There is a lot of survival guides to IKEA around the web. And my humble contribution may look more or less the same as many others at the first sight. But beware: I am giving you some survival tips for IKEA, Spreitenbach, Switzerland only. However, there is no doubt, you may recognize some similarities at your IKEA too. So, here’s what it takes to get in and get out alive.
1. You think: Leaving your kid at Smaland/Kinderparadises frees you up from your parental duties for 1,5 hours. Fact: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
After we arrive at IKEA, we usually ask Zuzanna if she wants to stay at the Kinderparadies (the German naming convention for Smaland) – a supervised play area for children where they can stay up to 90 minutes. The very first time I asked, she did want to stay and I quickly filled out a form and warned the babysitter that Zuzanna might not understand swiss german. It took exactly 15 minutes when I heard an announcement „Zuzanna bitte vom Kinderparadies abholen”. I almost ran with worst case scenarios in my head. When I arrived the lady told me: I do not understand what she is trying to tell me. I asked Zuzanna what it was. She showed me a picture and said: I wanted to tell the lady that I drew this for you, daddy.
2. Just pick a dish brush – she said. The colour doesn’t matter – she said.
Doing shopping with your wife may be risky and IKEA is paved with death traps. One time she asked me to pick a dish brush. I took one from the shelf, I didn’t really think about which one I should choose. My wife said: oh, you picked the right colour, the same I was thinking about – and smiled. I smiled back realizing I just might have made a lethal mistake.
3. Danger zones.
Whenever you see a soft toy appearing on the horizon, you need to be careful. IKEA doesn’t help much here – there is only one way leading to the exit and there is no way you could avoid those cheap, cute soft monsters. It doesn’t matter your daughter has 100 of them at home. Hearing her soft voice – this piggy is so cute, daddy might melt your heart but NO – be strong and run past them ignoring your child’s tears. Next stop is IKEA restaurant and Zuzanna will eventually forget.
4. Bring some coins with you.
Ok, I haven’t bought another soft toy but I always buy a baloon. The lady who sells them is located close to the checkout. She sells them at 5 CHF piece and she doesn’t accept any debit or credit cards. Bring some cash or risk your kid’s tears. And she cried already, remember?
5. Expected the expected.
„I believe I can see the future, ’cause I repeat the same routine” sang Trent Reznor and this could be a lead song for IKEA Restaurant. You know what you get and what you don’t get. And you always get meatballs / koettbullar and french fries at a very decent price (especially if you own an IKEA Family card). Zuzanna loves them, but frankly I enjoy the Hiltl inspired menus much more (and this is actually a surprise – IKEA is collaborating with the oldest vegetarian restaurant from Zurich which might be one of the best restaurants in Switzerland by the way).
6. Again, bring ENOUGH coins with you.
Did I mention to bring some coins with you? No, you need to bring ENOUGH of them. You pay for the parking at you will pay 1 CHF per hour. And this is what happened to me lately: I had no cash, only my debit card, as I almost always do. OK, I had cash but I already spent it on the baloon for Zuzanna. So I went to the cash machine and could only withdraw 50 CHF, not less. I did. The parking ticket machine accepted only 10 and 20 CHF notes though. So I went back the IKEA Swedish store and had to buy something to get some change for the parking ticket. Imagine what would happen if the cash machine were out of order?
Good luck with your IKEA trips!
All photos by me, except for point 5, by IKEA.