An IKEA story

A trip to IKEA almost always turns into an argument about money among couples. No matter how much you plan and budget you always come out of IKEA buying much more than you thought you would. This can be particularly challenging when you and your partner have different ideas about how much to spend on things.

Although we dread the shopping trip (the long drive, the crowds, the Swedish-ness) it finally came time for Andrew and I to return to IKEA. We needed things like a new dresser, a wardrobe and other great storage investments for our tiny two bedroom. Neither of us were looking forward to the trip because of what happened the last time we were there.

The last time we were at IKEA, Andrew had a bit of a meltdown. We were there just before Christmas to buy a futon for our guest bedroom. Andrew’s parents were coming to visit for the holidays and we decided that we needed to provide something a little more comfortable than our blow-up mattress (your welcome John and Shelley).

Why go to IKEA you may ask if it causes such stress? Because IKEA still offers the most affordable futon that is still comfortable… and we’re on a budget. So we drove to IKEA in our tiny Nissan and went in knowing we were there to drop some serious cash on some merchandise. After selecting a futon that was both comfy and in my opinion “chic” we then couldn’t decide on what fabric cover we wanted on it. There was the grey futon cover and a white one. I liked the white one, but it was $50 more than the grey one. While I tried to argue that the white cover would look better in our space, Andrew strongly opposed spending more money just for the “look” of something and insisted we get the grey cover. Ok fine. I gave in. This should have been my first clue that the air was especially tense. Much more than usual. Not between us… but between IKEA and Andrew.

As we made our way to the IKEA warehouse with our cart to pick up our new futon we soon realized that it’s large packaging would not fit into our tiny Nissan. This is something neither of us thought of. So I suggest checking to see how much home delivery is. I leave Andrew in the warehouse and head over near the cashiers, to the home delivery counter to see how much it will cost us. The price was $70 and it would be delivered next day. Not bad I think. I also think we have no other option. Problem solved right? Oh  how wrong I was.

I get back to Andrew in the warehouse and tell him the price of home delivery. He then starts scratching his chin and then rubbing his neck (never a good sign). He looks down at the futon in frustration, refusing to make eye contact with me. And I think uh-oh he’s not impressed as I was with the home delivery option. I don’t know why now, but I was still surprised by what he did next.

He told me he was convinced we could get it to fit in our car. If we folded down the seats. If we bought some bungee chords. If I sat with part of the futon on my lap in the passenger seat. I protested and mentioned we have no way of measuring the futon and knowing if this will actually fit. The box was quite large and the largest thing we had ever fit into our tiny car were skiis and snowboards and even that was a tight fit. But that’s when I saw it. The look in my husband’s eyes that told me, Ashly you are not going to win this fight… even if you are right. He will have to figure this one out for himself. So I do whatever any other good wife would do at this point. I sigh… nod my head, shrug my shoulders and say “OK. Let’s give it a shot.”

So first he took my scarf and attempted to measure the box with the length of my scarf, then left me in the warehouse with our unpaid futon, went out into the parking lot and measured the car. He came back 5 minutes later and declared “It will fit.”

We paid for the futon, wheeled it out to the cold parking lot (it is December in Canada remember?) and began by opening the trunk, folding down the back seats, lifting the box and shoving the box in. It didn’t fit. Andrew is shoving it in with his shoulder, then kicking it in and then shoving it in some more. Nope. Not gonna fit. This will never ever fit. His face  turned red in anger. At this point I thought OK, he understands now. It won’t fit and we’ll just take it back into the store and get home delivery.

Wrong again. Andrew suggests something to the effect of, We need to take it out of the box and then the futon frame and parts will fit. I am screaming in my head NO NO NO NO NO. But all I say aloud is, “OK.” So in the middle of this freezing parking lot, with the sun setting, we use our car keys to cut the tape, open this large box, take out the parts and the frame and try to fit it into the car. Again it doesn’t work. Andrew is muttering and swearing under his breath. I don’t know what he’s saying but I know it’s nothing I want to hear. And I keep wondering why $70 is such a big deal? We are already dropping a few hundred on this futon. We have the money. What is he getting so upset about? So I have to laugh… although I try to hide it, seeing that he is clearly and visibly upset. At this point people are walking by in the parking lot staring at us. I do my polite nod and smile as if to say, Everything is fine, thank you for noticing, we’ll be done shortly, we don’t need any assistance… great day isn’t it? Beautiful sunset. 

Finally, he says “OK, I think we need to get home delivery.” I think No shit sherlock. But all I say is, “OK.”

The funny thing is 2 weeks later Andrew proposed. Apparently the night we went and bought the futon was the week he was buying my engagement ring and he was stressing out just a little about money. Key word: a little.

And if you’re wondering… IKEA delivered the futon the next day as promised, Andrew set it up and it looks great in our guest bedroom.


4 thoughts on “An IKEA story

  1. Wow, you are super patient. I know if that was my boyfriend/husband I would have directed the way. I guess sometimes you just have to let them learn things the hard way and you still turn out to be the good guy 🙂 Congratulations on your engagement.

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