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Pints make prizes
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Pints make prizes

I have a somewhat fractious relationship with the Swedish monolith [IKEA]: so fractious, in fact, that I swore blind I would never return after my one-and-only visit about fifteen years ago which left me feeling like the Minotaur in the underground labyrinth at Kyssos, writes Peter Edgerton

Friday, 19 April 2024, 18:46

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As you might expect, after nine years, lots of stuff in the pub has been showing signs of wear and tear, not least the owner. Recently, we noticed the latest objects in need of renewal - the pint glasses for beer.

You'd think that this would just be a question of popping to the pint glass shop, but the particular style that we like (think 1970s spit-and-sawdust pubs) is really hard to find.

Imagine my delight then when somebody told me they knew where we could buy the style of glass we were looking for. My heart leapt with unbridled joy at the news.

"Where? Where can I get them?"

"IKEA."

My heart promptly slunk back whence it came.

The thing is, I have a somewhat fractious relationship with the Swedish monolith: so fractious, in fact, that I swore blind I would never return after my one-and-only visit about fifteen years ago which left me feeling like the Minotaur in the underground labyrinth at Kyssos, having purchased nothing but unable to find any exit for love nor money. In the end I was only saved from a date with eternity by a kindly storehouse worker who, noting my utter despair, ushered me out of a hidden staff exit as if she were helping me slip from North to South Korea with no papers.

Thus, I was on the horns of a dilemma: break my vow never to return or not have enough pint glasses for the Manchester City v. Real Madrid football match. I'm not sure what caused me to cave in - it may have been the disturbing image of fat baldy blokes with tattoos being forced to sip daintily on halves of lager or it may have been the realisation that fifteen years is a long time and things change. Well, not in this case, they don't.

It all started rather well. A very amenable chap showed me to the beer glass department and pointed out the ones I wanted. Great. I picked up a box of eighteen (quite heavy) and followed the arrows on the floor. Big mistake. After five minutes of wandering round what was, presumably, the psychedelic rug department I asked a woman stocking shelves where the tills were hidden. She rattled off the names various departments from lighting to bed linen while interspersing them with 'left, 'right, and 'straight on' at random intervals.

She then strongly advised me to get a trolley, no doubt questioning whether I had the stamina for the feat of endurance that lay ahead. Oh no, I wasn't falling for that one. Next thing you know, it'd be full of lava lamps, scented candles, meatballs and other people's children - not necessarily in that order. I'll cradle my eighteen glasses in my arms, thank you very much.

After a week or two, I finally arrived at the fully-automated, card-swiping check-out where I asked a very pleasant woman where I could pay in cash. She gazed at me as you might gaze upon an ancient relic in the British Museum and pointed towards a somewhat lonely-looking machine in the corner.

I sped over, paid up and legged it sharpish. See you in fifteen years.

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