I speak of course of IKEA.
Saturday morning had started out quite leisurely, coffee, newspapers, followed by a house inspection which the squeezette had messed up by a mere hour and a half. No bother. Upon external inspection the squeezette decided that living thirty feet from a fast food store was not her idea of fun. So, with an hour plus to spare before the next house view, we decided to pay a visit to the relatively new and large IKEA store on the Princess Highway and purchase an electronic juicer from the electronics section. This seemed like a relatively simple task, but note that even this early in the journey I stressed to the squeezette that: "And this is all we are getting."
We drove into a large carpark which some, possibly more cruel and bitter, people would refer to as the size of Tasmania and, following the many directions, made our way to the IKEA entrance.
We didn't even bother to go up the stairs to the main showroom. We had seen what appeared to be an IKEA supermarket and so we chose to investigate. It was indeed a little bit of Sweden right in the middle of Mulgrave. I looked on with disbelief and more than a little disinterest at an array of foods that were swedish looking and instinctively deemed potentially bad for my already damaged heart. Then we saw the next sign that grabbed our attention. This one was in English: Bargain Centre.
The trap had been sprung.
Almost as a warning, we passed through a large number of cash registers and automatic check out machines. It wasn't long before the attraction of redundant christmas baubles, reduced price furniture and the offer of numerous navigational aids had split us up. It should be noted that we were safe in the knowledge that if worst came to worst we did have mobile phones.
I very quickly chose to sit down at a navigational station and pride myself on the conclusion that the majority of the human race are indeed stupid and ridiculous. A scan of the room revealed valleys of people debaing the positives of furniture and other crap that in no time at all they were not going to give a shit about. It's only attraction at this moment being the abilty to be flat packed. I could not stay here a moment longer. I took a photo of a machine that kept asking where I wanted to go and left to find the squuezette and a way out.
The squeezette and I stumbled into each other, both with phones in hand, in office chair heaven. The squeezette had a glazed look in her eyes and a strange, for her, inability to talk. I was immediately required to carry what turned out to be @2.49 worth of Christmas decorations. I protested that we had previously agreed that the only thing we were getting in here was an electric juicer. this seemed to slap some sanity into the squeezette although she still refused to give up the christmas decorations, protesting that it was in fact only $2.49. I conceded, reluctantly.
I wanted out. the squeezette referred to one of several navigational aids she had managed to obtain during her solitary travels and, having regained at least some power of speech, she said: "This way to electrical."
The nature of IKEA is that we were never quite sure exactly which way 'this way' was. However, let it be said, we passed numerous lamps, baskets, cutlery, kitchen utensils, hanging pieces of cloth. Nothing looked like an electronic juicer, nor did it look like it was a section that would house an electronic juicer. But, as we were passing from another light land, or perhaps just the same light land seen from a different angle. It suddenly became apparent to me that we were doing something wrong. we were walking against the arrows. I pointed out to the squeeze that we were travelling in the opposite direction to that prescribed by the floor's navigational aids. She didn't seem to care. All she could do was notice that the arrows were in fact shaking on the floor and this was causing her to be concerned about having an epileptic fit.
"It doesn't matter" I said, we are going the wrong way."
Although the squeezette could ignore me, she could not ignore the fact that she was starting to draw attention from other shoppers, particularly other shoppers who were being confused by her refusal to get with the program and follow the navigational aids. If this wasn;t stopped in no time at all a precedent would be set. I was sure security cameras were watching our every move.
"Turn around," I said.
she gave me her 'fuck off' look and attempted to continue breaking the rules of IKEA. I had no other choice but to slap her lightly on the chin and attempt to physically turn her. Before she could physically retaliate, three other men and a woman joined me in forcibly turning her around. All of them and their partners chanting: You are going the wrong way. Reluctantly, the squeezette allowed herself to be turned, although still in some form of disbelief. A man who had been on the edge of the crowd and who turned out to be part of IKEA security privately congratulated me on what could have turned into a particularly ugly moment. Speaking even lower so the other shoppers could not hear, he offered me a complementary $9.95 desk lamp (reduced from $24.95). all I had to do was mention the code word 'response' at the checkout. If possible I was to say this with some attempt at a Swedish accent. I thanked him for the offer, but we already have enough lamps and I just didn't want to have to carry that along with the redundant christmas decorations all over who knows where.
The squeezette, although pissed off, turned to me, once the crowd had dispersed, and said: "We have to get out of here."
"I know," I said.
"Now," she said. "Immediately. I'm going crazy in here."
But then, when we looked up, we were in a land of rugs which neither of us had ever seen before and which did not appear to be on the map. It seemed appropriate to lay down and hope that security would find us and lead us to freedom.
We slept for several hours. When we awoke it was night time and we were alone. We found our way to the IKEAN equivalent to a canteen. The squeezette found and microwaved several dozen meatballs of which we ate many. This morning when the store opened, and after viewing video footage of our last night's stay, the guards released us to the care of the self paying checkout machines, we refused to acknowledge that we were friends of IKEA and paid the $2.49 from my credit card (even though it was the squeezette's purchase - ASIO please note).