Sunday, January 29, 2006

IKEA Reconnaissance

I've been waiting for an IKEA to come to Boston for years so I've been itching to get to the new one in Stoughton, MA since it opened in November. LaLa and I have grand plans to turn our small back bedroom into a useful space (storage, maybe guest-friendly) and we think IKEA is just the place to help us with that. We don't quite have the money saved aside yet but we thought we could use a trip there to get aquainted with things in person, get some ideas and hell some Swedish meatballs. Yesterday afternoon, we decided, was the day.

Apparently, so did 43 bajillion other Bostonians.

What should have been a 20 minute drive turned into various circles of hell once we got off the exit and had to start creeping toward IKEA (and Jordan's...and Home Depot...and the Christmas Tree shop - what genius planner came up with that idea?). It's not all over once you reach the parking lot...where parking anarchy ensues. I think we were lucky since we only spent about 10 minutes driving around looking for a spot.

I had naively theorized that no IKEA experience could be as crowded and anxiety producing as the time we went to the one in Newark the day after Christmas (I *told* you I was *desperate*!) and. Well. I was totally wrong. And me without a prescription for Paxil.

The upshot is that I survived (without pharmacuticals) and I still love that store. I went in looking for information, a desk lamp, a catalog and meatballs. I got a really cute and functional light for $8 ($5 lamp, $3 for 2 bulbs) and splurged on a $2 ice cube tray (no, it wasn't Gucci). We ended up with tons of ideas for our home that won't break the bank. We spent $13.06 on our "dinner out": gravlax on a bed of mixed greens, a medium swedish meatballs with fries (wooohooo!) and two drinks. Of course...we forgot the catalog. Oops.

What I am most excited about is the promise of good design for affordable prices. Once we get the catalog, we can make our plan (what to buy, how to prioritize, and how much cash we'll need). Our next step is to make sure we save that money before heading back there. A year ago it would have ALL gone on a credit card...and stayed there.

However, next time I think we'll go on a weekday.

IKEA in the Personal Finance Blogosphere:
I think Jane Dough went on a better day than I did
Uncle Bill has a little info on what $1700 will buy you at IKEA


  1. Ouch on the traffic headaches but YEA to the bargain finding and planning for future spending.

    I think my trip was less headachey because I arrived at the store before the noon hour. I think the key is to try to get and park in the lot right before 10AM when it opens. That way you should be leaving at Noon or 1PM just as most of the hoards have arrived. But at least you got some of those meatballs. The line was so long at the cafe that we skipped that part on my trip.

    I am planning another excursion in March to get some window treatments and perhaps some more storage. I may try for a weekday as well to see if that cuts down on the crowds...

  2. Oh, how could you buy such a declassé non-Gucci ice cube tray!?!
    Otherwise, sounds like a great trip. Brooklyn in getting an Ikea in 2007 and it's VERY controversial, as they are putting it in Red Hook, a quiet waterfront neighborhood where people don't want all that traffic coming through. We'll see how it turns out, but in the meantime you have to take the bus to New Jersey. But for a $5 lamp, I might go to New Jersey.

  3. When I went to the IKEA in Newark, (with my ex husband) we were followed by the NJ police. We were pulled over for no reason other than that we were young minorities driving a nice car. (We both worked, so what's the problem?) After being harassed and told that we were not welcome in NJ and that they would kick out a--es back over to the other side of the bridge (NY)-well we vowed to never visit IKEA again! Several years before I had had a similar experience with my previous boyfriend. He had a brand new car, (gift from parents) and we were pulled over and harassed as well. Why can't minoroties drive nice cars?
    IKEA needs to really think about where they put there stores and make it easier for everyone (including traffic issues)...
    I love IKEA and everything, but I'm not going back to NJ!

  4. I haven't been to the IKEA yet in Stoughton but got tied up in the traffic on Rt 24 trying to get home from the in-laws on a Sunday afternooon the first weekend it openned up.

    I guess I don't know the novelty of IKEA just remember some guy waiting 2 weeks outside to get a $5k gift certificate.

    I think I will wait until I actually need something from there before shopping rather than window shopping and buying stuff I don't need.

  5. Supermom...what a HASSLE...ugh! And that ikea (way more than the one in suburban boston that's for sure) was full of ALL sorts of folks (it was like the UN in there...colors, languages, economic status)

    Though I did hear a lot of different languages at the boston one...that was kind of neat.

  6. meatballs!

    and the leaf. we are so getting me my leaf next time...

  7. Go during the week! Friday nights are usually reserved for partying-like activities, but we headed out to an ikea once, and parked within skipping distance to the front door. Surreal.

    Still haven't had those meatballs yet.

  8. Mmmmm... Ikea. :) My entire apartment was also done cheaply a la Ikea.

    I find it so funny they have a kiddie holding pen there.

  9. Friday night! Why didn't I think of that? We used to go to Costco on Fri night and it was nearly empty. We could quickly do our shopping and became a monthly "date night" of sorts. Of course...since it was easy to "browse" we ended up spending about $200/trip sooooo we stopped Friday Costco Date Nights ;)

  10. I must be the only person that doesn't love Ikea. I first went about four years ago, and I've been twice since. I have two tables that I bought there (both are crappy quality) and some picture frames and candle thingies. I don't really like the cheap look/feel of their items, I'd much prefer spending the same amount at a garage or estate sale, or even antique store, and buy something of good quality.

  11. you're probably not the only one :) I like modern, contemporary furniture and I just can't get it at yard sales in boston (believe me...i'd MUCH rather have the real stuff and less of it) and when you do find it used, it's quite pricey.

    But I think you have to be careful at IKEA, there are a LOT of things I won't consider buying because they seem of low quality and/or they look cheap.

    I do think it can be useful for folks starting out (recent grads etc) as long as you don't break the long term bank buying items that won't last. If you have a modest budget to bridge to when you can afford high quality furniture than you love, it can help.

    but it's not a silver bullet...I just think it's more popular with folks who like this style and have limited ways of aquiring it :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...