But just because I love thrifting, doesn’t mean that I haven’t found a few other places to satiate these urges. I have often touted my local Forever 21 store for feeling like a thrift store, with its tightly packed racks of uniquely trendy clothing. But there’s one store in particular that provides the same bliss of a totally satisfying shopping experience. That is Ikea.
When my grandmother and I were walking through the amusement park sized parking lot up to Ikea last week, she made a very telling comment, “I feel like we’re going to have to pay to get in.” It was not the first Ikea visit for either of us, and we were both treating the trip like a special event rather than an errand. A single shopping excursion with a singular purpose can easily take hours, and result in more than a few unplanned purchases.
Firstly and most importantly, Ikea has beautifully designed, environmentally and socially responsible products at almost unbelievably low prices. We saw these pillows (vacuum sealed to save space in your shopping cart) for 99 cents.
This company has discovered a formula for reducing cost as well as environmental impact. Sure, you might have to assemble that shelf yourself, but by shipping things “flat” they can put more products into a truck or plane, and reduce the carbon emissions of transport. I saw lamps that used their own shades as the container, and lamps that use solar power. These Swedes are talented designers, not just for their practical sensibilities, but for their keen aesthetic understanding.
Wandering the store is like browsing an interactive three dimensional catalogue. I am a sucker for their carefully detailed store displays, where you can go up to a kitchen cabinet, and open in to find real Swedish food products available to buy on the ground floor.