My dearest lady decided the old music system was over the hill. A new one was required. Unilaterally, she shot off into town and used a huge amount of money on a wall mounted CD player. Naturally, I had to put the thing on the wall but, luckily, I am well enough equipped to do such things with a minimum of fuss, foul language and loss of blood despite having to resort to power tools to get the job done. Two holes, two rawl plugs, two screws and one extension lead later, the thing is up, plugged in and working. Hooray. She thanked me and proceeded to dig out CD’s from the myriad of boxes we have for such things. Yay. We have music in the house again. For me, that would have been enough.
Not so for the dear one. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a rack for these CD’s?” she asked. Innocent enough a question, I thought. “Yes”, I said. “Good. I’ve seen them in the Ikea catalogue…”
Today I was sent off to Ikea. About 15 miles away. The drive was OK. Sunshine and light traffic, radio on and no rush. My mood changed when I saw the overfull car park. Parking took me a quarter of an hour. Finally, parked as far from the entrance as I possibly could be, I went shopping. I hate shopping. Well, maybe not the shopping bit, but all the idiots one has to fight with just to make headway through the way too small aisles and dodge round the far too many shopping carts that no-one seems to be attending but that are strategically parked in the aisles. The fat people who take up far too much space and can hardly walk, let alone get past the gawping masses that don’t really know what they are looking for and, therefore, have to stop every two steps along the way. The multi-ethnic families of twenty four people in varying sizes of tentage that all have to stop and admire plastic crap disguised as furniture while their children play a game of shouting, screaming and getting in the way.
I eventually found the department I needed to visit. I even found the CD thingy to put CD’s into. Borrowing a computer placed there for customer usage, I identified my CD rack’s stock number and even found out where I could collect it. Of course, the warehouse section of the whole affair was as far away from where I was presently standing as possible, so I had to fight my way back through the madding crowd and go two stories down just to get close to what I needed. After about a half hour and a forced detour through parts of the shop that had no interest for me at all but is apparently vital that I see, I reached the warehouse section. I found a guy to help me. He helped me get two of the rack things out of the section and loaded the two meter long boxes on to my shoulders. All the shopping carts were still filling aisles in other departments, so there wasn’t one for me. Total weight, 21 kilograms, total length, about two meters. I then started the long forced march to the check-out area trying not to kill people with the load as I swung round the corners.
The wait to pay and get out was ridiculous. It took twenty minutes standing in the check out queue before that particular ordeal was over.
Outside and in the fresh air again I comforted myself with the fact that I could now simply load the car and drive home. Until… I realised the guy in the warehouse had given me the wrong coloured racks. My wife specifically said black, and so had I. These buggers were.. WHITE. My life hung in the balance. Do I return these or just go home and plead ignorance?
I returned to the store. Returns department. I went to the counter with my 20 kilogram load on my shoulder. “Take a number”, said the assistant. He didn’t assist me at all, so why do we call them that? I took a number. Another twenty minute wait and it was my turn. Returning the racks was no problem. The guy gave me a card credited with the money I had paid and told me I could go get my goods and pay with the card at the checkout.
Back to the bloody warehouse then. I found what I needed, this time unassisted by the jerk that set me wrong last time and loaded my shoulder again. Back to the check-out queue then, but the difference this time was that I didn’t really care if anyone got whacked in the ear by the exceptionally long and heavy load on my aching shoulder. Another wait, this time thirty seething minutes. OK, the card bit worked. Hallelujah.
Finally, after about one and three quarter hours, I loaded my car and sat myself in the driving seat and lit a cigarette. Now I know why they call it Holy Smoke. I made a solemn vow never to return to Ikea on a weekend again. Ever.
At least the drive home was pleasant.
The racks? Oh, that was easy. I assembled them and filled them up in no time..
Right now, I’m shagged out.
My wife, on the other hand, is both impressed and grateful. Little does she know!