This past Friday was a day I had been looking forward to for weeks-my big roadtrip to IKEA in Charlotte. My husband was off work for the day so he took the two older boys on a “Big Boy Day” while I took the baby with me.
It was a pretty easy 2.5 hour drive from our home and I arrived just after ten when they opened.
If I could have thought of someplace to put this little rolling kitchen cart I would have snapped it up in a heartbeat! I absolutely loved the turquoise color and the $49 price tag!
This chair was another piece that I would have bought if I could have figured out where to put it. It looked tiny but was sooooo comfortable when I sat in it. It definitely would have been too small for my husband but for $64 I would have loved to have it. Throw a cute pillow on it and it could have fit in any room (they had it in black too.) I had to keep reminding myself I could always come back once we’re moved in the new house to get things down the line!
At the end of the maze of showrooms was the Children’s IKEA section (more about this to come). This was one of the main reasons I had gone-I picked up quite a few things for the baby’s room and then headed downstairs to the Marketplace area. After maneuvering through the marketplace (they have carts at the bottom of the stairs) I headed to the Self-Serve area to pick up the larger items. This is what I ended up with all in all. (I was a quite a site pulling these two carts around by myself with the baby strapped to the front of me-I got quite a few comments!)
I managed to pull the carts to the checkout area and at this point I realized I had been in the store over two hours and I was about over it. I felt like a cow being herded about.
I didn’t realize that you should bring your own bags or be prepared to purchase them in the store (they are only 59 cents a piece but I wish I had known ahead of time-it was like that in Italy even at grocery stores by the way!) You also bag your own items after the ring them up. This was probably the most frustrating part of the trip for me as it was very hard with a baby strapped to the front of me to gather everything up and get it in the bags and I felt rushed due to the long lines and people waiting on me to clear the checkout area. I pretty much threw everything in the bag (which is huge) and sorted it out better at the van before loading.
And here is what I ended up with after loading the van. The Stow N’ Go seating was a bonus here but we could have fit it in even if I had the other kids with me I’m sure. The flat packaging makes it pretty easy. I also saw signage saying they have free roof racks and twine to tie up your boxes if you need them.
While the trip was well worth it there were definitely a few things I learned on my trip:
-I didn’t find the experience relaxing at all. I had come with a shopping list (which you can make on their website) so it was a little different than if I had just come in to browse.
-Finding some of the smaller items I was looking for in the marketplace was difficult. I had to backtrack a few times through the maze of walkways which was not much fun. There are shortcuts though-the map is very useful here.
-IKEA has some awesome deals but there is some super-cheap stuff too. One vase I had planned on getting looked ceramic at first but then I noticed it was just painted metal and the paint was already chipping on most of them so I ended up nixing that off my list. Make sure you look carefully at what you are putting in your cart to make sure it isn’t damaged and make sure you are okay with the quality.
-In the guise of keeping items cheap the staff was not terribly present or helpful. I rarely saw any staff in the showrooms and had staff walk right by me in the Self-Service area while I was trying to load a large Expedit bookcase box on my cart by myself with a baby in a sling and they did not offer to help at all. Luckily for me another customer was kind enough to help me for a moment. I’m sure if I had asked the staff would have helped, I just thought it telling that it wasn’t offered.
-The shopping experience overall is very different than any other stores I’ve been in, which is partially why I’m blogging about it. I didn’t realize, for example, that the items I saw on display up in the Showrooms were also available downstairs in the Marketplace. This led to me carrying around a bag loaded with frames unnecessarily the first hour I was there. The only time I saw where this didn’t apply was the Children’s IKEA section. Those items you need to pick up upstairs as that is the only area they are available. (This was one of the times I had to backtrack and it was no fun trying to maneuver back upstairs!)
I hope that you enjoyed my IKEA play-by-play, I was unsure of what to expect before I went so hopefully my trip can help others better prepare for their own. We are only about two weeks from our move so I left everything boxed up until we are in the new house-I can’t wait to show you all of the great things I found!