The parents are visiting, “and tell ’em what they’ve won, Bob…a glamorous expense-paid trip to exotic IKEA!”
So, I spent most of the day in the big blue box with Dad. Flexing our capitalism muscles, we strolled the tchotchke-laden aisles and Scandinavian-designed dioramas, stroking terrycloth towels and comparing furniture colors under the glaring fluorescent lights. I came out with some jolly good booty: a small bookshelf/dresser (the “Billy”), a bedside table (the “Kullen”), 3 mugs, 2 plastic bowls, dish-washing brushes, a measuring cup, a reading lamp, three vanilla candles, 6 large tulip-shapes wine glasses (finally something I can smell wine properly in), 6 drinking glasses (I broke at least 4 of our original 6), 2 double sheet/duvet sets, three terrycloth towels, 4 dishcloths, some energy-saving light bulbs, an electric socket splitter, and a power strip.
And upon paying, we were promptly confronted with – a hot dog stand.
When we passed by the food court earlier (Dad begging to stop and nosh claiming – hey, how often do we get to eat Swedish food…), I walked right on by, thinking it ridiculous to have a meal in the middle of a monopoly warehouse store, in a monopoly of a restaurant, simply because we’d already been shopping for 2+ hours and were parched and famished. No siree, we could eat somewhere normal later. Swedish food, indeed!
But after another 1.5 hours of shopping, as it typically goes at the Swedish colony of I…, Dad looked at the hot dogs, then looked at me and said, “Can I have one?”
These were plain old heated in one of those rotating metal rolling devices, hot dogs. I looked at him and said, “no.” Yuck. We’d be home in less than an hour! But then I took pity. My own mouth parched from the lack of liquids, I wanted to stop and buy a bottle of water anyway. So, what’s the harm? This hot dog cost 5 shekels ($1.40), the water put me back 4 shekels ($1.10), and I was genuinely pleased with how financially sound this food and beverage purchase was.
There were no toppings besides ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise (mustard-only – We do come from Chicago, after all). But Dad was pleased all the same. I surprised him with the hot dog, and it disappeared in under a minute.
Now, I’m not sure why they sell hot dogs at IKEA. I think it’s weird. It’s a little creepy. And it’s all they seem to sell, ready-to-eat, at the exit door. It’s not a typical Swedish or Israeli food, and there are certainly more interesting fast finger foods around. But after our whirlwind tour of the fascinating and luxurious land of I…, the red hots were a welcome familiar form of sustenance to ease our aching bellies as we began our return to civilization.
When you leave, I suppose you’re just too exhausted to think about the dodgy meat filling and the lack of pickles, relish, onions, tomatoes, and peppers. You’re too tired to realize that you’re once again pulling out your wallet, just as you thought you couldn’t spend even one more penny. You’re just glad to be eating while getting the hell out of there. All good capitalistic adventures eventually come to an end.