The Cult of IKEA

36-ikea-humorIf there is one thing I know about myself it’s that I’m a horrible predictor of what the next big thing will be. Take the cupcake craze. When all the cupcakes shops started popping up in every other strip mall I laughed and said,”Yeah, right like who’s going to pay $3.75 for a cupcake?” Apparently, everyone.

Not learning my lesson I continued with my baked goods economic forecasting and thought the cake pop – a tablespoon of mashed up crumbs, dipped in frosting and shoved on a stick with a two dollar price tag – was one of the world’s biggest rip offs. Like, right up there with paying a buck for eight ounces of bottled tap water. I do believe I gave the cake pop, maybe, six months tops, before it would go the way of the dessert burrito.

You’ve never heard of the dessert burrito? Point made. But as for that cake pop, it couldn’t be any more popular. There are cake pop bouquets, cutesy, pink cake pop kitchen appliances, and even, yes, and I take this as the final blow to my skills as an economic futurist, cake pop cupcakes.

Another thing that befuddles me is the cult of IKEA. I don’t get it. I know many, many, people are excited about a new IKEA opening soon two towns over from where I live. So much so, that IKEA announced it would allow customers to line up 48 hours before the grand opening. If I had to compile a list of things I would stand in line 48 hours for, thus requiring me to use a 52-ounce Slurpee cup as a bathroom, IKEA wouldn’t make my top million. (Some of my top ten, just in care your curious, include any kind of cash give away that exceeds the low five figures and seeing the ghost of Abraham Lincoln.)

Because we’re talking about stuff right? Not a limited supply of an Ebola vaccine. As far as I know IKEA has furniture, bedding, wooden kitchen spoons and $5.99 mattress pads. For sure, the furniture is cute and inexpensive but don’t you have to put it together yourself? I think if a furniture assembly instruction page is longer than three sentences or in IKEA’s case three pictures and you have to wear reading glasses to magnify the image than you’ve most likely aged out of IKEA. (This would be me by the way.)

The last thing I bought at IKEA was in 1996 in Houston. I was eight months pregnant and attempting to put together an armoire for the baby’s room. The act of basically constructinikea2-1g furniture from almost scratch upset me so much I thought I was going into early labor. There were panels you had to put together and then you had to make sure you got the slide things on right so the drawers would go in smoothly.

The thing that really started my contractions was that I couldn’t get the drawer knobs on. You would think that would be the easy part. Just a little righty tighty and presto the knobs are on. But no, not even using my third trimester of pregnancy mom strength I couldn’t get those freaking knobs in.

I feel my blood pressure rising right now just thinking about it. I curse you armoire from IKEA! Most especially that special Swedish thingy you had to use because a good old U.S. of A screwdriver wouldn’t work. I’m telling you, the whole experience made me proud to live in a country that embraces the Phillips and flat head screwdrivers.

All of this is why I was taken aback when I read that there are 1,200 parking spaces at the new IKEA and store managers’ fear that won’t be enough. They predict 5 to 10,000 shoppers per day during their first couple of months in business. My immediate thought was, “IKEA, you Swedish drama queen, calm down. I think you’re a little full of yourself.”

Then I got on social media and discovered families were planning reunions that are right REUNIONS, based on IKEA shopping. What’s next church services being held in the various IKEA “inspiration room” settings? Will the prayers be directed to the God of Commerce or the coupon holy trinity of 30% off, free assembly or BOGO?

You know, just know, some enterprising mom is already planning her child’s IKEA birthday party featuring fun time in the kid’s play area followed by Swedish meatballs and birthday cake in the restaurant for the kids and salmon lasagna for the parents. Okay, I was sort of kidding about that but I just goggled “IKEA birthday parties” and guess what? It’s a real thing, complete with Pinterest pages.

