Saturday, April 26, 2008

Retail Overload

Within the last 24 hours I have been to both West Elm and IKEA, both for the very first time. I feel like I'm in AT source overload.

Our local 'destination' shopping area has a brand new West Elm. We were out and about for a walk and decided to check it out. The store is brand new and the staff are still new, so everyone was still bright and shiny and friendly. The current color pallet has a ton of orange, which is cool. I'm considering more orange for the master bedroom and bath. E LOVED the glass puffer fish. Yes they had glass pufferfish. She wanted to kiss them. We got out without breaking anything.

It was a bit strange to see so many items I've only seen online in real life. The store was nice but I did not see anything that I really wanted.

This morning we headed south to the new Ohio IKEA. I've been wanting to go for ages. I had an online shopping card all filled with items I wanted to see in person. So with AT book, directions, house list and shopping cart list in hand we headed to IKEA.

The drive was not bad at all and the kids did great. The West Chester IKEA is set back in an Industrial Parkway. Finally the giant IKEA sign looms above you welcoming you to Swedish flat pack goodness.

We get there around 11Am, plenty of parking. Walk in and are pretty much immediately overwhelmed. Remember we have never been in one before. It was similar to the first time Dave and I visited a Babies R Us, totally overwhelmed.

We pick up a catalog and a shopping bag. Then we realize there is child care like at Giant Eagle. E was HOT to check out the child care area. I was a bit taken aback that they did not ask to see ID. Since it was a Saturday E was only permitted to stay 30 minutes, not very long.

E skipped off happily to play and the rest of us headed upstairs for the display area.

The display area was interesting. Little vignettes of product set up as little dining rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, etc. There were even a few 'home' set ups, one was less then 300 square feet, the other less then 600 square feet. Lots of IKEA, only IKEA, EVERYWHERE>

In the AT book Maxwell cautions against furnishing a room from only one store, you should mix things up. You mix your family pieces with your new acquisitions. Not everything has to be expensive or cheap. Variety is good.

It's not that the IKEA items are bad, they are what they are, it was the saturation, the concentration of so much IKEA in one place that made me agree with Maxwell. Variety is good. It was so overwhelming. I had a hard time finding the items on my list.

Thirty minutes flew by and we needed to go retrieve E from the child care area. It seems she had fun but said she did not make any friends, which is odd for her, she is a social butterfly.

With E in tow we head back upstairs to get lunch. Lunch was decent, reasonably priced and ok, not amazing but ok. H got to try out an Antilop highchair. The Antilop was surprisingly sturdy and easy to clean up. If we still needed a highchair for everyday use I'd get one. Pleasant surprise.

After luch we checked out the children's area a bit. I was determined to stick to my list and not compulsion shop. I was looking for a shoe storage solution for E's room. We found a hanging net basket thing for 4.99 in pink of course. I did go off list once. I bought H a plastic potty for 2.99. We are not ready to start potty training but it's not too early to have it out and about.

We ventured downstairs. Ok, now I started finding things. The curtain panels I was considering for the bedroom were not what I expected. They are literally panels of fabric. You have to buy extra hardware to hang them. Again not bad, just not what I expected. We found clothes hangers. Which looked ok in the store but were not very impressive once I got them home and unwrapped. Again not bad, just not great. I suppose great for 3.50 for 8.

The sheepskin rugs did not disappoint. Dave and I have been wanting to get one for ages. Also bought a rug pad for safety.

I had to go through the kitchen area quickly, so much temptation. Had to stick to the list. With the exception of the potty we kept to the list.

We did not have room for anything larger so we looked but did not seriously consider any furniture. As it was our purchases all snug in a reusable IKEA bag, which I am in love with, fit just fine in the back with the stroller.

As we passed King's Island on the way back home we noticed it was open. Rats. We have season passes to redeem but I did not bring the paperwork with me, not thinking we would be able to go. Soon.

Overall it was a good trip. I have IKEA out of my system now. I think I'd built it up in my mind to be something bigger, and yes it was big, especially the warehouse. OMG it was huge. In person the furniture is ok, not awful, but not amazing. I think it depends on how you present it, along with all of your other stuff in your home and not in a showroom.

After yesterday and today's shopping trips I am compelled to go used, vintage, resale, hand me down, gifted, whatever you want to call it. I really prefer older pieces with back story, ok not when it comes to mattresses. Now it's a matter of finding where to go. Here in Columbus it is all about NEW, new homes, new shopping, new cars! Now to figure out where to get not so new.

After being cooped up in the car for 3 hours we spent some time in the backyard. Dave marked out and mowed a bocce court. We went with 10x50 instead of the regulation 10x70 due to space constraints. E colored Italian flags on the corner stakes. For our use it's perfect. Far from 'tournament' standard but we don't play that much and don't play competitively. If we do start playing more and enjoy the makeshift court we will consider something more permanent. For now it's perfect.

Oh and H has a new skill. He can climb up on top of tables if there is a chair nearby.



Kt said...

Wah! The IKEA adventure was riveting! And Henry's new skill makes me nervous even from 2.5 hours away.

Sourire11 said...

I haven't been to that Ikea yet. We've only ever gone to the Pittsburgh one - but I agree - totally overwhelming. We always end up buying way more than we should and never seem to get what we needed in the first place.