Melissa Kite Melissa Kite

Real life | 15 November 2012

Ikea is a totalitarian state. When you drive under the overhanging barrier preventing reasonably sized vans from gaining access to its car park you are entering sovereign territory. Should you get stranded in Ikea for any number of reasons, the best way out is to call the British consulate. Alternatively, you might try the Ecuadorian embassy. I hear they are very good. In any case, I got stranded in Ikea. This is my story.

The spare room was nearing completion, so Stefano the Albanian builder and I went to buy a day bed. Stefano manfully crashed his van straight into the overhanging barrier, then drove the wrong way up the ramp with cars tooting. It was brilliant, like being in The A-Team.

Inside, we trudged round the one-way system display rooms three times in both directions until we found the day beds, making us both ecstatic. I then had to let Stefano have a chicken dinner in the canteen, whereupon he insisted I try the meatballs drenched in taupe-coloured gravy that tasted of caramel.

Still refusing to be traumatised, I led Stefano another three times the wrong way round the display rooms into Market Hall, where we managed to survive not finding a single curtain that fit any of my windows, nor any kind of candle that didn’t smell of cherries or caramel, or both, whilst also pointlessly buying a series of tiny glass tumblers costing 50p each.

We then ventured into the really rogue part of the state where a bloody civil war is always raging, also known as The Self-Service Furniture Area. Within seconds, desperate people, mostly women and the old, were begging Stefano for help but we had to ignore them. It was heart-breaking.

Gripping our ticket to freedom — the aisle and location numbers of the day bed — we pushed our two trolleys stuck together up and down until it seemed that aisle 11 location 30 might be a ploy to keep refugees from DIY detained for ever in tiny tumbler-buying perpetuity.

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