November 4th, 2007

head shot

Visit to an Alien World

OK, what is that thing to the left? If you guessed “the linen-wrapped mummy of a weirdly misshapen space alien,” you are not only incorrect; you also need to remove your plastic Star Fleet badge and get out of the house more. If you guessed “dress mannequin for a pregnant mermaid,” you are likewise incorrect and you have additionally flunked the Babysitter Test.

It is in fact a lamp, as I’m sure many of you knew. So why am I taking pictures of lamps? Were my still-life photos of artfully arranged office supplies getting me too worked up? Did I need a break from the excitement of my “Fluorescent Fixtures of the South Loop” series?

The truth of the matter is that I snapped this photo yesterday at the gigantic Ikea store in Schaumburg, Illinois. Perhaps visiting Ikea is old hat for you, but it was an entirely new experience for me.

(More text/photos below)

My first clue that this would be a shopping experience unlike any other should have been that bus parked outside the store. This place is a Destination (capitalization intentional) for hordes of people from all over. One of the cool things about walking around the place was the ever-shifting accents and languages wafting through the air. The foot traffic in there was like Union Station at rush hour. If you’re the sort of person who has problems with sensory overload, you should probably think twice before entering a place such as this.

Then there’s the sheer size of the place. I’m no good at area size estimates, so let me put it this way: Imagine a big store with enormous square footage. Now place three more stories of floor space on top of that one. It’s like that.

The range of merchandise was also noteworthy. There was some really attractive stuff in the way of home furnishings and kitchen equipment. A lot of it was priced quite reasonably too, so the fact that I managed to buy nothing more than a pack of light bulbs there says something about me. I hope it’s something good.

At the bottom end, I should point out that there was a sizable shelf filled with $5 table lamps. I found that if I put on my imaginary blinders and just focused on those lamps… they looked exactly like lamps that you might pay $5 for. To put it another way, they looked like 50¢ Salvation Army specials of the future. Maybe the near future. Still, they did bear the Ikea name, so if one were on a budget and wished to flaunt the Ikea name to the other folks in the trailer park, this would be a way of doing it.

So did I go all the way out to Schaumburg merely to buy some light bulbs? Not at all! This was just a side trip. The real reason I was out there was that one cool person asked me to come along to a party out in Elgin, where I met a whole bunch more cool people. I needn’t single them out here and now; they know who they are!
  • Current Music
    Jump Shout Boogie - Barry Manilow