Wednesday, March 2, 2016

My IKEA Birthday Madness

How many times a day does a funny thought cross your mind, but you choose not to act on it because it is not what is expected? Whether it be that urge to do a cartwheel down an empty hallway, or the urge to stick a "stunt driver in training" bumper sticker on that vehicle that has one too many dents in it, I think we need to give in to these urges a little more often. And well... this year's birthday celebration comes to you from one of those passing thoughts that just hung on. 

I have always been a fan of IKEA. From the little wooden children's table that my parents bought for my brother and I that is now onto its second generation of use, to the EXPEDIT (KALLAX) that hides a multitude of sins and comes in many sizes to fit any space, I have always found myself roaming the halls of IKEA looking for the next solution to my home entertainment and storage needs. One of the many afternoons spent at IKEA investigating the showrooms, a funny thought crossed my mind that it would be quite hilarious to move into one of these showrooms for an evening and so...

This year for my birthday I decided to have my birthday party at IKEA! You see, some of my friends are single parents or stay at home moms, and with the way the economy is these days you can't assume that people have the spare money for a night out on the town.  That being said, the meals a the Restaurant and Cafe are affordable, delicious (and who can resist those tiny meatballs) and they even sell beer and wine until 7pm! Who knew?! Also having my birthday somewhere else meant that I didn't have to clean my house pre or post party. WIN, WIN, WIN!

Now IKEA in no way endorsed this event, nor did they know we were coming, so it took a bit of careful planning and strategy to mostly fly under the radar. 

The plan:
1: Dinner at the IKEA Cafe and Restaurant
2: Invade the showroom for a board game extravaganza
3: When we get asked to leave, break out into groups for a photo scavenger hunt.

Well dinner was lovely, and the restaurant gets quite busy on a Friday night. One couple we talked to come just for the food! We discussed the best wine pairing for the meatballs (did you know they now have a vegetarian meatball option too) and listened to the tables near us noticing my friends were coming up with gift bags and realizing that I, in fact, had decided to have my birthday party at IKEA!

Well once we had finished up with the wine, and mustered up the courage to move to phase two, I gathered up the group and started leading the way to one of the showrooms I had my eye on from the scope out I did the few weeks before. A few of us settled in at the dining table for a few rounds of Taboo, and the rest of us made ourselves quite comfortable on the KIVIK corner sofa and pulled up the RISSNA coffee table that fit my Rummoli board just perfectly. Rummoli seemed to be the biggest hit and the rest of the group (and very nearly one of the shoppers) joined up with the game. Well we had shoppers stop to ask us if we were filming an ad, or if IKEA had hired us to do this. It was quite entertaining watching peoples reactions as they walked past. How are they doing that? they said. That looks like fun!, they said. I'm pretty sure we sold one of those couches as we were siting there.


Well once the same IKEA worker had walked past eyeing us for the third time, I decided it was time to move onto phase three. Photo scavenger hunt. The hunt included things like: 

help a customer load their car,
best outfit using showroom display items (did you know they have all those clothes tied onto the hangers, I guess they did foresee us coming after all), 
hide a loonie (that's Canadian currency for a dollar by the way) where a child might find it,
hide random items in a shoppers cart,
buy someone an ice-cream,
most selfies with a staffer,
freeze like mannequins in a showroom for five minutes,
and my favorite... Most people on a couch! Team blue FTW on this one with 15 people on a NORSBORG U shaped couch. Funny thing is, one of the shoppers we recruited for this challenge ended up being the ones we helped load their purchases into their car! So I guess they were not afraid of us after all :)



I also hatched a Plan B, lest it all go south quickly and booked a room in a hotel just across the street. I would like to thank Sandman South Calgary for the upgrade to a suite for my birthday! It was a great touch-down spot for in between locations, and to the attached Denny's restaurant for my free Grand Slam Breakfast (which i ate for dinner)

In the end, a fun time was had by all. Most of us bought meals, I bought lots of IKEA goodies for some adult loot bags, and a couple more people bought one or two items they needed along the way. Nothing was damaged, nobody was hurt, we stayed out of the way of legitimate customers, and we were surprisingly never asked to leave (though we were at one point told we were flagged by LP -loss prevention) they kept a close eye on us, but I thank IKEA for letting us enjoy ourselves and giving me a birthday that I won't soon forget.

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If you have any questions, or I have missed anything, please leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer. I would also welcome leaving a link or picture of your completed project!