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IKEA came to Denver a couple of months ago and you just can’t miss it. I mean you can’t miss it driving down I-25, in either direction, from miles away. It’s enormous, and so is the signage.

Never having shopped IKEA before, we figured we would go see what all the fuss was about. Plus we found some shelving on their website that we wanted. Thus began 2 of the most frustrating hours of our weekend/week/month. First mistake: we went on a Saturday.

Let me break it down for you:
 
1:30 – Had heard about their famous Swedish Meatballs in their restaurant and that they were a must try. Figured this time of the day wouldn’t be super busy for lunch. Drove around and around on the first floor of the parking garage, no open spots to be had; cars slowly winding everywhere. Inadvertently ended up in the line for the exit. Oops. This would be the first of many lines to wait in that day. And perhaps was a sign from the Shopping Gods that we should just LEAVE right then. Seeds of doubt are planted.
 
1:45 – Went over and parked in the parking lot of the store nearby, many open spots, short walk to the IKEA entrance, no oppressive parking garage. A few others were doing it too, we felt super smart. Upon entering and seeing the escalator completely jammed with people, the rows and rows of carts, the huge signs to direct you, and the abundance of people, we knew this was unlike any other store we had been in. Seeds of doubt are germinating.
 
1:55 – Find the restaurant right upstairs, which is really just a huge cafeteria. We start to wander in, meatballs on our mind. “Line begins over THERE,” a IKEA employee tells us and points across the room. We make our way over THERE and stop in our tracks when we realize the mass of people we are looking at are in line for the cafeteria. The line snakes back and forth like the DIA security line. We shuffle into place without a word, just staring helplessly. I am starving after all and didn’t eat much earlier because I knew we would be coming here.
 
2:06 – We have moved 20 feet. We estimate there are about 80 people in line. Have commented on the lack of air conditioning/ventilation in the area about 5 times. Is positively stagnant and humid. Seeds of doubt are breaking through the surface.
 
2:08 – In a near claustrophobic panic we decide to bail out of the cattle line and quickly duck under the strap. Are too hungry to shop without food so we decide to go back outside and eat at Rock Bottom, then return with new vigor. Become briefly lost on the way downstairs. 
 
2:17 – At a table in Rock Bottom, cold drink in hand, meal on the way. Ahhhh. Better.
 
2:47 – Back at IKEA. Ready to do this.
 
2:57 – Deep in the gauntlet. Following the tiled path not unlike herded cattle once again. There are so many people, and people all moving at entirely different paces, that it is tough to actually shop. There is also so much to look at. We deviate off the path and can get around a little better. Notice the good prices. Also notice the not-so-good quality of goods. Seeds of doubt are growing.
 
3:10 – Looking for the section where we will find our shelving. Refer to master map and determine we need to go down to ground floor. Temperature remains above average in heat on entire floor. Go down to ground floor and temperature is much better. Whew.
 
3:20 – Still SO many people. Keep getting stuck behind Mr. & Mrs. Turtle who shuffle along, stopping to stare right in the middle of the path. Find our shelving! Yay! And no one is shopping in this little corner! We are also after the glass spice jars that will go on the shelves. We start to grab packs of 4 in a bit of a hurry because we are ready to be on our way. Suddenly 2 women have appeared behind us, looming over our shoulders, looking at the spice jars. One actually reaches in around us to grab a pack. We get several more packs and turn away, put them in our bag. Turn around and there are now 4 people gathered around the jars, looking at them, then putting them back. It appears we started a little frenzy – activating these shoppers radar that ‘Some great deal must be here that I’m missing!’ It was really odd.
 
3:30 – Searching for the checkout. Winding along the path. Still impossible amounts of people. Seeds of doubt have grown buds.
 
3:34 – Arrive at checkout. Discover another mass of people in a line. We reluctantly fall in.
 
3:39 – Creeper guy in line in front of us is repeatedly spanking his wife’s ass with the door mat in his hand while she smiles serenely and ignores him. They are about 60-years old. Super annoying people in line behind us, loud and acting immature. Loudly uttering serious cuss words in front of their 5-year-old to make him laugh. Losing faith in the human race. 
 
3:45 – We cannot even speak we are so annoyed and want out of there so badly. The checker keeps doing something wrong and each transaction is taking too long. My partner’s eyes are actually bloodshot. Seeds of doubt have bloomed ugly flowers.
 
3:48 – Finally checked out. Now waiting in line to go down escalator to street level. Decide to take stairs. Get out into open air. Look at each other in amazement. I believe he said, “I need a drink.” I believe I said, “I need a frontal lobe cleansing.”
 
Unfortunately this one experience has bloomed in us reason to never go back. Too bad. Really wanted those meatballs.
 
 
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