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I’m stingy and I’m proud of the reputation. — Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA

Ikea is quite the cultural divide, I discovered recently. The purveyor of every housekeeping need for cheap has its fans. And its hecklers. Filmmakers even shoot stealth videos in the stores lampooning the Ikea experience.

Me, I’m not that fervent about the place either way. I just want my furniture.

My furniture, left behind on my last Ellay-to-Essef relocate, and left behind on the boomerang trip.

Ikea is like McFastburger or Best Buck or your bank–the same wherever you go. It’s meant to be. Grouses about the homogenized American landscape aside, that sameness up and down the ruggedly individualistic unicoast (or the bicoast or the Gulf Coast or the Côte d’Azur) can be mighty comforting to the nomad who now has to seek a new mechanic, vet, dry cleaner, dentist, hairdresser, and all the other goods and services essential to nest-building.

Hence, Ikea. The products do change over time (I regretfully relinquished a handy little side table that was discontinued years ago), but mostly you can buy whatever you ditched for less than the cost of schlepping all that heavy engineered wood. Charities and starving students will appreciate the gift of already-assembled flatpack. Just don’t turn loose of your orange-boxed Ikea toolkit.

I confess it’s a weird déjà vu, buying a set of glasses like the ones I bought to replace the ones I gave away the last time I moved. How many Billys and Expedits can a single person assemble in a lifetime? How many different floor plans can a Hemnes bedroom and Ecktorp living room be arranged in?

But the relocation blues can be assuaged with a vanilla yogurt cone from the Ikea food store.

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