Distance and drive time are about the same from Santa Monica to the Carson IKEA or the Burbank IKEA, but having to go to the valley never sounds terribly appealing when you have to go through the Sepulveda Pass. But I couldn't resist getting a chance to see the new Burbank location. My theory was if it's THAT big they are going to have merchandise that other stores won't have. So I had to go check it out. The one thing I didn't know was that it was literally still the grand opening weekend.
When I got near the store I could quickly and clearly sense that this may have been a big mistake. There were hundreds of cars coming from every direction to get into the parking lot and there were large flashing traffic signs on the streets and police and paid parking attendants -- lots of them (!) trying to keep the traffic moving. It was crazy.
It took me at least 20, maybe 30 minutes to get from the street outside the store into the parking lot and then a few more minutes to find a parking space. I'm telling you there were dozens of people directing traffic on the streets and in the parking lots. It was insane. Side streets were closed and everyone was forced into certain streets for entrance and exit from the store and the neighborhood.
I seriously questioned my sanity to even try to visit the store. At that point driving the hour total to get back to the Westside and down to Carson didn't sound half bad. But I'd come all this way, I was intrigued and I was already there. How much more insane could it get? I just wanted to get inside to the restaurant and have a nice Scandinavian meatball lunch.
My next observation was that the store is gigantic. Walking up to it, you feel like an ant! I don't think I've ever felt so dwarfed by a retail store as I did that one. I headed towards the front entrance, which even though I was parked right next to the building was quite a long walk, with a few hundred of my new friends. Once inside, the lobby was crowded and there was a waiting line for the kid's play area. I quickly headed up the escalator only to be jammed up by hundreds of people at every turn in the showroom. I quickly slid through the crowd of wanderers, deciding to totally race through room vignettes, get to the restaurant, have my lunch and then head downstairs to the marketplace.
When I found the restaurant which was hard to see because of the thousands of people in the store, I saw that the seating was packed and there were several hundred people in line! Okay, skip lunch. But who knew how many hours it would take me to be able to extricate myself from the store and the parking lot to get food?!
(This photo is a bit deceiving because it does not show the crowds. There are a few dozen people within ten feet of me taking this photo.)
I quickly began politely racing through the room vignettes floor. While everyone else was browsing I was ducking between couples and families discussing different rooms and furniture they were considering. With great joy I found myself in the marketplace fairly quickly...and in a store that size I'm guessing it was probably 15-20 minutes walk. It wasn't a short walk and I only stopped a couple of times on the way through.
Once in the marketplace I got a cart and wondered if that was a completely insane thing to do with the crowds. But it actually never was much of a problem, everyone was polite with each other. Sometimes you might have to steer around blocked aisles but it never was too crazy, nor did I encounter any rude shoppers along the way. Apparently IKEA makes people happy enough, even in large crowds, that they remain pleasant. I seriously didn't hear one cross person in the store, except for a few loud sighs and "you've got to be kidding me" utterances at the mile long line to the restaurant. I said the same thing! Can you even imagine how many meatballs they sold that day or that first week?!
images via IKEA.com
I picked up four cushy, dark gray bath rugs knowing I could use them in our master bathroom or Kiddo's bathroom. We definitely need something a little softer and more easily washable in our bathroom.
I also got several of these fun solar silk lanterns and three small solar silk lantern strings for our outside patio area. Not totally sure where they'll hang but we have a couple of trees back there that could be the perfect to create a fun summer lighting arrangement. My big hope is that the solar feature really and truly works and isn't too dim. Fingers crossed. I thought these would be fun because they would be something that few people in NM would have seen or purchased since we don't have IKEA here.
images via Ikea.com
I had brought one empty suitcase with me just in case I had to bring some purchases home with me on the plane. There were a few things I would've bought had I not been limited to the space in that suitcase for sure. I was very lucky that I everything I chose to buy just barely fit into the extra suitcase. It worked out perfectly, thank goodness. I wasn't sure what I was going to do if I couldn't get everything in that bag. It was quite a load to carry from the front of the store to my "nearby" car which again was very close to the building and still a very long walk from the doors.
So that was my big weekend adventure to the new, gigantic Burbank IKEA. Here's a link to the KABC Los Angeles sneak preview that might give you more of a feel for the store.