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This Could Happen to YouAugust 26, 2004

I've mentioned my pal Marama before. I adore her. She's my coworker and running mate in Team 911. I wouldn't be running this marathon without her. She's also my shopping coach. I pretty much hate to shop, unless I know exactly what I want and can go in and get it, without passing go, without collecting $200, without dealing with screaming children and/or full-grown men, without having anything to do with a price check of any kind. If it involves a line, I get a little antsy. Like, twitchy. Like, you'd look at me in the Walmart line and worry about my trembling lower lip. You might change check-out lanes. Marama is the person I call when I need something like running shoes or a bookcase or a snowsuit.

She knows where the deals are. On Tuesday, she stopped by Ikea on her way to work. Red flag number one. Can you imagine just popping in to Ikea? Dude, I have to gear myself up for WEEKS to do that. But nope, she drops by and sure enough, she finds something. She finds something good. She's been needing a bedframe/headboard for her guest bed and finds a simple wooden one marked down to ten dollars. Ten freaking dollars. So she buys it. She takes it outside to her car.

Marama got in a minor fender-bender last week (not her fault) and is driving a rental car considerably smaller than her usual vehicle. She stands outside and tries to put the frame in the trunk. No way is it going to fit. She tries to squeeze it into the back seat. No dice. She puts all the seats down and tries it again. Nope. She takes it out of the box and wrestles with it some more. Still no. She curses and huffs and swears until it's half-past four. She has to be at work at five. And now it's too late to stand in line (it's Ikea, I remind you) to return it or to order home delivery.

Tell me. What does she do?

It was ten dollars. She leans it against a tree and drives away.

She thought about writing something on the box like, "If you can fit it in YOUR damn car, you can have it." Or just: "I give up."

We laughed about it at work that night. She made jokes about driving by to see if it was still there at three in the morning when she got off. Yeah, right. Heh, heh. In freakin' Emeryville. Bordering Oakland. SURE, it'll be there.

But she drives by. And it's there, still leaned against the tree, papers and little rig-em-up doojabber tools all still intact. So she starts to wrestle it again. Same box, same car, a more determined person.

There's a car sitting in the lot, occupied by one guy. He's backed into the space, and he doesn't look like security. He's far enough away that Marama doesn't pay him much mind. She does notice, however, when another car drives in and backs into a parking place. The second guy sits there and watches her, too.

A third guy in a Lexus pulls in, backs into a space, and stares at her. She begins to wonder if the Ikea parking lot is the new cruising area for gay men. Another car pulls in. Another man just watching her.

One gets out of his car and approaches her. He's smoking a cigarette and looks tough. "It's never going to go in there." She decides that he's kind of preoccupied with the cigarette in one hand and that she might get a good sucker-punch in if needed. She starts planning her way out. She feels for her cell phone. He takes the box and levers it into the trunk and manages to find things to tie it in place. "That'll do," he says. Another car pulls in. "Oh," he says. "There's my boss." And with that, the Ikea work crew goes into the building.

I woulda had a heart attack. I would have. I swear. She was a braver woman than I would have been. She said it did cross her mind that she was risking rape, carjacking, or even just a plain ole mugging for a ten dollar headboard, but damn, that bed is going to have a story.

This is why I don't shop. (Yarn doesn't count.)

(Neither do books.)

(They don't, really.)


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What a story! Of all of it, I can't believe that headboard was still there. Maybe a number of other people tried and also couldn't get it in their trunks. Now, see, this is why I like people.

See, I can believe the headboard was still there, but I can't believe Marama stopped to wrestle it into the car knowing those guys were watching her!!! Would have totally creeped me out. Tell her not to push her luck for awhile, she used a big chunk of it!!!

Good god! My heart was in my throat until the punchline. Damn! That's just crazy.

You had me scared for a minute there! I had a similar situation happen to me...I bought a pappasan chair and just assumed it would fit. Yeah...it didn't. I had to return it 5 minutes after I bought it. In fact, I have a history of this, I bought a futon with the same result. But, with the futon, I had a roommate with a truck! "Hi, can you come get me and this giant futon at Walmart?" :-) Glad Marama's safe!

Are you trying to give me a heart attack? So glad Marama is safe! I do want her shopping karma though.

That is a freakin great story. Tops off to Marama!

Wow, shows you where I was raised (small town Illinois). My first thought on the story and the guys looking on was that one of them was going to come be helpful.

haha marama totally rocks! and you see, if the headboard was still there after her shift was over, then it was meant to go home with her.

that about killed me trying to read it from the suspense, but Marama is a damned goddess!

I would have said screw it and hightailed at the first person I saw watching.

yay for the deal though!

I AM surprised it was still there -- if I'd driven by that day I would've at least tried to wrestle it into my own too-small car.

And no, OF COURSE they don't count. That's why, hypothetically, someone who would research their ass off and comparison shop till the cows come home and dither for ages about how much to spend on a walkman and which one to buy, could also buy way more yarn and books than they need without a second thought and without any need to decide between them. Hypothetically.

me? i'm all of 6'2" and not at all rail thin so i don't usually feel any fear in that type of situation.
(most people don't want to fuck with ANYbody my size--male or female--on G.P. and most guys don't want to tell their friends that a BIG black woman kicked their ass. know what i mean?)
anyway, that story rocked.
it's one of those stories makes you know that there really are good people out there.
congrats on the headboard Marama!
: )

Marama leads a charmed life. But of course she does, she knows you.

Marama leads a charmed life. But of course she does, she knows you.

That is one funny story...had it with the headboard. I would have been a little afraid also, especially in this day and age!

This is a GREAT story! We need many more of those to share. People only seem to want to share the negative ones. Thanks, Rachael!

I'm glad Marama is safe, and scored the headboard.

And I'm also thinking, Dude, the night stock guy at Ikea drives a LEXUS?!

What a great story. I can believe it was still there...most Ikea shoppers are quite nice. ;) Love your most recent FeeFiFO's. The socks are beautiful. And I just loved that dream. Totally packed with good dreamy quality.

Wow - thats totally um (censors self) gutsy!
I am also totally impressed with the Ikea man that helped her out, I wonder if she had gone inside originally if someone would've been able to help?
And, the Ikea guy driving a Lexus - has anyone seen their pay and benefits?? Working "retail" doesn't have to be lowly, Ikea just opened their 1st store in my area and people were begging for those jobs.

Shopping isn't so traumatizing if you do it in small local stores instead of places like Malwart. :-) They are a lot more like independant yarn and book stores, and less traumatizing to be in.

You'd think the Ikea 'guys' would have tried to help sooner! Jeezzz. Glad it worked out for her. And if you think about it she really didn't have to worry as none of those bad things happened. Wish we had an Ikea in the area!

My favorite saying is "When I get money I buy books (and yarn). If anything is left I buy food and shelter".

I was imagining a drug deal gone awry, with shooting and all, and Marama having to use her $10 frame to deflect the bullets! Thank goodness it all turned out okay. Phew. And dang but that bed is going to look good! Great story.

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