I was planning to write about something else this week, and then I saw this post on Boston.com about Ikea deciding not to open a store in Somerville and decided to have a little rant instead. To those of you who don’t know the Assembly Square area or who haven’t had to travel to the closest Ikea, located inconveniently for us Bostonians in Stoughton, this may not seem like a big deal. And in the grand scheme of things, it certainly isn’t. But for someone forced by economics to buy many home goods and furnishings at this Swedish superstore, it is really irritating.
I have a love-hate relationship with Ikea that hovers around “strongly dislike”. This is entirely their fault because although they make decent cheap merchandise, they never have everything we need. They are supposed to have everything; that is what one is led to believe by the size and cheery colors of their ridiculous store and the enticing layouts in their catalogs. But this is far from the truth. We can go through the Showroom, for example, and spend an hour deciding that we like the white crib and dresser with some improbable name like Borkt, trip through the insane crowds of weekend Ikea shoppers, and go down to the Warehouse to pick the stuff up. When we get there, of course they are missing the dresser in white. They have every other size of the Borkt dresser in white, but not the size we need – that, or they are missing the side slats for the crib in white (but just the slats). Can they get item X for us? Sure, but we’ll have to come back to pick it up or pay for delivery. Do I look like I have extra money to throw away on the delivery? Or the extra time it will take me to return to pick up one piece of a crib?
Something like this this happens EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we go to Ikea, and let me tell you, we’ve been there a lot. While we were renovating our house, it seemed like every weekend for five months we were going to either Home Depot or Ikea. So they’ve had many chances to impress us by just once having exactly what we need. To answer your unasked question, I keep returning because I’m sucked in now, I’m part of the Ikea cult. I can’t break free because we misguidedly bought a light fixture that requires Ikea lights (doh!), and also, I like the $1 ice cream that tastes like sugared air. So it would have been nice to have a store in Somerville that’s twenty minutes away instead of fifty. Then at least we wouldn’t be stuck on a drive that’s just long enough for the kids to fall asleep but not long enough for them to have a decent nap, ensuring they wake up nice and angry.
I can’t say that I’m surprised this happened though. The promised Ikea that isn’t to be reminds me of the promised T stop in Union Square that has yet to materialize. With these things and the inflated costs of the Big Dig (for a laugh, see WBUR’s list of things that are surprisingly cheaper than the Big Dig), at times I wonder how Boston manages to get anything built at all. It’s one of the mysteries of living in this fair city.