bought a great cast iron enamelled crock pot thing for under $40,which is a pearler.

    I think Ikea is more an experience these days than a destination.And the marriage between Swedish design and engineering and Chinese production is fine by me too.As long as the workers are treated and rewarded well, and the product quality stays high.
    Win,win.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Back in 1973 after arrival back in Holland I bought an electric “Skill” saw with tungsten steel tipped blade and made a magnificient timber bed from dressed pine. Drilled holes and used dowels to put it together. I did fit the wooden slats to bear the mattress. We took it with us back to Australia in 1976 and moved it from Balmain to the farm near Goulburn in 1996.
      Sadly, in 2010 we left it at the farm and bought a new bed. I still use the ‘Skill” saw, but only recently had the blade sharpened. I still use my dad’s electric saw. It must be so old, yet it goes on. Some things do last life-times.

      Like

      • nick ryan Says:

        But Gerard, you probably only use it a 1/2 a dozen times a year so compare that to your kettle !!! I expect all my workshop tools to last a lifetime, if you look after them of course.

        I am still using a tumble drier that saw a few years of Terry toweling nappies, that baby is now 35 ish so the drier is at least that old but i rarely use it, preferring the wind to do it, but one never knows when one has to dry something in an emergency. LOL Nick

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, that’s right the kettle doesn’t whistle quite so enthusiastically anymore either. It’s probably neck on neck with the skill saw.
        We too had a dryer with a Methuselah attachment to life. It started to rust and yet kept going. Like the wooden bed we left it on the farm.

        Like

  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    Our new bed is on casters which makes the bed roll around a bit. I still smile after; ‘Did the bed move around for you too, darling’?

    Like

  9. Hypocritophobe Says:

    Our bed is made from American white oak I scrounged from a machinery packing crate where I worked.
    I seasoned it for seven years(it was green).

    Some of the beams were around 3 metres long and 150mmx100mm.Combined with locally hand milled eucalypt blown over in the wind(also seasoned for years)
    Also had enough oak to make a bookcase.

    Still the Ikea slats await.
    Skil saws were real machinery.

    So one day soon I can truthfully say,I am in my bedroom,going hard with a big heap of slats.Sweat pouring off me……

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      American oak? I can’t beat that with mere pine, still it lasted and stood our (G and H) togetherness in good stead.
      That must have been a hell of a large packing crate. It wouldn’t have been a Capstan Lathe by any means? Just saying that because I used to work on lots of those machines, many many years ago.

      Like

      • nick ryan Says:

        Aaaargh Gerard my first introduction to lathes was at British Tools & Presses working a Ward 7 Combination Turret capstan lathe, oh the memories are flooding back . . . . . nick

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        It was monotonous work, just turning bolts, thousands of them. In those days each one was turned individually. Lots of machinery used to be imported from Czechoslovakia.

        Like

  10. Hypocritophobe Says:

    @ Gerard.
    The oak was used to hold together some sort of processing machine(quite big) which was delivered to a mineral processing plant I was doing some painting at,back in the late 90’s
    Yep i think the machine was pretty big.I only got to see the semi dismantled crate which was more an exo-skeleton.
    It was soft and most wood.I knew nothing about what wood it was,other than I thought it was Oregon.My SILaws dad took one look and broke the good bad news to me(He is an old cabinet maker/builder from Mackay.

    I am a self confessed scab.It has paid off many times.Just got home from scoring a good uteload of firewood from a heap of roadside windfalls.

    Like

  11. Hypocritophobe Says:

    ‘soft and MOIST wood’!

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      How do you split the firewood? We used 9 tons a year back on the farm. Always split with the Finnish splitting axe, except for the last two years when I had a 22 tonne hydrolic wood splitter. It was magic.

      Like

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