I have been Ikea’d.
I took my first trip to the Denver Ikea last week. It’s massive. Larger than you can imagine. Two floors of parking just for one shop. It doesn’t even feel like a store — arriving at Ikea feels like arriving at an airport. You traverse the multilevel parking garage and then trek to the entrance lined with loading and unloading areas. You expect to hear “the white zone is for loading and unloading only.”
From the bottom parking lot, you take two escalators to the entrance, where you take a third to the showroom. Right as you step off, you have the choice of viewing pristine housing set pieces or checking out the cafe. Since I was traveling with my kids, I decided to grab a bite.
I had crazy cheap lox (I’m still alive and it was quite good) while the kids had chicken fingers (free). On my second cup of coffee — did I mention how much I like coffee — I realized that I could easily convince myself I was on a generational ship (perhaps it’s a Buy More ship). That was the first sign I was starting to lose it. The airport appearance and the sense of departure you feel in the store is no fluke!
First there is the egalitarian re-use oriented cafe: there are no throw away plates, utensils or cups. You only use things that can be washed and re-used. You bus your own table.
There were young people, old people, hipsters, moguls, and bargain hunters. And everyone is cleaning their own mess. There is a sense of a closed system and everyone has to work to keep together to keep it running. I know this is part of the marketing. But, it works!
You have giant elevators. What giant ship doesn’t have these?
The small but comfortable living quarters:
The truly massive ship’s hold:
It’s quite an experience. I could have staying and enjoyed the lamps and the retro futuristic themes for hours!
There are places that really strive to wow you, or at least give you a different and somewhat disorienting experience: casinos in Vegas, the perpetual store in Downtown Disney, and it seems, Ikea.
It is as if Ikea perpetually runs on Apple’s reality distortion field. It’s a great place to visit. Just make sure you go with a someone with a good head on their shoulders who can lead you back out again.