IKEA goes low-brow

In moving I needed to get a couple of things furniture-wise. I’m a big fan of things that are designed well, but shopping at Design Within Reach www.dwr.com one can find their salary to soon be something that is not within reach. It’s great looking stuff, but the prices are just nuts. So, of course, one turns to somewhere that has things that look a lot like DWR but are much less in quality and thusly, price. I’m of course talking about IKEA – www.ikea.com. That Swedish transplant to the USA which has for some reason managed to fool people in to thinking they’re getting great stuff at great prices while they’re really paying $200 for a plank of particle board. And yes, it’s us in the US who are pretty crazed about this place. An article in the Chronicle recently went in to great depth on how caught up we are with this blue and yellow furniture megastore, while Swedes and other Europeans could give a rip.
Curious as to the whole state of IKEA and my pocketbook, we went to the store in Emeryville, which was the first on in the SF Bay Area. Ever since it opened, it’s been packed with people. I’m sure that it must make money up the wazoo. Something interesting though is that it used to have a rather normal clientelle at it. There were people that you wouldn’t ming associating with who were just looking for something cheap to fill a void or looking for furniture that their kids could destroy while they saved up for something that would be more substantial in the future.
That was all before the store in Aplo Alto opened. Ever since then, it seems that anyone who is middle to upper class goes the Palo Alto store and nothing but the lowest, dirtbagging degenerates who can’t get anywhere near to pronouncing the names of the furniture correct, let alone realize that they can’t buy a remaindered piece of furniture with food stamps.
Surely I’m exaggerating? Unfortunately not. The scene I saw when I was there looked like something out of the 1st of the month grocery store lines in my hometown. It was refreshing to see that smacking your children in public and screaming at them like they’re dogs isn’t something that is purely reserved for my hometown. It was alarming however that these people do actually exist in the Bay Area. As to where they live, I have no clue, since rent ain’t cheap here.
I think what really got me was that there were people who, despite the fact that IKEA is pretty damned cheap, they were trying to haggle on furniture that had a slight ding to it in roder to get it even cheaper. The joke was on them if they bought it of course, since those of us who are seasoned vetereans of the Big I know that even the slightest disturbance to the assembly matrix that surrounds the 200+ parts in an average installation will cause it to spontaneously combust upon any attempt of construction. In other words, buy slightly broken IKEA and get yourself some very expensive firewood.