I Blogged Myself

Why do you always come here? I guess we'll never know. It's like a kind of torture, To read this blog, y'know.

Welcome to the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational blog since Kermit left just a little bit of the swamp in his pants.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What I Did On My Holiday


Okay, so it wasn't really a holiday, but I had a good day off yesterday anyway.

Ikea was having a sale on this item:

(Contents not included.)

The sale started at 10am yesterday, and Wifey in particular has been going INSANE with all my Muppet busts and figurines sitting around the house (on display but getting in her way and understandably spoiling her interior decoration), so we both had our hearts set on buying a few of these cabinets.

Of the 20 Muppet Busts available, I now have 18 (as of Christmas). These are the two I am yet to obtain:

After leaving the house at 9:15am and arriving at Ikea half an hour later, we realised that our fear of a crowd lining up at the doors was not unjustified. In fact, we ended up being pretty much at the front of the queue that formed behind us. It was over eighty people lining up. And as it turned out, they were all there for these cabinets.

Why? Well, they usually retail for $179, but were going on sale for just $99 - a reasonable saving by anyone's standards. And they look great. However, there was a limit of two per customer, and Wifey and I wanted to get four (I have a lot of Muppet stuff to get out of the way). So we both needed to go in there and get two each. Hence the day off work (any excuse, at this point - with only a couple of weeks to go).

At 9:58am (I was watching), they opened the doors and the crowd went nuts. Mad scrambling and running and pushing (I'd never seen this kind of crazy shopping behaviour in real life before) ensued. Amusingly, in Ikea you're forced to follow the one pathway around the entire store, so the running mass of people snaked its way through the whole store, looking for the cabinet section.

Naturally, I reached the cabinet in question first. (YAY!) However, there were only three display models there, and they still had the $179 price tag. (Auuggh!) As the crowd swarmed around me and the three cabinets, hands groped everywhere for a little tag with a barcode on it or something that would 'bags' or 'reserve' a cabinet for the person holding it. But there were none of those either.

A passing Ikea staff member casually informed us that we needed to head downstairs to the 'self-serve' section of the store (pretty much their warehouse area, just before the cashiers). This meant that the entire crowd was roughly two floors and half a store's snake-like jog away from where these coveted cabinets lay in wait.

So the crazy running crowd took off again, through mock bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms, through fake livingrooms and down stairwells. When we emerged in the self-serve area, we immediately saw a larger crowd of about 100 people swarming over several skips of disassembled cabinets in boxes. There were trolleys everywhere. People were calling out to their partners to come in and "take this one, I'm going back for another!" Somehow, these people had found out (or already knew, most likely) precisely where they needed to be and had lined up at the door two floors down from where we'd been queueing. How amusing for them.

Old people were being side-stepped by younger, more agile shoppers who knew exactly what they were doing.

Wifey hung back with a trolley while I moved in for the kill. There was no way we were going to miss out on these damn cabinets. We'd actually had our eyes on this exact cabinet since August, when my parents came down for my birthday and we went shopping together for house stuff. We couldn't afford 4 x $179 at the time, but when we saw (in early January) that Ikea would be putting them on sale on 31st January for $80 off, we wrote it on our diary and both made sure that we could get out of work on the day. So I admit that I was just as desperate to get my hands on the things as everyone else there obviously was. And when you're in a 'mob', the mob mentality can easily take over.

However, the red haze faded from my eyes when I saw a woman whose trolley was pushed out of the way while she was picking up one of the boxes. The man standing behind her grabbed her trolley while her back was turned and rolled it behind him so he could get past, and then the woman behind him took it and did the same thing.

I watched as the poor woman's trolley was pushed further and further to the back of the pack of struggling bodies, while the woman in question was blissfully unaware of what was transpiring behind her. When she finally got a grip on the (incredibly heavy, it turned out) box and turned back to where her trolley had been only moments before, she saw that it was missing and asked the crowd somewhat desperately: "Has anyone seen the trolley that was just here?"

Everyone ignored her.

And that's when I had my Moment of Clarity (TM).

I spun my head around and took in the number of people milling about, all anxious to work their way into the middle of the scrum and get their hands on these darn cabinets. There were fewer than 200 people. Most of them were there in pairs. I knew that even if they all wanted to get two cabinets per person (as Wifey and I intended to do), that would still mean 400 cabinets tops (even allowing for the odd rule-breaker who'd try to buy more than their allotted two-cabinets-per-customer).

My eyes scanned what I could see of the pile of boxes we were all standing around. There appeared to be eight piles of them, and each was about ten boxes high. That made at least 80. Then I saw an Ikea staff member standing on the opposite side of the crowd, trying not to look on in horror at the disgusting display of greed and selfishness unraveling before him (of which I was a part).

