I go to Ikea this morning to get a plant for my cubicle and I get gravely confused: it’s 10am on a Sunday and Ikea is packed. Am I missing something?
I notice that every third person had the same metal kitchen pot. Am I forgetting another holiday? Did Obama declare “Make the AIG executives into a tasty gumbo” day or something? I thought the pots were strange, but as the hefty guy in business clothes buying a potted plant, I decide not to judge…
I get to the checkout line and almost drop my plant. The line is horrifying.
I resist the urge to leave my plant on the nearest piece of sleek Swedish furniture and run.
I get in line and just stare at the mass of people. Why why why? I came extra early just to avoid THIS VERY SITUATION.
And what is up with all these cooking pots? Half the people in line are clutching big, silver cooking pots. Did I enter the Swedish-designed twilight zone or something? Am I on tape?
To support my twilight zone theory is the fact that I’m actually standing in the self-checkout line. I hate the self-checkout line. I avoid the self checkout because it makes me feel stupid in an entirely new way every time.
As I wait, the store speakerphone comes on:
Ms. Chipper: “Good Morning Ikea Customers! Thank you for attending our special event. ALL OF OUR WHATISCALLED COOKING POTS ARE SOLD OUT. I repeat. WE ARE SOLD OUT OF ALL OF THE WHATISCALLED POTS. Thank you for shopping with Ikea. Please come to our next special event. And remember, AGAIN, WE ARE SOLD OUT OF THE POTS.”
Oooh, so that’s why everyone has a pot! Fancy!
The line shortens, and I anxiously hope that I get the checkout station furthest from the line… so of course when my turn comes, I get the checkout station right in front of the line! Hm. What is this? An opportunity to bedazzle angry shoppers with my self-checkout ineptitude? YESSS…
I approach the self-checkout station, muttering under my breath, and start to fumble my potted plant.
I almost drop the plant.
Then I almost drop my wallet.
Then I almost drop the scanner.
I pick up the scanner and discover that my plant pot won’t scan. I’m swiping my plant pot like a declined debit card and it still won’t scan. Crap, crap crap!
The couple in front of the line stares me down and frowns. Sweat collects on my forehead.
I key in the number of my pot and then try to scan my plant.
It doesn’t work.
The people in line grunt. I can’t find the key-code on the plant. Crap. The “how to find your key-code” diagram doesn’t help. Ahh…
The line glares.
My deodorant breaks down.
I turn to find the customer service guy and hear screaming: the Ikea customer service guy is fighting with an African lady at the station behind me:
Lady: “WAIT, WHAT IS GOING ON?”
(The Ikea guy snatches her cooking pot and walks it to another register)
Lady: “Where are you going? Why did you take my pot for?”
Ikea guy (coming back): “You’re only allowed to have one pot per customer. You have two!”
Lady: “I’m holding it for my sister.”
Ikea guy: “You were trying to buy it.”
Lady: “NO I WASN’T! I was holding it for my sister. She’s on her way.”
Random mullet guy in line: “She gotta be in the store herself woman!”
Lady: “What did you say? THIS IS RIDICULOUS! She is on her way!”
I ignore the hot mess going on behind me and try to scan the plant again. I was just grateful that the line wasn’t glaring at me anymore. I’m trying to scan the stupid plant before the fight stops but plant won’t scan…
The Ikea guy finishes arguing with African lady just before Mullet dude incited a riot. Ikea guy walks over to me, and asks if I need help.
Me (Trying hard not to sound pathetic): “It won’t scan.”
Ikea guy: “Yeah it will. See.”
Ikea guy picks up the scanner and my plant scans on HIS FIRST TRY.
Of flipping course.
I quickly pay the machine and scurry out of the store. As I left, I could hear the African lady resume her bitching concerns about “her sister’s” cooking pot…
The plant looks great, but next time I’m standing in the normal checkout line.