We all have been there. Maybe you don’t go often. Maybe you’ve graduated from it, and feel you’re too old for that kind of furniture. But admit it, at some time in life, you’ve been to an IKEA. What you may not know is that I have evidence of the arcane, the mystic, and the occult that IKEA holds within its Nordic aesthetic. This is a
harrowing tale of intrigue, suspense, and possibly the supernatural.
On a cloudy afternoon in September, 2017, I entered our local IKEA intent on buying shelving. After debating the various merits of Billy, Hemnes, Kallax, and Realisationsvinstbeskattning, I chose the model I wanted. I chose a color and finish. I chose the configuration. I wrote down the location of where to find it - aisle number, bin number. I trekked the next 3 miles through the store before getting to the stairs, passing fellow weary travelers along the way, my path strewn with gelatinous-boned toddlers who clearly had had enough.
I hadn’t been to the bowels of the store for a while and was struck by the immense volume of boxed furniture. Who knew so many long flat cardboard boxes could fit when stacked floor to ceiling in aisles that stretched out as far as the eye could see. But then, just then, I saw it. It was unmistakable:
You see it, don’t you? Maybe I need to jog your memory. Recall, Paramount’s 1981 classic, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Remember the very end? When our hero, Indy, insists the all-powerful Ark should be studied, his pleas are taken under advisement by a couple of government shlubs. The Ark is sealed in a crate and stashed away. IN A WAREHOUSE OF CRATES FROM FLOOR TO CEILING! Oh it’s right there people!
Oh, I was not going to let this go. IKEA was up to something. After that lacky deposited the crate and left, I snuck down the aisle. I found the correct bin, easily identified by the pit of snakes guarding it, which I thought seemed out of place. There it was. It’s label: LøssetÅrkk; now I don’t speak Swedish, but I think it means “Impossibly Uncomfortable Couch.” I maneuvered my cart on its four independently swiveling wheels with no breaks. I carefully slid the crate onto my cart on its four independently swiveling wheels with no brakes. As with moving any IKEA crates onto carts on their four independently swiveling wheels with no breaks, this worked fine.
After a quick stop for Sweden’s answer to Peanut Butter & Jelly (aka Swedish Meatballs & Lingonberry Jam), I paid for my relic and rushed home to build it. Finally my extensive training in archeology would finally be put to the test. My specific area of expertise: Ancient hieroglyphics. Wedged deep between large pieces of pressed wood was a papyrus booklet. Why it wasn't at the top of the box in a logical easy to find place is only known to wise elders, long since dead.
I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. The ancient text had the same structure as all IKEA manuals. Clearly this was the prototype for what would become the incomprehensible non-verbal communication lasting to present day. The first hieroglyphic panel told me how to get help if I should falter in my quest. Amazing that Old Testament Customer Service had so many options.
Next I scanned the papyrus for tools I would need to supply myself complete this task:
No problems there.
Moving on there was an inventory of what came in the crate:
Fairly straightforward as far as IKEA builds go.
Time to get building. Forty days, forty nights, and forty splinters in my hands later, I was done. Strangely, although my LøsstÅrkk stood completed in my living room, there were still instructions left in the papyrus. They appeared to be warnings. First on how to transport the item:
And secondly, and this was the kicker, on NOT using it.
While melting some Nazi faces did have an appeal, I felt it was not worth the risk of literally exploding my head. I repacked my LøsstÅrkk into it's crate and loaded it into a transport. A driver took the truck back to IKEA, while I tagged along on I-5. No literally ON I-5. We made it through RETURNS without incident. I started to tell them why I was returning it, expecting I'd have to have some good reason. The person behind the counter interrupted me and said "Top men will be researching it."
Taken slightly aback, I asked, "Who?"
He only stared back and said, "Top. Men."
I wonder whatever happened to that crate? I wonder...