Once you figure out how to enter the store you will no doubt look down to find arrows on the floor. These arrows are on a dark grey walkway that directs guests through the entire store. You twist through the store like you are navigating a maze on this path. Occasionally I veer off the main path and find myself lost and disoriented. I rush back to the main grey walkway leaving these stranger’s rooms, leaving these empty rooms. I spot the arrow and continue along my journey.
As I walk through the Ikea mock rooms I feel as though I am walking into someone’s room. I see people sitting in these rooms and I divert my eyes. It’s as though I’m peering into their rooms. People come here trying to alter these rooms so they fit in their houses. They wander in and out of these rooms without a care in their mind.
I think I’m the only one who sees these rooms for what they are trying to be not and what they are, people’s rooms. Rooms not currently occupied except by these outside intruders. These intruders comodify and disect everything in the room. But this is understandable because the original owner has left obvious price tags hanging of everything. The rooms all look so full of life and lived in, yet dead and empty at the same time.
These rooms are so lonely, they have everything in them. They have couches, chairs, tables, counters, walls, windows, curtains, kitchen sinks, televisions, glassware, placemats, napkins, silverware, pots, pans, plates, even random tidbits of clutter. But the rooms are forever empty of permanent tenants. This is why the rooms have a wall missing, they cry for people to enter them. They cry for the need of people. When in the rooms all the energy of the conversation, people and everything else is sucked out and devoured by the room. It’s all the rooms can do in a futile attempt to be real.
Even the shelves have books on them. But like everything else in the store they are missing something – they are all the same book and they are in Swedish.
When you buy brand name clothing you are buying into their culture, you are finding your culture in this culture-void of America. When you buy Ikea you are buying into your Ikea approved culture. You pick some of the parts, Ikea fills in the rest. Ikea helps you match it. Ikea make sure it all works and fits together. Ikea makes sure your friends will like it when they come over. Ikea makes sure that everyone will like it when they come over. Ikea wants to make sure you fit in, to make sure you don’t challenge too much. Ikea gives you cookie cutter furniture and décor in your own color.
The working tvs in some of the rooms are there to remind and reinforcing this culture. They show you normal rooms, and normal people building them. They are playing “reality” tv shows of people remodelling rooms with Ikea furniture. They are playing instructional videos of the ease of building this furniture. They are all selling you furniture. They are selling you Ikea. They are selling you normal.
Ikea has everything you could need for most rooms. For a kitchen, living room, bedroom, family room, dining room, bathroom, the only thing they don’t have are: electronics, personal care items, toilets, clothing, and toothbrushes. Ikea is a one stop shop for your next house.