About a month ago, our entertainment editor and I represented Literally, Darling at DragonCon in Atlanta. Neither of us had been to a con before, and it was quite an experience. Each day was packed with exciting panels, a maze of people to wander through, and all the cosplay we could have hoped for.
Another place neither of us had ever been? Ikea. When in Atlanta, right? After attending our last panels on Sunday, we made our way over to the massive furniture store to browse. After entering the building and taking an escalator up to the main floor, we realized something. We felt like we were still at the con.
DragonCon is spread out over five giant hotels in downtown Atlanta. The con takes place on multiple floors of each, so there were quite a few (it felt like a million) escalators involved. When the crowds are that big and there’s a lot of walking to be done, escalators come in handy. It’s no different at Ikea.
We wouldn’t have survived the conference without the maps posted on each floor of the hotels, and the dozens of volunteers we asked questions. With hundreds of conference rooms being occupied by various panels, the maps were key to getting to the right place on time. After entering Ikea and seeing how big it really is in person, we immediately snatched up the first maps we came across to help us navigate our way through the show rooms.
General confusion about what is happening
A majority of the weekend was spent wondering, What is this? And, How do we get to there? For example: What is this line for? How do we get from this conference room in the Hyatt to this conference room in the Westin? Wait, where do we get food? In Ikea the string of questions was more like: How do we get from this showroom to the place where the actual furniture is? Wait is this where we buy things? What are the pencils for?
People standing in the walkway
People who stop in the middle of an aisle, walkway, or staircase were the bane of our weekend. With the extraordinary crowds in Atlanta that weekend, we just had to accept that we were going to bump into people because they were everywhere. In the walkways, in the skywalks, in the streets, in the aisles of the showrooms. I lost count of how many times we said “excuse us” as we made our way through DragonCon crowds and as we browsed through brightly colored dishes and shelves.
People taking photos
This one probably doesn’t need much explaining. When you like someone’s extremely accurate Arrow costume, you take a photo. When you like a reasonably priced dining table or sofa, you take a photo. When you think you see an actor from that show you watched that one time, you take a photo. When you see champagne glasses for $0.99, you take a selfie.
People who also went to both DragonCon and Ikea
After being in Ikea for about 10 minutes, we came across some guys wearing DragonCon t-shirts. Like I said, when in Atlanta!
A lot of walking
We prepared ourselves for all of the walking we knew we were going to do at the conference, but after three days of it, we were not quite prepared for just how large Ikea is. We walked through the showrooms, then through the specific sections like “kitchen” and “office,” and then finally made it to the warehouse-esque section where all the furniture is actually kept. Also, it’s worth noting that you can’t leave the store unless you go through all the rooms. There is no going to the one section you need. You’ve gotta go through it all.
When we arrived at the checkout area, we groaned at the sight of the lines. We got to most of our panels at DragonCon at least half-an-hour early to wait in line. For a few panels, we actually had to wait in lines that went outside, down the stairs, and around the block. Thankfully the checkout lines weren’t that long, but the whole trip definitely gave new meaning to the phrase I’d always heard–one does not simply “take a quick trip to Ikea.”
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