Monday, May 11, 2009

Ikea? No, thank you

By now, everybody must be quite sick of reading blogs about the new Ikea … So here’s another one!

The Swedish furniture conglomerate finally opened its giant doors Wednesday in Tampa, after much anticipation and hype, and greeted people with lots of fanfare. Guys dancing on stilts and employees banging thundersticks and sporting balloon hats and such.

People actually camped out for the opening of this uber giant, some for more than 50 hours. Some folks brought their little kids and made a family affair out of it. And when the doors finally opened at 9 a.m. – to a line wrapped around the two-story, 353,000 square foot building – it was total insanity.

Is it worth it? Some shoppers that waited in line got a free hotdog. One guy won a $90 chair. Lots of people got nothing, but the chance to boast that they were one of the first to walk through the enchanted doors.

So another retail giant has moved into our fiefdom. Local independent businesses, I’m sure, are keeping a worried eye on Ikea. Who wouldn’t, after all of the media coverage? Ikea this and Ikea that. My husband actually said if he heard the word “Ikea” just one more time on the news that he was going to get a shotgun and blow holes through the wall. (I shut the T.V. off at that point.)

Here’s my take: a maze of pre-fab decorated rooms and $4.99 plates of Swedish meatballs aren’t going to hold charm over people for very long. I was over it before it even opened.

It's a helluva drive, for one, no matter where you’re coming from. And, it takes half a day to tour the place. Two-thirds of a mile for one trek around the place, according to the press release. Seriously. Who can shop with that kind of pressure? Too many things. I get tired just thinking about it.

I’ll take my local indie businesses any day over this bloated, overblown cartoon of a store. At least I don’t need a map to navigate their aisles.