Friday, November 30, 2012

IKEA Shopping Preview - the SWAG! (Final Post)

I'm sorry if you're sick of hearing about IKEA, this is my last post. When we were leaving, we were both handed a huge bag of free product. Having planned events, I should've expected this, but I was actually surprised. I felt treated with the invitation and the discount and wasn't expecting anything else. Let's get to the SWAG!

David and I received a bag each

here are the contents of one bag (they had the same items in every bag)
 Contents: coffee, milk frother, napkins, bowl, frame, egg timer, 4 espresso mugs, 2 candle holders, 100 tealights, desk lamp and organizing box. Plus (not shown) a light bulb (link not found, but similar to this one), a bag of chocolates and a flash drive with all the media information.

here's what we bought

Contents: garlands, napkins, napkin holder, baker's twine and an angel light (no link found). Plus (not shown) sparkling drink and a chocolate bar.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to write about IKEA. These are all of my own opinions. Go or not, it's up to you. I just blog about what I like and I like IKEA.

IKEA Shopping Preview - SHOPPING! (Picture Heavy)

(photo credit - IKEA) We didn't actually catch this when we were shopping, but now this art piece is on our wish list.

Finally the part you've all been waiting for. Let's shop! David and I wandered through IKEA at a leisurely pace for about two hours. We had in mind certain things that we wanted to see and items we might purchase. In the end we only spent about $40, but we sure had a great time browsing.

David took lots of nice 'n' juicy pics. I'll let them tell this part of the story.

my love of colour had me drooling over this one!

I Love new bedding!

IKEA has such great children's products

Textiles are always full of colour and fun!

We love IKEA and will hopefully go back soon. Our only wish is that IKEA wasn't always so far from where we live. Why is that?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

IKEA Shopping Preview - the Cocktail Reception

Part of our event was the cocktail reception for the media. Let me set the stage for you...
David and I arrived at about 5:55pm. We waited outside in the cold until they opened the door. It was fun for me to imagine who people were and what media organization they represented. Did some of these people feel surprised by their invitation or were some expecting it? Were there other "mom bloggers" who left their littles at home with Dad or a babysitter? Did anyone else feel nervous about the cocktail reception and whether they were dressed "professional" enough. Those five minutes seemed to last forever. David was so cute, for those of you who know him, it would be no surprise to you to hear that he was literally bouncing with excitement. I, on the other hand, pretended to be taking in stride. "No biggie, folks, media events are *yawn* 'old news'." Inside I'm going "EEEEEEEK! Let me in! Let me in!" Doors open.

We then checked in. "Hi, I'm Coralee Gingras from the Angry Turtle, and this is David." It's hard to sound cool and professional with a blog title like the Angry Turtle. I think I might have giggled a little. So much for taking it in stride. The lady checked us in and over her shoulder said "Happy IKEA date night."

We dropped off our coats at a coat check set up for the evening and headed up the escalator. At the top of the escalator were servers offering us our choice of wines or champagne. Toward the restaurant we were greeted by IKEA PR people and servers with appetizers. There was a DJ playing music and we headed further in to check things out.

This is the part of the evening that intimidated me going in. I am not a networking type of person, though I was prepared with my handmade business cards. I am an introvert, but have been working hard over the last five years to be more bold and assertive in regards to meeting people. I was so proud of myself for taking the initiative to introduce myself to a lovely young lady. Hi, Amy!

David took a bunch of pictures and we "parked" ourselves at a cocktail table and let the servers come to us with appetizers. I was waiting for what I was assuming would be an official program of sorts. I expected speeches from different IKEA representatives, but was surprised that the extent of the formalities ended after a 2 minute speech by a gentleman, whom I don't recall his name or role at IKEA.

At this time I realized if I wanted someone to answer my questions about IKEA for Children, then I needed to take care of it. I have to admit, this took a few tries. Did I mention that I felt intimidated? So, I found the first IKEA worker that looked like someone I could approach (someone who didn't dress like a fashion magazine or look like an executive). Well, I happened to stop a restaurant worker, she took pity on me and flagged down a PR guy for me. I stumbled over a couple of questions and called it done. David teased me a little. I did only end up asking two or three questions with little information. I still wanted to take some pictures and tour Småland, so I knew that I needed to try again. I flagged down another IKEA representative and asked permission to go take some pictures and he said he would get someone to escort me. The lady who took us and answered our questions was great. PHEW! My "business" was done. Time to shop, relax and enjoy the rest of the evening!

Just a note about the IKEA Restaurant and Cáfe: It's beautiful. My favourite features are the separated seating areas. It has created a more intimate environment than other IKEAs that I've been to and taken away from that typical cafeteria type of feel. We are looking forward to going for dinner sometime.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

IKEA Shopping Preview - Småland and IKEA for Children

IKEA for children: this is a specific area of interest for me. Having been without an IKEA for 5 years , this is the first time that it was really something that I cared about. I don't think I really thought about it when I lived in Edmonton. Working with children in our church and realizing the security precautions we go through for that made me wonder, what measures has IKEA taken to ensure my children are safe if/when I use Småland (the 2, 228 ft² children's supervised play area). I know of a lot of moms who might like to know, so I took it upon myself to ask questions.

After asking if we could have permission to take pictures of the children's play area, we were given an escorted tour with a very helpful lady who was able to sufficiently answer all of my questions.

security locked door - green button on wall opens door
(as always, click images to enlarge)

When you bring your potty-trained children (able to use the washroom completely by themselves) to Småland, they enter through a double lockdown door system. That means when one door is open, another door cannot open at the same time. This ensures that a miniature escape artist has a really hard time getting out on their own. If Mom drops off a child, Mom must pick that child up. This ensures that children only leave when secure. The child is then given a numbered smock/bib which must be worn the entire time in Småland. Each smock/bib has a security tag on it which will sound off an alarm should the child leave the area.

numbered and tagged for security

Your children need to have their coats and boots/shoes left with them and placed in a bin, in case of emergency evacuation. There is an alarmed fire exit right inside the play area and the staff is trained for in all emergency procedures. The staff has also gone through vulnerable sector security clearance checks and are trained in first aid. There are always at least two supervisors inside the children's play area as well as a check-in staff member.

bins for coats/shoes and washroom entrance

There are size restrictions in the play area. The ball pit is only for the smaller children, this means that they won't get squashed by an exuberant older child.

Winnipeg's ballroom holds 15,000 balls

There is a TV (in the cloud) that plays children's shows facing a great seating area filled with plush pillows.

There is also a great tunnel that leads from one area of Småland to another. Inside the tunnel is monitored with security cameras so that no shenanigans go on in there.

There is a large general area for play, with large play structures and even a play kitchen. Children won't be bored here, and Mom won't need to worry either.

In case you have littles that aren't potty-trained or not willing to leave your sight, then there are also small play stop areas throughout the store to keep them busy.

Finally, there are great children friendly features in the IKEA Restaurant & Café. Play area, high chairs, plastic cutlery and microwaves for bottle warming etc. A family friendly place to shop!

In case you're curious about other IKEA standards and protocols etc., I found this document.