Saturday, March 20, 2010

IKEA, Costco, repeat.

Whew! No, I'm not getting bored with this new blog yet, my lack of posting is due to the fact that we've been moving to a new apartment this week. We're still in the CBD, just a few blocks further north. When we moved here from the States we decided to sell most of our belongings and start fresh when we got here. We figured it would cost about the same to ship a container as it would be to start over. Also most of our furniture was scaled to a much larger home, rather than a small inner city apartment. So we opted to stay in a serviced apartment for the first couple of months while we got our bearings. That way we didn't have to worry about buying furniture, etc for a while. Well, that has come to an end. We've signed a lease, and are now working on furnishing this place.

First stop...IKEA

(Photo by Glen Hunt - I was hardly about to lug my camera with me on an all day shopping spree)
If you've never visited an Ikea store, prepare to get lost. There are two main levels, the tope floor is the showroom and the lower floor is where they house most of the items for sale- i.e. you browse the top floor, making notes of what you'd like to buy, then go to the bottom floor and pick up those items.
The whole store is set up like a Las Vegas casino. They do their best to keep you there as long as possible. There are no windows, so who knows what time of day it is! There is a cafeteria type restaurant  conveniently located at the stair/lift down to the lower level. This way you can grab a bite to eat and all of a sudden you're re-energized for another level of shopping. Finally, each level is essential a one way maze. You are meant to follow the path (arrows included, so you don't fell too lost) which winds around the store passing through each and every section. If you really keep your eye out you can find a few shortcuts, they tough part is knowing whether it's taking you ahead (toward the exit) or back where you started.
That being said... I am very grateful for IKEA. They make it possible to furnish a 2 bedroom apartment in just a couple of visits, and for a reasonable price. But be warned you have to put everything together yourself! Whenever I mention going to IKEA everybody loves to make the same joke "you have to have an engineering degree to put that stuff together" haha. It's really not that difficult.
If you have a car, you'll be amazed at how much you can fit, since all the items come flat packed in boxes, but if you're buying large items, like mattresses and sofas, or if you're like me and don't have a car, they have a delivery service. They were able to deliver all of my items the following morning. Be warned however, they do not deliver anything breakable. So if you're buying dishes, glasses, lamps, etc, be prepared to carry it out (in my case that meant 2 HUGE bags and a box of dinnerware- all the home via two trams, ugh!)

Next... Costco

The sofa I wanted was at Costco, along with items like vacuum, microwave, fans, bins. So I made a trip over there, not too bad, a quick tram ride to the Docklands , walk through HarbourTown shopping center (no complaints there- we'll do a longer post later on that) an there's Costco. Now any of my friends back in Texas will confirm that I LOVE Costco! I frequented our store about once a week. Now, however, it is pretty impractical to lug a 24 pack of paper towels on the tram and up 20+ levels to my apartment, and then have no space to store my monstrous package of paper towels (or cases and cases of Diet Coke). So I don't go there often, but when I do... It's like being home again! The staff was very helpful getting my sofa onto a trolley and up to the front where my bill totaled over $1000! I had to laugh when the cashier then asked if I'd be willing to donate $1 to the Royal Children's Hospital Fund- how selfish would I have felt if I couldn't give $1 on top of my already whopping bill.
My only problem surfaced when I tried to get my items home. On a previous trip I had been told that Costco does not provide delivery service (you have to arrange that yourself) so I had called a moving company to come and pick up my items and deliver them to my apartment. Before I left the store I spoke with the merchandise pickup guys to check and double check that my items would be released to the delivery guys as long as they had my details (member number, receipt, etc.) But of course when the delivery guys showed up there Costco said no way could they give them my stuff without the receipt, don't worry I got on the phone and let them have it, luckily I had the name of the guy I had talked to and they allowed my items to be delivered, whew. But for future reference don't try it!

Another trip to IKEA to get the mattress that was previously out of stock
Another trip to Costco to get a few more items I forgot
and I think we're finished!

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