I was in IKEA recently. That’s when it really hit me. IKEA is the kind of place you only go to at certain stages of your life. Like Chuck E Cheese’s, or the Proctologist.

July 15th is coming upon us like a freight train and there is still a million things to do before the baby gets here. We decided to go to IKEA to buy four shelves. One for Bella’s toys, one for the new baby and two for me in the new garage/office. We also needed a toy box. The toy box was out of stock and we realized we needed a bigger shelf which wouldn’t fit in our car. Then Bella beamed another kid in the head with one of the inflatable balls at the kid’s section. Bad behavior, but good arm. Anyway, it was a wasted trip. So I decided to come back a few days later with my friend’s SUV. It was a Honda CRV so I didn’t feel too guilty about it.

That’s when it hit me. You only go to IKEA at certain times in your life. The first time is usually when you need crappy furniture for your dorm or college apartment. Then you go again after college when you need more crappy furniture for your first crappy post college apartment.

Then, there’s a break. You get married, buy a house, and then you and your spouse both say, “Fuck IKEA. I want some nice furniture for a change.” So you buy some nice furniture, and then a child is born, you buy a baby set, and then a new set of furniture when they’re a toddler and then you think you’re done for a while.

Oh, no. Then the second baby comes and you wonder how the hell you’re going to afford it. You realize you’ve kept everything from the first baby but now you’re still paying off your toddler’s furniture. Sure, no interest for a year sounded great at the time… but “that year goes by so fast…”

So we needed more stuff. We didn’t use the word crappy. We used “cheaper”. So it was back to IKEA. Four bookcases for $200. Of course, you have to go into the stockroom and get them yourself and put them together like a Neanderthal, but oooh, the savings! And will our new son care that his bookshelf is made out of pressed paper and wood by-product? Eventually yes, but not for a while. We got him a nice picture of a rocket to distract him.

So God Bless ‘em, IKEA knows their market. Now that I think about it, after college when I was in there buying a table and chairs, I think the cashier looked at me funny. I couldn’t figure it out at the time but now I know that wily cashier was giving me a knowing look that was saying, “You’ll be back.”