A Wheelchair in an IKEA Store
IKEA had a big ol' grand opening sale for their new store just north of Dallas today. My wife and daughter wanted to go there to check stuff out and get some great bargains. Wanting to spend time with my family, I figured I'd join them.
Good news for them was they could use my handicapped parking privilege to get a good spot. Given how parking extended out into Oklahoma, this was a very good thing.
So we go inside and we're smitten with what happens when you dump all the occupants of the cars in the lot into a store and shove them all toward bargains. It was a HUGE press of people, and we had to make our way through the crowd. We got hustled upstairs and started on our quest for bargains.
First thing I did was ask for a wheelchair. No way would my legs make it through all the store, standing and walking. Wheelchairs were on the first floor, so I had to go back down there and get my wheels. This meant separating from the rest of the family - BIG MISTAKE. Folks, you do NOT want to split up at an Ikea grand opening. Noway, nohow.
I get set up in the chair and head back upstairs. Somehow, I get turned around the wrong way and wind up at the restaurant, at the very end of the path everyone's supposed to follow through the store. That means I gotta wheel my way upstream to get back to my wife and kids. It's hard enough walking against a crowd, but wheeling?
Let me tell you bipeds a little something about folks with wheels... they're not flexible. They can't jump to the side to suddenly make room for you. They have much more momentum, and they WILL roll over your feet if you step in front of them. Today, I was among the wheeled. Fortunately, I didn't collide with anyone, but I had to put up with some interesting dilemmas.
First of all, I saw a lot of butts. When you're in a wheelchair, everyone's butt is at your eye level.
Next, I did try pulling into some of the desks there and found that most weren't made for a guy over six feet tall in a wheelchair. If I ever go wheeled permanently, I'll need some special furniture, I tell you what.
When you're riding low in the chair, you have to call out "excuse me!" a lot. If you don't, you'll smack into everyone standing around gawking at the stuff in the store. They're expecting walkers to ease past them, not small vehicles making their way. You also have to stop frequently for people who think they can pass in front of you like they would a normal walker. That's a bad idea, and if you're ever among wheeled folk, don't jump in front of them.
Eventually, I plowed my way back to the front and found the family. The upper floor was uncomfortably warm and stifling, most likely from all the people milling about. As soon as we got to the first floor to pull our stuff and check out, we were treated to real air conditioning.
We were also treated to a huge line. Thank goodness for the wheelchair!
The line was so long, we all polished off a box of Swedish cookies and a couple of complimentary bottled waters.
We went in at 4:30 and made it out around 7PM. I am so thankful I took the wheeled way, or I would be in massive spasms right about now. It was exhausting enough, as it was, but I'm glad I went. If I go again, I'll take a digital camera, switch off the flash, and assemble a number of shots for a butt montage titled, "View From a Wheelchair". Might even get a federal grant for it, if I play my cards right.
by Dean Webb