Monday, August 15, 2011

Tax free weekend giveth, and tax free weekend taketh away.

In what turned out to be a startlingly naive decision, M, the Numa and I braved IKEA on Sunday to get us some of that tax free goodness. Oh my. We waited in line to park for about 15 minutes and then spent another 3 hours in the store, which isn't all that unusual, except that about half of that time was spent waiting for furniture that we are having delivered. What's that, you say? Why on earth were you waiting for furniture that was going to be delivered to your home? I, too, was surprised, but it turns out that IKEA, that mecca of modern design, is stuck in what might as well be the age before computers when it comes to home delivery. The process works as follows (with a few extra details for your reading pleasure):

1. Enter IKEA. Marvel at the open spaces and cheap furnishings. Secure a cart capable of holding the Numa and his diaper bag, along with our blue reusable shopping bag and hit the elevator to the second floor.

2. Sit on the Karlstad couch for the umpteen thousandth time. Debate whether or not said couch is tall enough. Further debate possible sectional configurations, mostly from a distance since one of us is chasing a running, cheerfully screaming Numa as he launches himself onto every couch and into the path of many, many passers by. Apologize to said passers by while trying to listen to spouse, who is asking if we are sure about the Sivik Dark Gray fabric. Renew certainty in the fact that soon, everyone in America will own a Karlstad sectional in Sivik Dark Gray. Thank you, Young House Love!

3. Decide that yes, after months of thinking and planning, the Karlstad sectional, in the YHL configuration and fabric, is the couch for us. Continue to herd the Numa while one of us orders said couch from a helpful IKEA associate (for anyone who wants to know, you have to order the corner sofa 2+3/3+2 AND the chaise, add-on unit to create the YHL configuration). Break up slight bru-haha between the Numa and a small but determined young lady at the kid's play station. Wrestle uncooperative Numa back into cart and walk quickly towards beds.

4. Detour from couches to restrooms (you know, through the Expedit section - we spend far too much time at IKEA) due to a foul odor now emanating from the Numa. Discover that the family restroom is occupied and the changing table in the upstairs women's room is out of order ( has been out of order for 2 weeks now...will someone please fix this thing?) so M will need to deal with the pants situation. M takes the Numa into the men's room, freshens his pants and we are off again to beds.

5. Attempt to order 1/2 of a king box spring for the Numa's new twin xl mattress. We really went for it this tax free weekend, and decided that his big boy bed would be even better if he can still fit in it when he is a teen. Discover that the 1/2 king box spring only has a frame on 3 sides (wtf?) and it won't work on it's own. Breathe a sigh of relief when we learn that the 1/2 king slat frame IS framed on all 4 sides and, bonus, is also $50 cheaper. Score! Order this from another helpful associate and head towards children's IKEA.

6. Find yet another cool thing for the Numa (last time it was the slide, which he LOVES) and grab a couple of kid's foot stools for good measure. Head to the Marketplace to get curtains and drawer organizers and whatever else strikes us. I grab a splatter guard for cooking and amazingly nothing else. We chase the Numa through the rest of the (non-breakable sections of the) IKEA maze and get a furniture cart for the Karlstad footstool we will take home today and the legs for the Numa's bed support.

7. Check out and discover that, in order to have our new Karlstad and bed foundation delivered to our home, we first have to take the receipt for the furniture to the furniture receiving area. They will then fill our order and, and here is the crazy part, physically bring it out to us in the waiting area. All of it. On a pallet or whatever it takes to hold a 12' sectional and a 1/2 king bed foundation. Then, we will take all of this stuff and get into a line, with our stuff (did you get that part? Check out this link to YHL if you need to see just how much crap we are talking about here, and add in 1/2 of a king bed foundation...ridiculous) and wait to talk to the home delivery people who are, no kidding, less than 20' to the left of the furniture receiving people. They, the home delivery people, take your information and then - stay with me here - take the exact same stuff that just came out through the swinging doors to your right and they TAKE IT BACK THROUGH AN IDENTICAL SET OF DOORS TO AWAIT DELIVERY. That's right, you get to visit with your furniture for the duration of your time in line and then it goes right back into another "backstage" area at IKEA. What? Why on earth can't they just remove those things from their electronic inventory and grab them when they go to deliver stuff? Can this possibly be better for some reason? Seriously, if you know why this is better, please explain it to me, because I am baffled.

8. While M waits for the ridiculousness that is IKEA home delivery, the Numa and I go upstairs to eat dinner, because he has worked up a serious appetite while terrorizing IKEA shoppers (he really isn't that bad, but it is funnier this way, no?). After stowing our smaller purchases in the car earlier, I had wisely switched from the IKEA kid carrier to our umbrella stroller, so getting through the food line with the Numa, a tray and lots of food was difficult but didn't end with anything hitting the floor. On the plus side, dinner was the cheapest thing we bought all day (except my splatter guard). I manage to find a table and a high chair and we eat, the Numa putting away an impressive amount of food for such a small person. While he eats, he flirts mightily with the lovely woman at the table next to ours, which may or may not be why she and her equally lovely husband took pity on me and offered to put our tray in the tray receiving area. I am sure they will never read this, but it is those moments that remind me that there may yet be hope for humanity and I hope they know how much that small act of kindness meant to a very tired me.

9. Numa and I walk downstairs to find M finishing up the whole furniture delivery process, so I quickly put clean pants and pj's on the little guy for our trip home. M grabs some IKEA pizza (his verdict: meh.) and some water and we head home, tired but happy that after all that, the couch will actually be delivered later this week. Amazing, considering the complete lack of efficiency surrounding the rest of the process.

The Numa reads the whole way home and doesn't get to bed till 9, but he sleeps until almost 9 the next day, so all in all, not a bad deal. I can't wait to get the new couch as we are really tired of the old one which doesn't really suit our needs any longer. Fortunately, it has found a new home in a cozy little getaway cottage in NH, so it will retire in style.

We will never, ever again go to IKEA to buy something we are having delivered. We had to order it in store to take advantage of the tax free weekend, but it was 100% not worth it and I would have gladly paid that money to avoid the hour and a half of effort it took to complete steps 7 and 8. In the end, saving the tax on the furniture ended up canceling out the delivery cost, so we did save almost $100. It is a thin silver lining, but I guess I'll take it.

Be well,


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