Is this one of the signs the world is ending? I’m a little scared.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival. If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Bites

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What is it with summer that brings out all the culinary kill joys?  The elitism associated with summer food is ridiculous. I love a good Farmers Market and heirloom tomato right along with everyone else. But, I’m exhausted by all the sound and fury that now goes into preparing dinner. Grocery shopping or dining out shouldn’t make you feel like an idiot.  People have asked me this summer if I’m a localvoire or if I’m embracing the slow foods movement.  Localvoire just sounds scary.  Like you’re a member of Hannibal Lecter’s supper club and I thought slow foods meant using the crock-pot.   The pretentiousness has even invaded that scared backyard experience known as grilling.  Pimping out your grill, I think, reached an apex this summer with introduction of the $35,000 Talos outdoor cooking suite.  I could remodel my entire kitchen for $35,000 and besides grilling is a pretty fundamental experience.  Put raw meat on top of fire.  Fire cooks meat. Eat meat.  Now, grills look like stainless steel edifices with searing stations and enough BTU’s to launch the Space Shuttle.  (Dare I say, the bigger the grill the smaller the you know.) Then there’s the grilling pizza stone, slider burger press, jalapeno pepper roaster, meatball grill basket (Really, meatballs on the grill?) and all those fancy rubs and “finishing” salts.  You know the cooking contest I want to see?  My father with his Weber charcoal grill, lean ground beef and pepper grinder versus a Cookout Czar with his massive grill and assorted accessories.  Winner – my dad.

Cupcakes: I’m also sick of the on going, I thought it would be over by now, cupcake craze. Let’s be honest about what a cupcake really is – a sneaky form of portion control. While you can cut yourself a gianormous piece of cake and call it one slice no such luck with a cupcake.  I figure to equal my one “self cut” or “custom” slice of cake I would have to eat at, the very least, a half-dozen cupcakes.  Hmm, what statement sounds like you are less in need of lap band surgery –  I enjoyed one slice of cake or I just inhaled six cupcakes?    In my neighborhood three cupcake bakeries have opened with a single chocolate cupcake going for almost $3.00.  That’s crazy. I can buy a box of Duncan Hines for 88 cents that makes two dozen cupcakes and I can lick the bowl. Advantage – Mr. Hines. Last night I found myself watching Cupcake Wars on the Food Network featuring salmon cupcake. Yeah, you read that right, fish cupcakes.  Aren’t fish cupcakes a direct violation of the bakery code of conduct?  I believe it’s item 419, sub section 3:  “Thou shalt not add meat, poultry or fish to a baked good that requires frosting.”

Cake Dudes:  The Cake Boss and all other cake guru’s are also starting to bother me.  First, those cakes “iced” with fondant are not exactly a taste sensation.  Buttercream, as any chunky girls knows, is the only frosting that really matters.  Fondant is made from sugar and gelatin.  Once again, people – it’s not frosting if it doesn’t contain butter. Plus, it seems like the cakes are baked way too far in advanced and then hermetically sealed with fondant?   We’re not talking just baked freshness here.  Also, have you noticed that they put the cakes in their vans without any kind of saran wrap or anything.  Think of the carpet fibers, insects, spewing saliva, and sneezes that must float around and land on the cakes.  One time, Duff, the Ace of Cakes guy, drove from Baltimore to the West coast with a wedding cake in the back of his van, totally, uncovered. Ick.  By the time it got there it probably had a whole assortment of gas station and roadside rest stop smells embedded in the fondant.  Tasty – maybe not.  Aromatic for all the wrong reasons – definitely.

 

McDonalds: Everyone needs to back off and leave McDonalds alone. Lawsuits aimed at McDonalds because we are a nation of fatties is just so wrong.  No one is forcing us to shove those yummy, greasy, salty french fries into our mouths.  It’s called free will and our free will wants to repeatedly experience frygasam.  I have a long, intense and complicated love affair with McDonalds. This summer it really heated up when I began emotional cheating on my husband.  My affections and down right lust have been directed at the Reece Peanut Butter Cup snack size McFlurry.  It’s like I’ve fallen in love all over again. Remember when you first fell in love?  The unfettered happiness. The giddy feeling you would get when you saw each other.  The excruciating loneliness of being apart.  That’s how I feel about my snack size McFlurry.  It’s a cold, crunchy, kind of love wrapped up in smooth creamy goodness.  We have clandestine meetings, usually at night, in the McDonalds parking lot.  I make up some lame excuse about needing something at the store, eagerly drive to Micky D’s, my heart rate climbing as I get closer to my beloved. I order my snack size McFlurry in a kind of sexy rasp, then drive to a secluded area where no one can see me making out with that one-of-a-kind spoon.  Sure, I feel bad and ashamed afterwards.  Sure, I tell myself, as I’m wiping off peanut butter cup residue off my face, that it will never happen again.  But, the emotional pull is just too great.  I’m afraid I have found my soul-mate and its name is McFlurry.

**For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new Spring/Summer  Snarky line of clothing and accessories. Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.) Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.