He was standing behind a dolly, which was carrying another two piles of boxes, ready to be added to the mix. And behind him was a whole wall of boxes. There was no need for this kind of crazy behaviour. There were at least another 500 cabinets stacked up against the far wall, waiting to be put out on the floor.

I don't know why an Ikea staff member didn't dispel the crowd's manic behaviour by telling us there were so many there (Wifey later heard a report that they actually had thousands in stock), but maybe it's because stupid people will do stupid things if they don't think they're going to get what they want. Why get involved and maybe lose an eye for your troubles? The poor guy's only getting paid $8 an hour.

So anyway, back to my Moment of Clarity (TM). An epiphany, you might say (although it probably wasn't that impressive). I suddenly understood that we weren't going to miss out on getting our precious cabinets, and the only thing hurrying would do was get us further ahead in the already-rapidly-forming queues down at the cash registers to our far right. But Wifey and I had the whole day set aside for this one activity, so standing in a check-out queue wasn't a concern to us. In the meantime, the Lord of the Flies carryings-on I was witnessing right in front of me was making me feel ashamed for running through the store with everyone else just minutes before (although at the time it felt like a fun adventure). Once we'd reached the second crowd with all the boxed cabinets, things had taken a turn for the worse.

I left my spot in the bussling crowd and walked back to get the woman's errant trolley for her. As I approached her (still struggling with her box), I said, "Here it is," and helped her lift her box onto the thing. Boy, was it ever heavy! I didn't realise so seemingly-flimsy a cabinet could have so much weight to it! Not wanting to have to pick up four of those for myself, I waited until the woman looked back at the crowd before I took off with her trolley and cabinet. Wifey laughed and cheered my ingenuity.


After I helped the woman load the box onto her trolley, she thanked me and I said "No problem." Then I walked around to the other side of the crowd (where - for some bizarre reason - there was a big gap in the bodies fighting their way into the boxes. I started to pull a box off the nearest pile (much more casually this time, as the sense of urgency didn't matter anymore), and suddenly Wifey (thinking strategically, of course) was behind me with our trolley. As I lifted the first box (my back's still aching), I heard an old man struggling with a cabinet to my left. Once Wifey had the trolley stable (the surprisingly-massive weight of the cabinets was making some trolleys tip over if the weight wasn't evenly-distributed), I assisted the old guy to load two more boxes on top of the two he already had. His elderly wife thanked me for my help.

Wifey and I stood by for a minute while I caught my breath. We just watched and waited as the swarm died down and the Ikea staff members kept replacing the diminishing piles of boxes with new crates stacked high with the blessed things, from excess stock that was waiting against the side wall.

When almost everyone had left the area, Wifey and I returned to the now-ravished piles of boxes and took our other three boxes. With a trolley of two boxes each, we joined two separate-but-very-long queues and stood patiently in line.

Unfortunately, our selfish and angry fellow shoppers weren't done with their disgraceful behaviour just yet. Queue jumping, arguing and running to a newly-opened register like the devil was on their heels still continued. Thankfully Wifey and I were both served remarkably quickly (Wifey even got a free cookie from a quick-thinking Ikea staff member who walked around with a plate of the things to quell the storm - but the darn woman didn't come anywhere near me!), so we were outta there and loading up our poor little car fairly soon afterwards.

Then it was a tentative drive home (Would my car's tyres take the weight? Answer: Yes, but only just), a hefty unloading procedure for the two of us, and then frustrations galore as we followed the little smiling stick figures in the illustrated instructions to put one of the cabinets together. I didn't want to put more than one together just now, so currently our dining room has a big, impressive-looking glass cabinet in the corner, which contains:

The rest of my Muppets stuff will go in the other three cabinets, once I've put them together.

Wifey told me in the car on the way home from Ikea that she was very proud of me for stopping to help those other people in the store. I just blushed.

See? I'm like Superman.



At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:13:00 am, Blogger Creaky Boy said...

...but with your underpants underneath your pants (most of the time)

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:23:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

Who says?

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:35:00 am, Blogger Creaky Boy said...

Creaky Boy says

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:46:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

Oh, I see.

Sorry - I must have dozed off for a second there.


At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:55:00 am, Blogger Creaky Boy said...

Don't doze when the sun comes up

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 12:06:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...


At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 12:22:00 pm, Blogger auburn said...

That is the most adorable collection of muppet-busts! So cute Bevis.

And you should be proud of your helpfulness. Nice work.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 12:22:00 pm, Blogger auburn said...

*waits patiently for approval*

*wishes she'd written a funny comment*

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 12:33:00 pm, Blogger Riss said...

