Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I {heart} IKEA

Yes, I heart IKEA (more than I heart ABBA, which says a lot!)
IKEA Pittsburgh has always had a special place in my heart. I used to work there. It was a time when I was rebuilding my life. From the ground up. Literally! I was in my late 20's, unemployed, living with my folks and going through a heartbreaking divorce. I had desperately been searching for a job in my field (graphic design) and out of my field since post-9/11 and finally got a part-time job in sales at IKEA in 2003. It may not have been my dream job but it turned out to be a great job during that time of my life. I learned so much about myself, what I was capable of, what other people are really made of, how to work power tools, how to push through adversity and keep smiling at my customers even if I was dying inside. I also met some awesome people from all walks of life. That job really humbled me and gave me a deeper compassion and understanding of who people are and accepting them as they are.

Which leads me to a trip to my old stomping grounds over this past weekend. I actually made TWO trips to IKEA (and they were twice as nice!). I haven't been there in awhile and there has been so many changes. Good changes. They had remodeled; which looks fantastic. Most of the faces have changed, but sometimes that happens in retail jobs. I love the design of the store, their merchandise and the fact that they are very family-friendly.

Quite a spread for all of us!
Hubby, the toddler and myself swooped in Sunday afternoon to pick up a few things and while we were there we decided to have lunch in the restaurant. I was always impressed with IKEA food. We had such a great deal when I was an employee. I think I only paid $2 for a meal and we had a nice employee lounge that led out to a balcony where you could choose to eat on nice days and watch the planes fly low overhead. They also had an interesting menu with such things as swedish meatballs with ligonberry preserves, great coffee and delicious chocolate cake. They also had the usual items like chicken fingers, fries, mac n' cheese, pasta, etc.

Mr. James is quite pleased with his swedish meatballs
and mac n' cheese
They have some healthier options on the menu this year. There was an all natural antibiotic-free chicken breast with penne pasta in a vegetable herb sauce, salmon, potato rösti, and the addition of a salad bar. I ended up choosing my old favorite--swedish meatballs, cream sauce, mashed potatoes and ligonberry preserves.  There's also kid sized items too! Did you know that they also serve free coffee in the restaurant before the store opens? Score! Free Wi-Fi? Double score!

microwave area, high chairs and plastic-ware for the kids
The price was also very affordable in relation to the amount of food we received. I thought it was generous. It was under $20 for the three of us. Other great features were a microwave counter to warm bottles for formula (or baby food) and colorful plastic kid plates and utensils (wish I would've noticed that after I rummaged through my diaper bag for a plastic spoon). A play area in the back corner of the restaurant was a big plus for older toddlers that finish their meals and can't help but squirm in their seats waiting to be free.

I always get warm and fuzzy when I walk through the place and remember where I was so many years ago and thank the Lord for carrying me all those years to where I am now in
my life.

Play area


Rebecca said...

Ah, memories. I remember the days when we were both single girls working retail. We had some good times! :)

Now look at us!

Leah the Foodie said...

I know Beck!!

kait said...

i too love eating at Ikea, let me know when you go again!

Medifast Coupons said...

Ikea is one of our favorite places to shop and just love how kid friendly they really are.
We took our grandson one visit and because we are really out of the parent thing, we go with nothing. I mean here we are with this toddler who obviously has needs, like maybe a diaper grandma, and nope we didn't take any, not even thinking about it. Problem, nope they have them, oh how about a drink, yeah no problem, sippy cups, bottles, you name it.
And cheer for Ikea!!