The couch I’m sitting on is from IKEA. The company with amusing adverts that sells crappy furniture made by Chinese children. Why do I occasionally support them? Because they’re cheap. I’m cheap. Spending thousands of Crowns at a real furniture store, just for somewhere to rest my arse, is nonsense. This couch does its job. I can sit here a few minutes every day and stare into the oven, because we don’t own a TV. When we have guests they can spend the night developing chronic back pain and, with any luck, they’ll never come back.
Being inside IKEA is strangely calming. Their exhibitions of various functional kitchens, tidy bedrooms and neat homes has a soothing effect. This does, however, create the feeling that you’ve invaded someone’s personal space – someone else’s home. But as a South African I’m comfortable with breaking and entering. In fact, it brings a smile to my face along with a warm sense of nostalgia. I can feel the African sun shining through the window, sirens wailing, police dogs barking and the occasional gunshot. Swedish couples walk past, pretending not to see me as I stand smiling in a bathroom suite with my head tilted slightly back, eyes closed, hands in pockets. They’ll never understand.
IKEA has a very convenient restaurant. Also very necessary as there is no “quick trip to IKEA.” A bit like Hotel California. Couples are doomed to spend at least half the day there. Most of which will be spent arguing about whether or not you really need a set of sun chairs.
“They’re so cheap, let’s just get them!”
“That’s what you said about the tiki torches!”
“But we’ll use the sun chairs.”
“We live in Sweden! The next time we’ll see the sun will be in Portugal!”
“We can give them to my mother.”
“They only take a max load of 200kg.”
“You’re such an arsehole!”
The tension eases as you sit at the restaurant and take in carbohydrates. I recommend the vego balls with rice. It’s cheap. The food is of surprisingly high quality, unlike the furniture. It’s also prepared by underpaid foreigners, like the furniture. You attempt apologies to each other, forget the comment about your walrus mother-in-law and try to ignore all the screaming children covered in ice-cream swarming your table. The noise and stale air aren’t helping your pounding headache. It’s time to vacate.
Leaving IKEA with products you never needed and additional emotional baggage, you’re both exhausted and the rest of your weekend is stuffed. Back to your crappy couch and whatever the Netflix producers have vomited onto the platform.