10 July 2011
I was on the receiving end of what I am calling IKEA Rage today.
IKEA Rage is a bit like road rage, only without the road... or the cars.
I suppose it's my own fault for going to IKEA on a Sunday morning. Everyone else from Buckinghamshire and beyond had the same idea. It was hot and stuffy and full to bursting with people. I'd already run the gauntlet of surly staff and managed to make my way through the Marketplace with only three items in my bag. This is a new world record. It is also remarkable for the fact that none of these three items were tea lights.
I'd loaded up my flat trolley with flat pack furniture (a jolly evening for us beckons) and made my way to the checkouts. As I waited in the longest queue in the world I wondered what fresh level of Hell I was in.
I was about to go down a level. A man with a trolley piled high with stuff said 'excuse me' and tried to move in front of me. I said 'I don't think so'. This was the wrong thing to say. His girlfriend was ahead of me and they both turned to tell me I was out of order, she had been saving their place in the queue. She even threatened to start her five month old baby crying(?!)
I said 'go on then' and moved to let him through, but he said he'd rather find somewhere else than go in front of me because I had told him he could (again,?!). His girlfriend told him not to be so stupid. Aha, a voice of reason. He joined her. I was pretty wound up by this point and made the mistake of shaking my head and saying a sarcastic 'you're welcome', in reply to his lack of a thank you.
This was when it really started. He shouted abuse at me. I glared back at him, a Hard Stare covering up my horror. He turned away. I thought it was all over, but after a couple of minutes he turned round and started again. He wanted to argue about why I'd been in the wrong. My initial response was to say 'I let you in, didn't I?', but that wasn't good enough for him. He barked a few more questions at me. I said 'I'm not going to argue with you'. He carried on arguing. I mustered all of my courage, looked him in the eye and said 'no'. I turned away from him.
Since it is difficult to argue on your own he stopped talking at me and started talking about me. He was addressing his girlfriend, but said everything loud enough for me to hear and anyone within a ten metre radius, which, given how busy it was, was a lot of people.
My face flushed. This was horrendous. If you know me online or in real life, you will know that I don't do confrontation. I don't do debate. I don't write anything controversial.
I kept it together until I got into the car, but once there I cried. I mean, I properly sobbed. I got a sore face from wiping away the tears. I hadn't cried this much since my cat died. I couldn't drive in that state. Luckily I had my phone with me and was able to go on Twitter to see some friendly faces. Thank you to everyone who offered virtual cake, tea and sympathy.
On reflection I wonder about the etiquette of place holders in queues. Is it acceptable to use a place holder in shops? How do we feel about joining a queue at the supermarket, behind an old man carrying a loaf of bread, only for him to be joined shortly afterwards by his wife with a trolley full of groceries?
I think it's all about expectations. We choose which queue we are going to join based on how much the people in front of us have in their trolleys. If the girl in front of me at IKEA had the teetering mound of stuff she went home with, instead of one bag of tea lights in her hand, I would have chosen another queue. It's not as clear cut as they would like to believe. Also, they were only hard done by for a few minutes. My misunderstanding did not warrant the abuse I got or how it made me feel.
Now, I realise I didn't cover myself in glory today. I was grumpy and tried, albeit briefly, to stand my ground. Unfortunately this will be one of the incidents from my life that will haunt me forever. Tears will prickle in my eyes every time I hear or see IKEA mentioned. Why didn't I just keep quiet? Why did I get so upset? It's not a big deal in the general scheme of things. But still, it was pretty horrible. I guess I was in shock and a little scared.
I'd hate to cut him up at a roundabout.
So that's me and IKEA finished. I've always overlooked the overcrowding because I like a bargain. I also loved meeting NotSupermum in the Warrington IKEA for coffee or lunch when I lived in the North West. I thought it was quite sweet that the boys were getting their first Billy bookcase. Sadly, it will be their first and their last.