All Hail the Swedes

So I determined after careful analysis and informal surveying of the many groovy business women in the Tampa Bay area that I was officially the last woman in this part of the world that had yet to step foot inside IKEA of Tampa. Instead of bemoaning this fact, I saw it as an opportunity!

Five to Try for May – #3 IKEA

I’d been warned that I would need to carve out some serious time for my visit. When I mentioned to a friend that I had considered going last month when I had about 30 minutes to spare before hitting the road, she looked at me with incredulousness and I think, a little scorn, too. “Are you kidding?” she said. “You need at least an hour, maybe two hours.”

Really? I was shocked. To shop? But I don’t even like to spend that long doing something I enjoy let alone shopping, an activity that is not on my list of favorite ways to spend an afternoon.

I heeded her advice and left the visit for another day when I would have at least an hour free to roam the halls of this Swedish megagiant.

Then, I learned that roaming was nowhere near what would take place when I went.

“Oh, you can’t just go to a section you want to browse. You have to follow arrows all around the whole store,” another friend told me.

And then it hit me. THIS is why IKEA is the giant they are. Pure genius. While not practical and definitely not consumer-friendly for forcing visitors to dilly-dally through the store to get to their place of need, they could subconsciously tempt you along the way with all of these things you didn’t need by forcing you to walk past absolutely everything and even encourage you to work up an appetite by positioning the restaurant not at the front of the establishment like most stores do but conveniently halfway through your grand shopping tour- so you feel compelled to take a break, rest your paws and get a quick bite or refreshment before conquering floor 2.

Brilliant. Absolutely flippin’ brilliant.

I had them beat at that last attempt to wear me down, having just devoured a tasty Greek salad at the Acropolis in Ybor City, so no visits to the restaurant for me and certainly no Swedish meatballs for this vegetarian. But I will hand it to IKEA, they definitely know how to setup rooms. While I really do have a future need for a new entertainment center for our family room, bigger bookcases and coffee tables, their lush and homey setups did prompt me to wonder if I should accelerate my own timetable for purchasing these.

Hmm… sure I have a tax payment to make next month, but we could really use that TV stand.

Their colorful displays and in some cases, whimsical showcases drew my eye, and I found myself “shopping” for things I didn’t even need. Sofas, chairs, kids’ room accessories… but I don’t even have kids!

I was impressed. Tired as heck after forty-five minutes of hiking from arrow to arrow but impressed. I almost bought a few cheap incidentals and knick-knacks downstairs near the registers, but I resisted and didn’t buy anything. I know that’s extremely hard to believe for many of my friends but it’s true. That’s not to say I don’t envision myself returning in the future – hubby beside me – and doing furniture shopping for those areas in our house which need a serious makeover. Yes, that will definitely be happening. But I’m just happy that I finally did it – I sampled the bizarre shopping experience that is IKEA.

Best of all, I lived to blog about it with the same amount of cash in pocket when I left.



  1. Hi Chris,

    I am still reading your blog! If you have any doubts about IKEA I am here to tell you that I have everything from frying pans to flooring in my house that comes from IKEA…the quality is fantastic, some of my chairs are about 12 years old and spent most of that time on our outdoor porch. I replaced the cushions and they are good as new. I am lusting after a sofa I saw there awhile ago, and as soon as I have collected the cash I’m getting it.

    By the way, did you hear that I have been named, Art Curator of the Gallery at Carrollwood Cultural Center? A great step forward for me!



    • Author

      Gainor, How wonderful to hear the good news… and especially how wonderful to hear from you again. I’m so happy that you’re getting a charge out of my crazy rants and antics here at the blog. The creative madness continues in various ways… Yes, IKEA was certainly an experience and I do believe I will return. I don’t question the quality of their goods—just their fiendish ways of getting me to pass by and drool over every single item I can’t afford to buy! HA… Congrats on the great new responsibility at the Gallery. I do hope to be trying out some new classes again at the Center perhaps later this summer or fall…thanks for writing!~CK

      • I will look forward to seeing you in my afternoon drawing class! This will be a great adventure for you….I will teach you how to deal with perspective and proportion, everything you need to create drawings for our Student show next year!

        Love your sunflower maze article.


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