Now IKEA is an international store selling everything from paper cups to paper pins. They also sell Swedish specialities like Swedish Meat Balls.
I had no intention of going shopping the very first day of my stay in Singapore but it was part of the training.
“You should be able to tap yourself into the building, order a cab and shop for groceries ” said daughter No 1, in much the same tone as she would address a new recruit to her department. So armed with a blank white card ( which I was warned NEVER to lose or misplace) I learnt that tap myself in actually meant let myself in with a computerised key. Fearing a fate worse less than death itself if I misplaced it, I tucked the card away in my sling bag and with a shopping list for IKEA which just happened to pop into the radar simply because there were some returns to be made I took the lift down.
The cab was booked for me and when I went down it was waiting. The taxi driver and I looked at each other. I because I was looking for a number which said HP@@@@@ which I realised much later , wasn’t the registration number of the car but the cell phone number of the cabbie! As for him , he was flummoxed because he was waiting for a Mr. who showed up on his screen! Then came the embarrassing part of “what is your number”
Me ” Duh I don’t know. This is not my phone.”
Somehow we managed to figure out that even though I wasn’t a man, the taxi was called for me and I set off to Alexandra Road.
This was my first visit to an IKEA store and I strode in confidently as I would a Sahakari Bhandar but promptly my bravado faded as I realised I didn’t have the foggiest of what to do next. I didn’t want to appear the country bumpkin and ask for directions not to mention that there wasn’t anyone to ask! I saw two possibilities – the escalator and the wonders on the floor above (the showroom)or the ground floor which said exchange refunds deliveries and market hall. I was distracted by the frozen meatballs on the ground floor and after a brief recce decided to take the escalator. Once up, I went through a series of mock ups and was fascinated by the possibilities IKEA offered! Then I spotted a stack of yellow bags and trolleys and picked up one and decided to join the ranks of the other shopping warriors marching down the aisles. I wandered leisurely through the aisles which was a veritable maze trying desperately to make sense of the shop layout when I realised that five serious shoppers were glaring disapprovingly at me . I wondered what I was doing wrong and noticed that I was the only one who wasn’t following the giant arrows marked along the shop floor. Gosh! I was the only one going the wrong way up a one way path.
I was stuck because this was like the queue for Tirupathi (or any temple darshan for that matter ) where there is only one way to go. I actually broke out into a cold sweat. I’d missed the section I was looking for so did that mean I had to go through check out and re-enter the store and follow the arrows once again? And how do I exit a store without paying and re-enter without being accused of shop lifting?
As it turned out I did leave the store and go back home for a return. But this time I was better prepared and knew better than face the wrath of the shopping warriors by going the wrong way.
Incidentally I found that
- MarketHall is the place you actually find the stuff you want to buy
- There are assistants who are more than happy to help
- There is a store catalogue and brochure which you are supposed to return on your way out
- It makes sense to scope out your purchase on line so that you find exactly what you are looking for.
I’m sharing this post with other WRITE TRIBERs on the WRITETRIBE PROBLOGGER CHALLENGE .