What’s your retail crack?

Once, in an Ikea checkout queue, I stood behind a girl buying a coffee mug.

One coffee mug. Clearly, she didn’t get it. And by “it”, I mean the imperative to buy 35 things you don’t need. And obviously the one thing you do actually need. Which won’t be in stock.

But I digress.  One coffee mug just isn’t doing justice to the phenomenon of Ikea Insanity – a sickness that must surely be recognised by the medical fraternity soon.

Who hasn’t found the Ikea catalogue in the letterbox and skipped inside singing “Happy Days Are Here Again!”, made a coffee/tea/alcoholic beverage, instructed the kids to keep outside a 10 metre exclusion zone, and meticulously worked their way through The. Best. Catalogue. Ever.  Ok, that may just have been me.

Still. Who hasn’t walked into “Sweden of the South” and not known the inexplicable but inevitable urge to buy

  • storage boxes in a variety of sizes
  • kitchen utensils (that you already own but that aren’t as pretty)
  • cushions with Nordic prints embroidered onto them (because how good do they look in that display!)
  • bags of straws (they’re Swedish so derr, they’re better)
  • a selection of photo frames (because a wall of family photos in random frames is so now)
  • a set of file trays (because that will get you started on setting up a home office)

The fact that you specifically journeyed to Ikea to buy an Expedit Shelving Unit is inconsequential.  You will need a Färgrik Mellan plate and set of Chosigt funnels every bit as much. Only you didn’t know it.

I felt like tapping One Mug Girl on the shoulder and asking her where the rest of her stuff was. Was she just barring a place in the checkout queue (which is a whole ‘nother issue…) waiting for her boyfriend to arrive with a trolley full of Galej tealight holders and a bulk load of Punktlig napkins (because they’re just so freaking cheap!). But no, it appeared she truly had just taken the two-hour (at least), one-way (and only one-way, people!) journey through the suburb-sized structure that is Ikea. For a mug. Amateur.


Ikea isn’t my only retail crack. I am the same with Officeworks, Kikki-K, Aldi, and chemists.  And I have the 23 different sizes of post-it notes, half a dozen stylish journals, a pantry full of German mini-meringues and animal crackers, and a drawer full of eyeliner and $1.99 nail polish to prove it.

What is your retail crack?

Nicole McLachlan was personal assistant to Federal Ministers and CEOs for an aeon. She’s a newly minted stay at home mum who irons, punctuates perfectly and blogs at ironingandapostrophes


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