Sunday, August 15, 2004

All about FSOs

So today I made a second pilgrimage in a week to my favorite purveyor of all things Swedish and flat. I had to go a second time because last weekend, I made an impulse purchase -- yes, yes, me who cannot commit to furniture, bought a small folding table on impulse -- and when I came home to set it up, that's when it all fell apart.

You see, this small folding table is pretty easy to set up. There are no weird looking wrench thingies, no odd shaped screws, no quirky pieces to line up. It's a folding table, so you literally unfold it and voila, it's functional. So I was pretty excited about the table, especially since I'd spent about 45 minutes in IKEA hauling the thing around. See, I was only running in for a moment with a friend who needed to pick something up. She left me alone and when I'm left alone in a store, I buy things.

An example of a thing I bought when left alone was a lovely rosewood carved elephant in Nice. I didn't actually need or want the elephant; it was just there, I admired it, and just out of casual conversation, I asked the street vendor, "Combien?" And he started to wrap it up for me. "Thirty-five euros," he said. I shook my head. "Too much," I said, "but it's very lovely." And then the street vendor said, "Twenty-five euros." I offered him a sad smile. "Sorry," I said. Anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up buying this wooden elephant that I didn't even want for 15 euros.

See, IKEA is just like a vendor with a blanket of pretty things. It's impossible to just walk by and restrain yourself to plain ooohs and ahhhhs when you have plastic in your wallet. And that's how I ended up buying the table (I also bought a spatula and a basket, but at 99 cents a pop, neither were a particularly angsty purchase). See, I saw the table when my friend ran off to chase a salesperson, and I was meandering around aimlessly. We were near the cash registers at the time, so I just picked up a table and then proceeded to walk through IKEA as if I didn't have a table under my arm. What I somehow forgot was that this was the new supersized IKEA, the size of two football fields; I have no idea how big one football field is, but this IKEA is pretty gosh darn large.

The way IKEA is set up, everyone goes in the same direction. You start on the second floor where all the furniture is, and then you somehow work your way to the first floor where all of the baubles, kitchenware, etc., are located. Traffic flows very well, unless you are the girl with a table under her arm going against everyone else. And I could totally tell that they were wondering how come I was going the wrong way and would I please get out of their yellow shopping bag-induced lust way and for God's sakes, what the heck was I doing without a shopping cart? Trust me, I was wondering the same thing myself.

Anyway, after roaming the two football fields, I turned around. By now, I was in serious trouble because I had added the aforementioned spatula and wicker basket to the table and I still didn't have a cart. I'd my eyes set on some pretty glassware, but given the circumstances, I figured it was best to get back to the cashier and locate my friend and thus, prevent any more damage from being done.

To make a long story short, I got home, tried the table out and just as I pushed the legs apart, what happens? The screw goes flying. Across the room, clear into the kitchen, to disappear forever and ever. To properly illustrate this, you must also know that there was a sound effect -- a kind of popping explosive metallic sound. There was trajectory, there was velocity, and magnitude; now you all know the truth, that IKEA tables also secretly masquerade as weapons of mass destruction. And like other famous WMDs, I still haven't found the dang thing.

Anyway, I went back to IKEA to exchange the table today, and this time, I decided to follow 'traffic' and start on the second floor and work my way down like all the other good IKEA shoppers. But halfway through the first football field, I got bored with the whole thing. I picked up three mini cheese graters and walked with them as the only item in my yellow shopping bag before tossing them aside somewhere in Linens. I looked at plants for a little while, before deciding to make a clean getaway altogether sans table. No more flying screw objects for me, thankyouverymuch.

Olympic link of the day: US Gymnasts Qualify for Finals.

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