Good work. I heartily recommend that even though they say you need a flat head screwdriver or a phillips head one you should actually use a drill with a screwdriver bit. Much easier.

I'm also a whiz at the instructions even if they've labelled everything wrong (happened with our couch-bed) or if the sales assistant has actually given you the wrong (straight) support fitting for your (curved) desk top.

I like puzzles and Ikea stuff is a lot like a puzzle on a large scale.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 12:46:00 pm, Blogger MelbourneGirl said...

what a good little froggie you are bevis. but just one thing. how exactly were the boxes ravished? didn't it hurt? who had time to do that while there was a cabinet frenzy on? who would have been interested in doing that while there was a cabinet frenzy on?

i await the answer with great interest.

glad you got your cabinets.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 12:51:00 pm, Blogger sublime-ation said...

sweetgeezus, bf went to ikea yest. to get another one of those red plastic chairs he's obsessed with but it was at about 4. 30 so he was completely oblivious to all this.
Probably a good thing. A mob with the smell of a bargain in their nostrils is probably one of the most dangerous and terrifying aspects of Capitalism, as you have demonstrated.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 2:29:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

Auburn, thank you all round. BTW, "funny" isn't what I'm screening for. I'm sure your comments will get through "the screening process" regardless. :)

Riss, cheers. No drill at home (only a dill needing one), but I used the phillips-head screwdriver and everything looks good and works properly.

MelbourneGirl, thank you; I try. "How were the boxes ravished?" The boxes were ravished very well. Yes, it hurt quite a bit (note that my back still aches). Most of the people crowding around the piles of boxes found time to ravish those remaining behind (just to spoil it for the rest of us, I expect). I think that answers everything.

Sublime-ation, I saw your boyfriend. (He was fighting with an old lady over a red plastic chair.) Okay, so I didn't really. We were gone by 10:45am. Either way, I'm glad he avoided the frenzied shopping nightmare we were caught up in (momentarily, at least).

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 3:24:00 pm, Blogger sheriff of nothing said...

Ahhh Ikea Sales. BEVIS nice job on realising there was plenty for everyone and being so noble! I bet the muppets are much happier now too!

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 4:28:00 pm, Blogger Magical_M said...

What is it about a sale that turns seemingly normal people into crazed, fighting, bitching freaks?

Snaps for you on being so gracious - karma was obviousy on your side with the plentiful supply of cabinets.

My record for putting together an Ikea cabinet (with doors!) is 35 minutes - if I was in your neck of the woods I would offer my services.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 7:22:00 pm, Anonymous John B. said...

My wife and I went to Ikea once. Never again. The place makes you feel like a rat in a maze.

And aren't you soon to be out of work? Is spending nearly $400 on glass cabinets a good idea? Do I sound like your parents now? How much muppet stuff do you have to fill the other cabinets, if all that went in just one?? Enquiring minds want to know!

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 9:42:00 pm, Blogger Clokeeeey! said...

Sorry, didn't read every line, but if I remember correctly the warehouse area is right behind the register and maybe, a sharper thinking person would have jump the registers and made straight for the "piles". Maybe a little recon the day before would have been helpful?

At Thursday, February 02, 2006 8:12:00 am, Blogger MelbourneGirl said...

well that's a first surely, bevie. box slops!

[feels around bottom of the barrel to see if there's anything else]

nope, that's it!

have a great day!


At Thursday, February 02, 2006 8:58:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

Sheriff of Nothing, thanks. they certainly are, yes. They're looking out on the world from behind the safety of a pretty glass cabinet. It actually seems to add 'value' or 'importance' to the busts somehow when you see them in the cabinet thing; it's strange. But everyone's much happier about it, including Wifey and myself.

Magical_M, cheers. It probably took me around 45 minutes to put the cabinet together, so not really worth me calling the Guinness Book of World Records. And at Ikea, I think I was the only person present using any common sense - it wasn't even karma. Simply that the crowd was behaving like lunatics and neanderthals, and I'm the only one who stopped to look at what was actually taking place logically.

John B, a rat in a maze - that's a perfect explanation. If you can imagine the view from above of us 80 people swarming through the store in a perfect pattern, I'm sure it would have looked hilarious! Thanks for not being afraid to ask the hard questions - my parents actually gave me money for such cabinets for my birthday in August, and as it happened, they gave me almost the exact amount we needed for this sale! We're so happy we hadn't bought anything with the money yet. Waiting five months meant that we got the precise cabinets we wanted, and for the precise price we could afford! But I appreciate you sending an ice-like shiver down my spine by reminding me about my looming unemployment like that. :) As for how much other Muppet stuff I own, you can do the maths yourself from the images shown. That's how much fits in one cabinet (by having one item in each corner and one in the middle on each shelf - including the base of the cabinet itself - so sort of in teh pattern the five dots on a die are positioned, if you like). I now mostly have plush toy versions of the characters, a heap of figurines (like the one of Rowlf the Dog in the tux by the piano in this post), and a few collector's books that would all go in the other three cabinets. And because I'm not finished collecting, I'm sure the collection will one day out-grow the four cabinets and/or overcrowd them beyond all belief. Then we'll wait for another Ikea sale and go for another crazed run through the store!

