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What’s “I love IKEA” in Swedish?

My long weekend: Day Two

After my rad 30-ish birthday party, Jess and my cousins, Missy and Kate, came over to my apartment.  We played drinking games and sang along to songs until we crashed.  Sadly, Jess and I crashed early (around 10pm).  We’d both been up since the wee hours of the morning, but her even more so because of an early flight.

The next morning we met up with Fred at a quaint breakfast place in town.  It came recommended to me from a coworker and it did not disappoint!  Usually, a veggie omelet and some toast will fill me up nicely.  But this place had a lot of items that looked too good to pass up!  So Jess and I decided to get our own meal but then split the “Dreamy French Toast”.  “Dreamy” doesn’t even describe it properly.  It was far beyond that.  It was nirvana.  I inhaled my slice like there was no tomorrow and drooled as I watched Jess eat her piece.  I wanted more!

After breakfast we said goodbye to Kate and Jess, Missy, and I piled in my car and headed east.  Missy needed a ride home, which was 2 hours away, and Jess wanted to go to IKEA, which was near Missy’s house.  Road trip!  We stopped at IKEA first and the three of us walked around, trying out chairs and couches as potential buys for Jess.  I always like looking at their organizational solutions and especially love all the bookcases and entertainment centers.  I have to be careful when I go into an IKEA so I don’t buy everything that I see (it wouldn’t fit in my car anyway).

When my blood sugar started to drop, though, I had to go ahead of Jess and Missy to the cafeteria and get something to eat.  I had to bypass the kids’ section, which is a lot of fun to look at.  I don’t have kids and don’t plan too, but I like looking at all the cute decor.  Usually I go through that section and think, “I would have loved this as a kid!”  After I got my food, I was waiting to get my drink from the soda fountain when a woman came up at the same time.  I stepped aside and gestured for her to go first.  She did.  Another woman, a bit older than me, walked up.  I told her she could go ahead.  “I just need ice,” she said.  I told her that was fine, all the more reason for her to go ahead.  “No, you should go.  You were here first.”

“It’s okay,” I told her.

“Here, I’ll get your drink for you.  What would you like?”  She grabbed my glass and started filling it with ice.

I smiled.  “Cherry Pepsi, please.”  She filled the glass and handed it back to me.  “Thank you.  That was very nice!” I told her.  She smiled and we went our separate ways.

Once Jess and Missy and I met back up, we were ready to start on the next floor.  This is the floor that usually gets me in trouble because I want almost everything I see.  As we descended the stairs, I squealed, “Oh!  New bags!”  I have several IKEA shopping bags (the big, rectangular bags with funky designs).  I like to use them when I go grocery shopping because they’re big and hold a good amount of weight.  These new bags even zipped up, which I thought was brilliant.  Jess, of course, just rolled her eyes at me.  But I was a good girl – I only got one (I have about 5 more at home).

Overall, the three of us only got a handful of small things (Missy didn’t even get something for herself; it was for Kate).  As I waited in line, a husband and wife went by, pushing their cart and their tell-tale yellow bag (yellow bags hold unpaid merchandise).  The cashier stopped them and said that there was no unpaid merchandise beyond that point.  The couple seemed a bit stumped.  I was amazed.  If you’ve never been to an IKEA, let me explain.  Once you wind through the entire store, you come to the checkout lanes that span the length of the room.  There is no way to get out without going through a checkout lane.  It’s quite obvious just by looking at one’s surroundings that one is to pay for her items here.  So, when the couple didn’t realize that they had to pay at one of the 25 checkout lanes, I was quite shocked.  Did they think that all these people were just standing in lines for fun?

One of the things I like the most about IKEA is the water efficient toilets.  For liquid waste, you push the handle up.  For solid waste, you push the handle down.  Depending on which way the handle is pushed, the toilet will use only the needed amount of water.  I don’t know how much water is saved, but could you imagine if more places did this?  We could save so much more water every day!

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Posted by on August 20, 2010 in About me

 

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Generic headline here

I can be a bit of a snob.  Looking around my apartment, one wouldn’t be able to tell because I don’t keep it meticulously clean nor do I have high-priced furniture (most of it has come from Target and Ikea).  But when it comes to buying groceries, I’ve been known to spend more just to get a brand name.  I know I’m not the only one to do this; millions of people do it every day.  Most of the time we don’t think about it.  It’s ingrained in us to just pick up the soda brand that we’ve been drinking for the past twenty-some years or to purchase Kraft’s frozen pizza because Kraft is well-known and it, therefore, must be good.

Years ago I saw a report on a show like Dateline about generics versus brand names.  The report even had a blind taste test and most people went for the generic over the brand name.  They also reported that many of the products were produced by the same people as the brand name one; the only difference was the label.  Even after seeing this report, I was in full denial.  I wouldn’t change my shopping habits.  Once I did experiment a little and tried the grocer’s version of Honey Nut Cheerios but I was disappointed.  The taste was alright but the crunch was not the same.  I didn’t buy them again.

Fred, on the other hand, is a firm believer in generics.  Why pay more when you can get the same thing for less?  So, it was because of him that I tried my grocer’s version of Diet Dr. Pepper.  I was surprised.  It was actually pretty good, even a little better than the “real” thing.  The next time I was at the grocer, I picked up a couple of packs and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was $2 for a 12-pack.  The brand name 12-packs are at least twice that much.  No, thank you!

Now, I haven’t completely switched over to buying all generics, but I’ve come quite a way.  Bread?  Sure!  There’s another $1.50 in savings.  Chips?  Throw that in the basket as well!  Yet another $2 in savings.  It’s a great natural high to see how much less I spend at the grocery store now.  With each trip, I think about how I the $5 or $10 I saved right then will add up greatly over time.  Maybe one day I can actually have a decent savings account.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2010 in Food

 

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