I jumped on the bandwagon and went to the new Ikea in Jacksonville. Despite the possibility of no parking, massive crowds and shopping mazes. I had my roomie with me and we were ready for an adventure. So why not?
People in Jax had been talking about it for months. It’s happening. It’s coming. The grand opening is finally here! The catologues showed up in our mailboxes like personalized invitations to a new home furnishings theme park. The buzz was big and the boxy building even bigger.
We headed to the new blue lego of shopping complexes to take on Ikea.
A Labyrinth of Living Goods
It had opened about 4 days prior, so we assumed things had settled down a bit. Less crowds but plenty of fanfare is what we hoped for. The first obstacle was parking, which was a bit of a cluster, but we stuck it out and took some sneaky U-turns that got us to parking in front of the store. Avoiding the shuttle madness and heading in on foot, we breathed in and hoped for the best.
Sure there were plenty of people. Yes, kids were running all over and parents chasing them or calming the crying ones… but the mood was still rich with anticipation, and we were able to maneuver toward the showroom floor. It perfect Ikea fashion, we were able to peruse the tiny room examples, leading us to dream of matching paint, edgy, utilitarian design and cheap furniture that was yet unbroken. What wonders we say – closets that were so neat without clothing. Desks, perfectly ordered without papers scattered about. Neatly made beds. Flawless counters and curtains devoid of windows. We meandered and twisted through the labyrinth of living goods. We were able to not get lost or too tired. Sure there was some decisions making about the order of our exploration…I said no shortcuts or you end up lost! But Irene had been there before and guided me to the next section. We walked by a live band playing in the cafeteria and a chaos of trays and family bumping into each other. The room smelled of meatballs and hungry shoppers. We decided to dance through and explore the next section.
Beyonce and Delivery Dilemmas
I found a few fun items – a plant, a watering can (not the super modern one Irene suggested), a lampshade and a ladle. Irene picked out a plant, a cool lamp and a few other small items. I shower her how you take a pic of the item number, then find the aisle later. She bought a white end table for her room. I decided it was time to get the mattress I’d been needing. I talked to an employee beside the aisles of boxed furniture who helped me set up the mattress delivery order. She said all I had to do was pay for it and it would be delivered the following Saturday.
Unfortunately my last dealings with Ikea were quite unpleasant. The delivery was a bit botched. It took an hour of waiting on hold to figure out when it was scheduled. But I was told it could come Friday. On Thursday no one called to confirm (which they said they would), and when I called I was told they couldn’t reschedule. Yes, I did eventually get my delivery and the item was in perfect condition, but it was an awful hassle figuring out the time and both the 3rd party delivery company and Ikea customer service were no help. You win some, you lose some. With mass production and a hugely popular new store, one expects some setbacks.
Fortunately the excursion itself – visiting the new store -had no hint of the delivery confusion.
As Irene and I went to check out we had the pleasure of enjoying some fantastic jams courtesy of the DJ posted at the front of the check out area. With old school hip-hop, def some Beyonce and maybe Nsync, playing we made it through the lines easily. The cashier told me I might need to go to the home delivery line, but probably not since I had scheduled the day. A little confused about when my mattress would be delivered, my roomie and I danced out of the store and declared it a successful trip. We even made plans to hear the DJ play at The Wreck by the beach later that night.