Today we made a trip to IKEA. Walking into the concrete mega-store just gave me such a warm feeling of home. Seeing the familiar furnishings, the familiar play land, the cheap kids' meals, --well, I nearly wept.
That being said there are noted differences.
IKEA is in a mall. And it is in a mall with two grocery stores and a huge parking garage. There is no vast parking lot where if you were at--say Disney World, they'd send a tram to get you. Instead there is a parking garage with signs that tell you where the most convenient grocery store parking is located. If this doesn't sound strange, or stressful to you, imagine going to the Galleria to buy milk. Still they do try to be accommodating. Instead of an escalator they have a sort of conveyor belt that you can push your grocery cart, which you can push all around the mall, from one level to the next.
But we went to IKEA, and IKEA did not disappoint. And in a few areas it was even better. First of all, the ketchup was free! At most places here they charge about .20 for a little package. And though the coffee was $1.95, it included free refills. Actually, that is a cheap cup'o java by Aussie standards, and it was one of the fancy cappuccino machines, since even IKEA doesn't dare to export drip coffee to Australia. All of Australia coffee is espresso based. You can order the following (if you ever choose to visit Australia
- Long black (this is as close to a regular cup of black coffee as you can get.)
- Short black (espresso)
- Flat white (this is espresso with more milk than espresso.)
No one serves flavored creams with coffee.
Of course many people do not shop in this manner. The other option are the shops. Each community usually has a few shops, a grocery store, a deli, a fruit market, a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker (okay, I'm not sure about the last.) And many people will walk to the shops for their groceries.