Fußball! WM! Soccer! WM ! (Weltmeisterschaft)
All the youngsters from around the block, who head down to the Kinderhaus 3 blocks south from their elementary school, and usually on their mini-scooters were chanting their “hymn” and hoping that Germany would win the World Cup hosted in Russia.
My idea on that ominous Saturday afternoon was to head to IKEA to pick up an extra flag with the right colors should Sweden win over Germany (yes, I already own the German, the Bavarian, several francophone, anglophone and hispano flags, but not the Swedish one so far). Never in my life could I have anticipated the Kroos-artige kick (modeled on großartig = great or fantastic) that saved German faces that evening. As it was, little did it help in the end.
But what was truly keen, was the fun I had visiting an IKEA shop after about 25 years or so. I used to go there every so often for my kids to play in the big ball room (no, not the waltz kind of room, more like a gigantic room full of plastic balls to dive into) and watch the occasional “Pippi Langstrumpf” VHS movie or just meander (the only word to describe going through an IKEA warehouse) through many departments, like “kids’ rooms” and “toy rooms” and kitchens, door knobs, cell phone holders and decoration, etc.
I had the most fun waiting for the young man’s help in the office furniture department where kids and grown-ups could kick the soft soccer ball into a goal thingy. I waited patiently alongside Italians and Muslims. Only the little Muslim girl won a prize, which turned out to be a hot dog. Pure pork. Not Muslim-y. The young fellow rushed off to warn the management of their awkward mistake and inquire about a halal prize. So I skipped the waiting and meandered some more.
Fact is, Ikea still has many of the classic assortment of shelf designs, like “Billy”. Ikea also officially sells lox / salmon, smoked and graved lox, if there hadn’t been a big empty gap on those shelves. In fact, the sales area wasn’t anything like the classy sitting area with a long counter like there used to be, but a tiny airport-sized vending area in which everything was boxed and shelved without seats, without class, without Smørrebrød, just pricey and easy to grab, all in Self Service.
The Quick Anti-Hunger sitting area in fact was SRO (Standing Room Only) and actually sold hot dogs (sic), that evidently being the new world dream of Swedishness. What a shame. The new checkout self-serve system was much the same : so easy you didn’t really need the help of the qualified young lady helping dumb shoppers to check out their goodies and treats, albeit no lox. In only took us about 10 minutes to get through the hassles of getting the machine to respond. The new system announced just recently on the radio of not being allowed to give back your wares, if you are merely unhappy about your shopping experience, still awaits trial-and-error feedback.
Needless to say, the new drive-in lanes to IKEA which also meandered for a long while and completely confused my navigation system and my fast-footed-but-still-too-slow big-building-meandering took me a while. I got home about an hour later than I had planned. Thankfully, the berry preserves and the kottbullar powdered gravy saved my day. Ah yes, and the paper flag, even though Germany won that round.