We have never visited the renowned mecca of the shopping world in Charlotte, NC nor in Chicago, IL when we were there. Steve and I are not really avid shoppers. To entice Steve to shop for something, the item has to either have microchips or guitar strings, or there has to be a significant chance that Faith Hill will be at the store. So when we moved into our new apartment and discovered there were still a few household items that we could use to make ourselves more comfortable, we were told resoundingly by all our expatriate friends that we needed to go to Ikea.
After settling in for a few days, we went online to find out exactly where the nearest Ikea magasin is located. The website showed it to be at 150 avenue Gabriel Péri 38400 St-Martin-d’Hères. Google put it at 4.5 kilometres, about 3 miles, away from our apartment. The Ikea site gave us not only driving directions, but also listed the bus and tram information to get there. We could pick up tram C which is 30 seconds around the corner from home and then connect to bus 41 which would let us off right at Ikea’s doorstep. We made a list of what we thought we might want to get and headed out the door.
Thirty minutes after leaving the apartment, we got off at the bus stop located right in front of the Ikea store. How convenient! We made our way inside and climbed the stairs which was sporting a snake handrail. At the top of the stairs we immediately found ourselves faced with a dining area. Looking at our watches and then each other, we decided we’d stop for something to eat before taking on the always dreaded task of shopping.
We grabbed some trays and one of the rolling carts that allows you to stack multiple trays on it and got on line. Whoever was the first person to pair pictures of food with a caption and prices has my eternal gratitude. By the time we had approached the serving area, we had made our decisions. The salmon plat du jour looked good to me, and Steve wanted to try the Swedish meatballs. Smiling and saying, “S’il vous plaît”, while pointing to the picture and attempting to pronounce the dish scored us lunch. Before reaching the cashier, we needed to decide what we wanted to drink. Okay, this IS France. I’m not sure about the U.S. Ikeas, but here the choices not only include Coca-Cola and Pepsi, coffee, tea and milk, but also beer and wine! Yes, it was only about 12:30, but for us there is not much of a choice when a cup of soda cost 1,20€ and a glass of wine is 1,70€. Besides, resvératrol is better for our health than sugary syrup. We had a choice between un verre ou une carafe. The carafe won.
The next floor up from the café held furniture and other household goods. We chose a bookcase, desk chair, another chair for the salon and a dresser for the bedroom. Since we are sans une voiture, we made the arrangements for delivery for two days hence. On that day as I was returning from the grocery store about 5:30 p.m., I received a call on our then only phone, the mobile, from the driver saying he would be there in 15 minutes. He was delivering our order at the busiest time of the day on one of the busiest streets in Grenoble! I hurried home and alerted Steve. Waiting for the truck on the street, we propped open the apartment building main door. The delivery guy stopped in front of the building at the red light, put on the van’s flashers, jumped out and started unloading the boxes into the building’s foyer. The delivery deal was only into the building, not up to our apartment. He shoved a clipboard at me for a signature, and then he was off. If I timed him, I think the whole delivery took under 4 minutes. We managed to fit everything onto the elevator and hauled it upstairs.
Since then we’ve made a couple more trips to Ikea for some household items. We’d probably give the food at Ikea a B-. After all this is the land where Julia Child spent her “formative years”! (But wait, Ikea is Swedish. ) That aside, what we’re realizing is that for us savoring every experience is more important than having the perfect experience.
plat du jour: today’s special
S’il vous plaît: Please
un verre ou une carafe: a glass or a carafe
une voiture: a car