Clokeeeey, Sorry, I didn't read your entire comment, but let me just say that the entrance and the registers / exit are in completely different places, so it's not as if we were lining up in view of the things. I'll give you a sharper-thinking person in a minute! :) As for recon work, I had already gone online the day before to check out opening times and stock availability (although it only says YES, not actual numbers). Plus, I have a few other things going on in my life at present. I know you didn't read the whole post, but hopefully you saw the bit where it ended up not mattering anyway, due to the thousands they reportedly had in stock.

MelbourneGirl, there's a dirty joke in there somewhere, but of course I'm not the kind of person to go there. :)

At Thursday, February 02, 2006 9:06:00 am, Blogger gav said...

I know it's kinda personal, but how big are those busts? Regardless, they are impressive.

At Thursday, February 02, 2006 9:26:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

Hehe ... they're about 20cm high, depending on which character you're talking about. They're in proportion to each other, so Gonzo and Kermit are smaller than Fozzie or Sam or The Swedish Chef.

At Thursday, February 02, 2006 10:11:00 am, Blogger Clokeeeey! said...

Bevis, Just took the time to read it all.
I find it amazing that people don't take the time to survey the situation and realise that yes, there are thousands of these things, so there is no need to behave that way.
Well done on your boy scout assistance. Without blowing my own trumpet, I would have done similar.

At Thursday, February 02, 2006 11:45:00 am, Blogger Steph said...

Funniest. Shopping post. Ever! I heart Ikea. You are such a sweet shnookums for helping those people.

At Thursday, February 02, 2006 3:20:00 pm, Blogger Dxxxx said...

My fave bit about buying from Freedom/Ikea is bringing home the box, opening the instructions to be greeted with the heading
"Welcome to the Wonderful World of Self Assembly".
It has become quite a personal joke between me & mine whenever something becomes just a little involved......

You did good, Bevvie, we are proud.


At Friday, February 03, 2006 1:40:00 am, Anonymous Glenn said...

One hint about IKEA, most of the shops are the same layout (at least here in UK they are). You enter a door, up some stairs, the path to follow goes clockwise (top of the stairs turn Left past the resturant). If you turn Right at the top of the stairs then you will find the stairs down to the bedroom / kitchen / warehouse section just a short step away.

Yes my wife loves shopping at IKEA (usually on a bank holiday weekend).

At Friday, February 03, 2006 8:35:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

Clokeeeey, I just took the time to read all of your comment. :) You're right; us humans can be a stupid, stupid species at times! I'm sure you would have done the same thing; bloggers are generally lovely people. (And when you say 'boy scout assistance', do you mean something like this?)

Steph, wow - thanks! I consider that to be high praise indeed, coming from the Queen of Yuk (as in funny). Shnookums was the word I was looking for. Cheers.

Dxxxx, I agree, that's always funny. And it certainly is a Wonderful World! Thank you for including us (to some degree) in the private joke you have with you and yours. I feel like part of the xxxx family now.

Glenn, that information would have been really helpful on Monday ... but oh well. I would have enjoyed 'beating' everyone to the boxes, but I may not have had my Moment of Clarity (TM) if things had played out differently. And I much prefer the version of the story where I don a cape and act like a hero. :)

At Saturday, February 04, 2006 9:45:00 am, Blogger Logan said...

I have a burning question.

Did you manage to get the little light in the top of the cabinet working?

At Sunday, February 05, 2006 1:29:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

Oh my lord! A comment from Logan???!

Wow, red letter day and all that.

Um, no - because they were $35 extra for a double pack (with one fitting between them or something), and we weren't overly impressed with how the light looks once it's put together.

We decided that if we want the lights later, we can come back and get them (they weren't discounted or anything). So we didn't get any this time. We'll see how we go.

But thanks for asking!

At Tuesday, February 07, 2006 10:48:00 am, Blogger Riss said...

Notice how long Logan took getting around to posting though...

It must be something he felt he could relate to. I generally get a map of the store and then try to work out how to get to where I need to be. Logan doesn't really like shopping so I try to organise to take as little time as possible.


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