Tampa's Ikea is here
You know how a simple shopping trip to Target for some toothpaste and toilet paper can end up costing $100 because you can't resist picking up that cute bathing suit, some lip gloss, note cards and a frame, too?
That, my friends, is a lot like the Ikea shopping experience.
Even if you don't love the bargain, self-assembly furniture, even if you don't have space in your home for more stuff, you walk the two-thirds of a mile lap through the warehouse and suddenly you think OMIGOSH, IKEA HAS SO MUCH THAT I NEED AND WANT THAT I DIDN'T EVEN REALIZE I NEEDED OR WANTED UNTIL RIGHT NOW! You start dreaming about new lamps, new bookcases, new rugs, new mirrors...well, you get the picture.
At least, that's what I experienced when I visited Ikea on its opening day Wednesday. To read more about that crazy scene, click here.
Or, if you are planning to head there yourself (it's located at Adamo Drive and 22nd Street, on the edge of Ybor City), consider these shopping tips to help you along:
1. Wear blinders: Ikea is a blessing and a curse for budget shoppers. You'll find plenty of deals, including the store's cheapest item, a 29-cent ceramic tumbler. But be wary of getting swept up in the euphoria of newness and bounty. Even inexpensive things add up when you buy lots of them.
2. Make time: This is more of a shopping destination than a quick stop on an errand run. The average shopper spends two to three hours in Ikea. If you want to speed things up, grab a map and learn the shortcuts around the 353,000-square-foot store.
3. Wear comfy shoes: A single lap around the Tampa store is two-thirds of a mile. The place is big. Bigger than Home Depot big.
4. Stay open: Ikea's sample rooms provide tons of decorating ideas and organizing solutions. In addition to furniture, the store offers accessories, lamps, bedding and kitchen utensils.
5. Hire help: Not everyone is down with Ikea's self-assembly furniture. For a fee, the store offers home delivery and home assembly.
~ Deal Diva Colleen
(Photo: Taken by James Borchuck, Times staff photographer. This woman was among the first 100 customers at Ikea on Wednesday. She camped out overnight for that privilege, so she might have been a bit too tired to actually shop. But, hey, she got a free Poang chair!)