Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Magic Kingdom...

The IKEA experience is for everyone who has ever longed to enter those roped-off home interior constructions so beloved of swanky department stores. Unlike these places, IKEA does not crush and humble you with grandeur and opulence. On the contrary, it is gratifying to leave behind scruffy, everyday life-on-the ground and enter a dreamland of streamlined fittings and tactile, muted fabrics. It is even more gratifying to know that you can reproduce this anodised world by buying the items. On the surface, IKEA is just like any department store. There is a familiarity about the sight of goods sold cheap and piled high, the gleaming cups and glasses, the towels, sheets and cushions. But soon, the subtle differences tweak at your consciousness. There are no departmental cash registers ringing merrily in tune with nonexistent piped muzak. Troops of obliging sales’ assistants and household brand names are just as conspicuous by their absence. The actual goods have an eerie look, as if everything has been made by elves and deposited untouched by humans in the vast caverns of the store. Like Alice’s descent into Wonderland, there is no escaping the walk-through that follows the showrooms. The constant stashes of acid-yellow nylon bags never let you forget the purpose of the footslog. When you surface at the end of the trail, the sight of the warehouse, the fast-food outlet and the play area nudges you back to reality. Now, the child in you has had its day and the actual children take over. With your money spent, it’s game up and party over.

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