We went to the Port Authority and arrived at door #5. That’s we saw them. Hundreds of them. Yacking on cell-phones. Hoarding the oxygen. Bulbous and porous handfuls of sweaty flesh. Bellies soft with stupidity.
“This isn’t the fucking line is it?” I asked. “This can’t be the line.”
It stretched to Harlem. I was pretty sure we’d never make it on the bus. The line was too goddamn long. But as it disappeared through door #5, it appeared as though we might make it on. Suddenly, however, the line stopped right as we were about to board.
“No more seats,” said the woman in charge. “Only standing room.”
“Standing room?” we both asked in unison. “What the hell is standing room?”
But before she could answer, the crowd behind us had nudged us aboard. We discovered that "standing room" meant two things:
1) Standing in the middle of the isle of the charter bus
2) Holding on for your fucking life.
I gripped and held. For we were aboard and on our way. On the free Ikea bus to Jersey.
It reminded me of the time I was late for my train in Europe and had to ride in the cargo car. Only now I felt more like a chihuahua's ass drippings.
“This feels European,” I commented to the Rican.
“Why?” he asked.
“I don’t know. Carpooling to a destination seems like a responsible thing a European would do. If we were big, stupid Americans we’d be driving to Ikea, polluting the air with big, stupid gas guzzlers.”
“No.” He shook his head as we stood in the crowded middle isle. “It doesn’t feel European. It feels Mexican.”
When we arrived, we discovered that Ikea is probably Mexico’s cousin. Cheap stuff, little order, and delinquent children overran the floor, like they were auditioning for the movie, City of God. (Yeah, I know that’s Brazil.) As I watched the swarms of screaming kids circle around the floor, I had only one thought. What the fuck were these parents thinking, bringing their kids along to Ikea? Because really. What were they going to add to the experience? Will the sleeping infant be able to help the arguing parents come to a decision between a new chartreuse throw or an extra set of curtains? Will the screaming toddler be able to provide insights on wallpapering Vs hiring a painter? Or were they really there to do the duty they seemed to be sent there to perform: stomping on my feet.
“I’m getting my tubes tied tomorrow,” I leaned over and whispered to the Rican. In the country of chaos, I was trying my best to eliminate any confusion.
But despite the disorder, we had to focus. Screaming bastards or not, it was time to turn our new home into Omm.
(Wow. I am super gay.)
After a few hours, we had to put a temporary hold on the torture in order to refurnish our empty stomachs. The only option for food was the Ikea cafeteria, so we grudgingly joined the line of oversized customers eager to stuff their faces with Swedish meatballs.
As we picked up our trays, I couldn’t help picturing the Swedish chef from the Muppets preparing the food. But when I took my first bite, I realized that my imagination was pretty accurate.
“This food looks like it would be good,” The Rican observed. “But when you eat it, it’s just crap.” This was becoming a common theme. The beds seemed stylish and comfy, but were like sleeping on top of a snoring grandpa. The pots and pans looked functional, but during cooking, the handles get hot and bite you. And the although the food, appeared tasty, it could have only been prepared by a chef with the brain of a puppet.
Hours pass. Days maybe. Lamps. Loveseats. Spatulas. It's a blur. All I know is that it ended. So we found a sales associate and asked him how we could get out furniture and end the pain, man!
"Oh you guys gotta go back and get da shit."
You mean the fucking giant sofas and shelves? ....we, uh... we just wanna get it delivered.
"I know, but you gotta get one of dees carts and, you know, put da shit on it, and take it over there," he said, pointing to a line of people that stretched to Rhode Island.
We thanked him, checked the time and realized it would be totally fucking impossible to order our furniture and board the last bus to New York before it abandoned us in this hell. Frustrated, we marched out the door and quickly boarded our last chance for escape. As we sat down, thankfully securing seats this time, I looked down at the bag I was carrying. And I realized, uh…we never got in line. We, um…
“Babes…we didn’t pay for shit.”
We just jacked Ikea. Looking around to check for swat teams, I felt bit of tugging in the pit of my stomach. At first I thought my super strict Christian upbringing was making me feel bad for stealing. But upon closer examination I realized it was not guilt but regret.
“Damnit,” I said to the Rican, “Why didn’t we take more?!”
But there wasn’t room for anything else. Cause everybody left their common courtesy behind in favor of mexi-packing the bus full of overcrowding shit. Bags were the size of obese Americans. Cardboard boxes seemed to stretch as long as backyard diving boards. And then, of course – children.
As I listened to a screaming toddler while simultaneously being poked by the corner of a flat cardboard box scrunched next to my seat, I started to realize that children were a lot like the items sold at Ikea. Lunch looked yummy but tasted like a Dr. Scholl’s shoe insole (used.) The beds had comfy potential, but felt like sleeping on old man flesh (hairy.) So then there’s the kid. He looks cute and cuddly, but he’ll start screaming his fucking fuzzy head off when you forget to do the littlest thing. Like feed him. Even once! Forget Swedish meatballs, this is false advertising at its most misleading.
“Well,” said the Rican, trying to raise his voice above the decibel of the screaming child, “at least we got all this shit for free.”
For a second I agreed that our heist made it all worth it. But then my toe got smushed for the eight time by an out-of-control toddler. Nothing is free, bitches. Nothing. Not even stolen pillows.
Update: I'm pretty pumped you guys all hate Ikea as much as me. Feel free to share your miserable stories and keep the comments coming. Maybe Ikea will see it and feel compelled to clean up their act. But, maybe not...