SS IKEAensis today. For some reason, IKEA was crawling with people. Absolutely heaving. Whole families were in there, with trollies and pushchairs. Now we all know, the thing about IKEA is the way you have to walk around the whole place to get to the exit. I went in to buy a box of wine glasses. I want to pick up and get OUT. And these families - I came up behind at least four of them - were right across the whole walkway. Excuse me, please, may I get past you, and by the way, if you weren't walking four abreast, I wouldn't have to ask.
Then when I got to the tills - which were also heaving with people - I ended up behind a family of eight. Six adults and two children, one trolley full, and I mean full, of housewares. Even the self-serve checkouts were queued, and I didn't want to pay for a £2 box of glasses with my credit card, so I stood in the queue for the normal till. One of the adults in front of me started picking things out of their trolley and wandering off, presumably to put them back. Then she reappeared with the same thing, different colours. Then she took those away. Came back with a third colour. I was beginning to cringe; I could just see them all making it to the front of the queue and then having to stop because Granny had gone to get the purple one.
Granny came back, and Auntie started. She'd changed her mind about some of the things in the trolley. She didn't go off to replace them, though. She just started unloading into the displays by the till. Saucepans and tea lights in among the paper napkins.
They made it up to the till and started to unload. Actually, I thought, it wouldn't take long - they only had about five different items, just that they had about 10 of each one. Scan frying pan, times ten...
No. Each family wanted their purchases separately. No, Granny, the purple one isn't yours, the yellow one is yours. Get the assistant to void out the purple one and rescan the yellow one. Meanwhile I'm thinking 'they're the same price, just put the blasted things in the bag and sort it out at home!'
I don't know why they had brought the two men - they toiled not, neither did they spin. They didn't push the trolley, unload the trolley, pack the purchases up or pay the bill. They stood there, the pair of them, each with his two arms the one length, and let it all happen around them. The packing took forever because the women were arguing again about who bought the red one...
I think one of them tried to pay with a Marks & Spencer charge card and a handful of Green Shield stamps. The argument seemed to go on for hours.
At that point one of the toddlers went into meltdown. I don't blame her; I'd been standing there holding six wineglasses for fifteen minutes, and I too was strongly tempted to throw myself on the floor, drumming my feet and shrieking like a steam whistle, in the style of the Vick's First Defence advertisement. It didn't occur to either of the men to pick her up, deal with the tantrum, take her out... It did occur to three of the four women, who all tried to do it at once. Unfortunately, they were the three who were packing up the purchases... Yes, they all stopped.