Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ikea on Saturday (Avoid)

We have been needing to get to Ikea again for weeks - actually, it's probably been months. A friend graciously offered to drive us over there! There were a number of things on our to-do list there.

The Snille chair we got long ago didn't take well to being assembled and was doomed from the start. Within a few months, it was cracking along a stress point and getting gradually worse. We didn't trust another one so we replaced it with the next cheapest desk chair, Jules. Jules had some wheel problems - the screw on one of them lost its threads and wouldn't stay in. So, we needed replacement parts for these chairs - or new chairs entirely. We got two new wheels for Jules free at the parts/exchange desk. Turned out the socket had no threads anymore either, so the new wheels didn't help and Jules is still crippled. For Snille, we got a new top, which is conveniently sold separately from the bottom, for 8 EUR. Unfortunately Damon wouldn't go for pink (darn!) and we had to get green again. (He tells me one day I'll get to have my own room to decorate all girly-like. I know this will not really happen because we are in academics and will never, ever, never, ever have an extra dollar to spare on a room just for me to put pink chairs in.)

We also had some problems with our Ikea bathroom light fixture, which is one of the very few lights that actually came with our apartment. It looked like a relic from the 80s, but it turns out Ikea still sells the same model, Musik. We don't have a drill to drill new holes in the bathroom's tiled walls, so we had to get something that could use the same holes. It was forty Euro I was annoyed to spend since we won't get to take it with us. I'm still in the mindset that tenants shouldn't be responsible for repair and replacement of what is owned by the landlord - for more reasons than just not wanting to take care of it myself. When we went to install it, it turned out whoever put the last one up had actually NOT used the original mounting holes on the Musik fixture, but had drilled in new ones to match whatever ancient holes already existed in the wall. This is probably why the sockets ended up dysfunctional one by one - the exposure to all the moisture in the bathroom through the unused original mounting holes. Well, we had to use the old fixture and snap the new front on, since we can't drill new holes in the wall to match the fixture, so the same damn thing is going to happen again. Argh. This is the first time we've had a properly working light in the bathroom since we moved here, and wow, it's bright. I think I might have to start cleaning it more often.

We looked at new supports for our mattresses, because we're destroying our backs on the ones we got, which are too curved. Unfortunately the new ones wouldn't fit in the car so we will have to wait on that. We also hoped for curtains. All this time we've just been putting down the Rolladen if we wanted privacy, and that's not really the best way to go, as it gets really dark. But, the fabric I chose (the second image here) wasn't in stock! I don't want to pick my curtains based on what's in stock, I wanted the ones I liked! So, that will have to wait too.

We also left with a pot for a plant I got for my birthday, some candles, a toilet brush (80 cents! Can't get that price at the stores we can walk to.), a vase (1.50 EUR and Damon can still drink out of his favorite hefe glass even when he buys me flowers), a new pillow for the couch to replace the old deformed one, some new shower caddies, and some plastic lidded containers.

It's a good thing Ikea has the redeeming and attractive quality of being so insanely cheap. Many things are half the price they would cost at any store we can get to easily. And, that explains why it is such hell to go there - if I could buy everything there for those prices any time, I totally would - and everyone who can go there all the time is thinking the same thing. And going there. All the time. The place is enormous. It's completely packed and everyone has brought their entire family, so there's lots of wailing and crying and worrying about whether you might step on a little one. It's hot in there and there's someone perpetually cutting you off or pushing past you with nary an "Entschuldigung!" or any other acknowledgment of your existence. It's almost worth the suffering for the joy of having it over with and stepping back into the fresh air alone!

But until we can afford otherwise - and we won't, see the above note about academics - we'll be going back when we can.

*Edited to correct German. No more blogging late at night for me!


  1. Are you using the Ikea in Sandhofen?

    Because the one in Walldorf is comparably easy to get to even by bus - take the 720 down to Walldorf, switch to the one to Walldorf-West there (705, 706?). Or just take that one from Walldorf S-Bahn station. Takes about 30-40 mins from Bismarckplatz.

    Slightly smaller than the one in Sandhofen though.

  2. Is Ikea on Saturday, then, a new part of your Levels of Hell? :)
    (The hell itself is Lidl on Sunday at Innsbrucker Platz, Berlin, anyway.)

  3. Ikea hell, oh yeah, been there and done that (repeatedly, you would think we'd learn)

  4. The Ikea we go to in Hamburg is crowded all the time - weekdays, weekends, doesn't matter. They opened up a new one on the east side of the city, and it didn't dent the traffic a bit.

    The flip side of Ikea is that nobody can afford furniture anymore that's worth passing on. It's become disposable like everything else.

  5. LOL on using the Hefeweizen glass as a flower vase! But not anymore, eh?

    Yeah, those Snille chairs are, um, crap. We bought one each for our kids and they (the chairs, not the kids) started to crack and bend almost right away. Oh well. You can do a lot worse than IKEA for some stuff, though.

  6. Kato: It was the one in Walldorf but I've been to both - whichever one we can get a ride to! :) I've heard about the bus line, but would only do that for small stuff, or for an order so big it's worth the delivery fee!

    Sandy: It should be!! ;) There exists a Lidl that's open on Sundays??

    Andrea: Somehow we never learn either. :)

    Ian: Was furniture worth passing on affordable in the past? Man, I missed out then. Damon's dad makes furniture as a hobby so we have really benefited there, but it really bothers him when we buy cheap, throwaway furniture. But how can we afford anything else?

    Christina: I'm hoping this Snille will hold out. Maybe I should have just gotten a third seat while we were there just in case, eh?

  7. I think the worst part of Ikea is getting home and knowing that you have to get 900 lb of plywood up to your apartment.

  8. As for affordable...

    Visit Segmüller in Seckenheim/Neuostheim. I think it's about the only ("normal") place in the region where they actually have signs up with 5-digit prices (as in "complete living room assembly - 15 grand"). Furniture only, no appliances of course.

    But the stuff is damn worth it. And unlike Ikea they deliver for free ;-)

  9. Ah yes, IKEA. Every expats new friend. I had never heard of the store until we moved here. Our first ten days, Max and I were there 20 times.

  10. Mary: That stuff is seriously heavy!!

    Kato: Ooh, free delivery you say? :D Do they have the things for the bed that go under the mattress?

    Diane: I think my will to shop would be completely gone after 20 Ikea trips in 10 days!!

  11. OH SANDY! You are soooo right about that Innsbrucker Platz thing. Try the Hauptbahnhof... Kaisers, Rossmann and a pharmacy... you will feel positively spoiled.

    The thing I enjoy most about IKEA is sitting in the parking lot. There is an evil part of me that LOVES to watch people figure out that the HUGE Lattenroste they just bought are NEVER going to fit in their car. Is that schadenfreude? Tee hee hee...

  12. Ikea on a saturday deserves mention in Dante's seventh circle of hell. They could be giving shit away for free and I wouldn't be enticed to go...

  13. CN: Yes, it's inside a subway station. I guess that's why they have a permission to open on Sundays...

    Snooker: Thanks, I didn't know. I'll try those ones at Hauptbahnhof...


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