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Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Ikea. I realize 15% isn't much, but it's not often there's a storewide sale, so I took advantage. Oddly, only the Paramus location was participating, which was fine by me since Elizabeth is busted and rife with NYCers and Hicksville feels far on the LIE. At Paramus the workers are grown up white people, that's how you know you're in a real suburb (as opposed to ratty Elizabeth). Jobs that only minority teens will do in the city are performed by joe schmos in most parts of the country. I know I've lived here too long when smiling, helpful workers make me suspicious.

Everything is efficient, clean and well stocked, the dead opposite of picked over sour puss Elizabeth. There was a cart guy who actually offered to take ours as we were pushing them back to the store after loading our car. A woman comes around and takes plates and washes the tables while you're dining in the caf. The coke-bottle-spectacled cashier who seemed like a library shelver reject made small talk about the Hella Jongerius vase I'd purchased. "Do you read the Bergen Record"? Uh, no. Apparently, there had been an article on these vessels, which is why the stock had been nearly depleted–the white one I'd wanted was gone and we got the last pink one.

They had free sheet cake and there was more than enough to go around and there wasn't even a line (I could only imagine how this would play out in the Red Hook location, if it ever opens. It would be a messy mob scene, for sure) Um, I could do without their house reggae band, Verdict, who has been playing bad covers on more than one occasion. But that's a small price to pay for an otherwise sane shopping experience.

Ikea * 100 Ikea Dr., Paramus, NJ

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