Swedish Paradise

Here in New York's Capital District, people pretend like we live near New York City, and as a result, shopping options are desperately limited. Lately I have been pining over high-quality apparel fabric, which I can't find here, apparently, because we're "so close" to the world famous Garment District in NYC. But the truth is, it's actually over three hours away, so there is no "popping in" to those shops. It's an all day affair.

The fabric fetish is new, but I have been missing more common, everyday items for years. We have no Dairy Queen. We have no Sonic. We have no Chevy's. No Crate and Barrel. No LEGO store. And worst, no IKEA.

This morning I read an article in the Guardian about how IKEA is planning to extend home delivery to all of the countries in which it has stores. The article consisted of a set of commentaries trashing IKEA for various reasons. Shopping there is torture, the furniture is generic and disposable, you need a car to bring things home--pedestrian furniture that's not for pedestrians, I guess.

But I still love you, IKEA. I need a couple of new Billy bookcases. I'd like a Hemnes secretary for my sewing machine and a work table for cutting fabric. And while I could order those things online, being in one of the pilot countries for home delivery, it's not the same as going to the store and seeing everything in person, including winding through the labyrinth of rooms, rubbing elbows with the almost rich and the almost poor, taking a break for meatballs and lingonberry soda, searching through towering warehouse racks, standing in line for an hour, and ending with a cinnamon roll and some shortbread cookies with a chocolate dollop in the middle, then a struggle to fit everything into the family sedan without having to leave a kid behind.

Ah, the full IKEA experience. Why would anyone want to avoid that?

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