Trolling Ikea

Last Friday I was taken to Ikea to look for placemats to protect our soft-and-fragile-as-a-baby’s-bottom dining table. This Ikea has just opened up in Pudong and it’s the biggest Ikea on Asia.

Have I moved to Texas? It seems like every post I’m talking about something or other that’s just huge, which I thought was Texas’ claim to fame–you know–“they do everything bigger and better in Texas?”

We tramped around Ikea for about 90 minutes and I did find placemats and I thought, drawer dividers, but just as I was measuring them, I deleted the email with the measurements of the drawers that I had sent myself so I had to guestimate whether they would fit.  (There I was being so techy with my iPhone–fail.) I guestimated, “Yes, they will fit!”

They didn’t fit. 3/8 of an inch too long.

So Mark and I went back on Saturday and returned them. Turns out that even at a big store like Ikea, returning items for credit back to your credit card is like going back in time about 20 years.  There’s none of that “scan your receipt” or “swipe your card”, and your done.  We’re talking the old forms, hand written in triplicate with name, address, phone number, 1st born child etc recorded by hand. After about 10 minutes of this Mark and I realized that we should have picked the in-store gift card return option.

We were also in the market for a small cabinet to put a new printer we were buying at Media Markt to go with our new paper shredder.  I’m well known as an anti-paper shredder, but it turns out that here in China you often get credit card receipts with your full credit card number printed on them! The credit card system hasn’t quite come up to speed yet.

I must say there’s something oddly satisfying about shredding paper isn’t there?

Ikea is exhausting

So remember this picture from a couple weeks ago?

At the time I figured these guys were guards for a government office or a consulate. Well last Friday I discovered what they were actually guarding: one of the gated housing complexes in Pudong. We were dropping off one of the women we’d been shopping with and there were the guards at the entrance and scattered throughout the complex and in front of her house, fairly bristling with their effort to stand at attention.

Really? Umm, last time I checked we weren’t living in Mexico…or Pakistan…or Columbia.

So, the other morning I happened to look out the window and I saw this:

No, he’s not suicidal. He’s just a really industrious cleaning person who found a dirty spot outside the window and didn’t want to wait until the window cleaners came.

You know, the ones with the ropes and harnesses who clean windows with some modicum of safety,


He was approximately on the floor that joins up with the brown part at the top of the picture. Feel nauseous yet?

Elevator Flowers



About DECRYPTKNIT: knitter on the loose in Shanghai

Hi, I'm Marisa Newhouse, a former pharmacist (for a brief time during the Reagan administration) who's real calling was probably anything that has to do with cooking, plants, literature and especially knitting; hence my last and favorite job, working at Woolyminded, a wonderful yarn store. But now, I have moved half a world away to Shanghai where my husband will be working. Lots of people are interested in what we will be doing here and I have always kept journals of our travels, so I thought I'd do it the modern way and keep a blog.
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2 Responses to Trolling Ikea

  1. So I must know….who were these other women you went shopping with on Friday? and WHO lives in the gated community that is protected by the marching soldiers…. so fascinating 🙂

  2. Gary Owen says:

    I hope you receive this is the same way I am reading your blogs. I mean month by month :-). I am impressed that the way the Chinese live. It sounds like fun!

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