Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The most expensive cheap furniture you'll ever buy

Well, we made it through IKEA. What an exhausing experience.

Now, I can't say enough good things about IKEA's customer service. This is not merely an example of excellent service: it is, in fact, a transplantation of Swedish culture, and you experience a little bit of culture shock. Every detail of the store is carefully thought out. They have paper rulers, pencils and list forms at the front of the store. The whole store is laid out on a single path, so people can walk straight through and be sure of seeing everything. The consideration given to families is mind-boggling: there is special parking at the front of the store for shoppers with small children, and a special play area for kids, monitored by adults who will page you if your kids need help. There are boxes of twine in the loading areas to help people tie down their loads, and even cardboard kits to build your own temporary roof racks.

It was probably the first time I really seriously considered that another country's culture might actually be better at delivering goods and services than America. I never even realized I had that belief until now.

All that being said . . . you pay a high price for all that cheap furniture. We had our ordeal with getting a U-Haul truck, which I wrote about earlier. Janet discovered that she had lost her wallet, and we had a panicked half-hour before we contacted the Natural History Museum and discovered it had been turned in there. It took all day -- from the moment they opened their doors until they were turning off the lights -- for us to find everything we wanted. We had a mad dash through the warehouse, pulling all the items on our list, and eventually steering four flat carts into the checkout. We had so many items that we hit the maximum number of items the computer system allowed on a single transaction; we had to break it into two transactions. As we're loading the truck we realize that we had almost forgotten one of the flat carts. While we were loading we discoverd that two of the biggest items (a bunk bed and a recliner) had been doubled on our order, and now we had to deal with unloading and returning items, even while the parking lot is emptying out. All this, while juggling two alternatively hyper and exhausted kids.

Then, the drive back home, arriving at 2:30 am. Oy.


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