Hearne: Worshipping at the Altar of IKEA & Being Better Than…

610_1361990509-1Small world…

A year ago while vacationing in Southern California, I did pretty much the same thing Pitch top gun Steve Vockrodt just did in Denver; I checked out a couple of IKEA  stores to try and get a handle on why its coming to Merriam seemed like such a big deal to so many locals.

Kansas City Star business columnist Joyce Smith even raved about its meatballs, as if pilgrimages might be made to the do-it-yourself Swedish furniture retailer’s bargain-priced cafeteria solely to partake of the fifteen meatball $7.99  special. So you know, I tried ’em and, eh, no big deal. It didn’t help that shortly thereafter IKEA’s meatballs were slammed with a horse meat scandal.

I digress.

Here’s the deal though, as Vockrodt found out, you diss IKEA here at your own risk.

Yael Abouhalkah

Yael Abouhalkah

IKEA worshippers take their horse meatballs seriously.

“If you think Ikea stuff is hard to assemble….then my god…you may just give up on life,” fired back one Pitch commenter to Vockrodt’s sum up that, “Ikea is no big deal.”

“Poor little Steve Crotchrot didn’t like Ikea – i’m sure he only shops organic and local. So where does he find local manufactured buttplugs?” added Joe 12Pack.

A commenter ID’d as Samantha Levi alongside a pic of a smoking hot redhead, raved about IKEA’s balls and rhetorically invited readers to meet there for a “lunch break.”

“Way to deflate the Happy Balloon for Kansas Citians,” groused Sharoonkh.

“Oh Steve. So wrong. So, so wrong,” tsk-tsk’d fishie.

“I shopped there multiple times. It’s a big deal,” said RW.

And in the ultimate putdown Stars in my Eyes wrote: “Did Yael write this? ;)”

So is IKEA coming to Kansas City (Merriam) truly a big deal?

Steve Rockvodt

Steve Rockvodt

Of course it is.

Just as it was when the first Starbucks hit town in the 1990s and everybody from the Star’s Miriam Pepper on down acted as if we’d finally arrived.

Or like in 2006 when FYI columnist Jeneé Osterheldt breathlessly confessed that,  “There are six words I’ve longed to say for a long time. A No. 1 with cheese, please,” on the opening of the first Chik-fil-A here.

Because like it or not, Kansas City has an inferiority complex.

That’s right, we so desperately want not to be relegated to the flyover status we more-or-less richly deserve. We tell ourselves we have great sushi – and we do – until we dine at a sushi restaurant in California. And we know we’re not Wichita (or god forbid, Topeka) for crying out loud.

Still we’re a little too paranoid, too insecure. Like when Star business columnist Kevin Collison pimps us about how his former burg Omaha is catching up or passing us in some manner or other. Woe unto us that something that awful could happen.

So every time we land an IKEA or an In-N-Out Burger, we act like we just won the 1985 World Series again.  However the fact is, we’re not Atlanta or Chicago or LA or New York, or even Tucson. And just about every time we take a baby step in one of those superior city’s direction we get a little giddy.



Look, relax.

Kansas City’s a pretty darn good place and the town has come an incredibly long way in the last 10 years in terms of hipness and livability.

That said, we remain a flyover.

Nobody that wasn’t born or needs or has a job here dreams of living or vacationing in the flatlands. Kansas City is to cities like Denver, what Oklahoma City is to us; no big deal.

And the fact is, that getting a gaudy, new IKEA store gives us a leg up on Collison, the Shockers and everybody else we think we’re better than in our tiny sphere of influence.

Bring on the horse meat, let’s roll!

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13 Responses to Hearne: Worshipping at the Altar of IKEA & Being Better Than…

  1. Bob says:

    This is how you set up a damn big time music festival.


    No one hit wonder teeny pop bands masquerading as headliners.

  2. Hot Carl says:

    “when Star business columnist Kevin Collison pimps us about how his former burg Omaha is catching up or passing us in some manner or other”

    I was just in Omaha a couple weeks ago and it is a goddamn dump. Outside of the Old Market area there is NOTHING there unless you’re big on going to the zoo. And I’m pretty sure you can go see monkeys throw their poo right here in KC (assuming you don’t get shot, first).

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Yeah, but Hot, do they have a FREE zoo day? Hmmm?

    • the dude says:

      Oh gawd that commercial I saw for Omaha where they were eating this new fangled thing called ‘sushi’ like it is some new fad was hilarious. I guess it is some new fangled fad for bugeaters.

  3. admin says:

    Kevin’s from there and they had their downtown arena when we were still stuck with Kemper only, so he used that as ammo to point out how much more advanced they are.

    He’s done so on other occasions as well. The idea being if KC doesn’t act more progressively (and do what he thinks is best, like build a downtown baseball park), Omaha might slip past us.

    I think it’s rather silly and free with you.

    That said, Kevin is a nice guy and knows what he’s doing and wants to see Kansas City progress. And speaking of sushi, when I went up there several years ago to attend a concert in Omaha’s new downtown arena to write about it, the only restaurant we could get into without a giant wait was a sushi joint. Everything else was packed but there was plenty of room in Omaha for sushi eaters.

    Suffice it to say, it did not appear “catch of the day” fresh!

  4. the dude says:

    Unfortunately KC is not much above Doodahland or Topuka.
    So yes, Ikea for some reason is a big deal here.
    I don’t really understand it either, fanboys and fangirls are effin’ weird man.

  5. Mark says:

    We shop at IKEA in So Cal, NYC, even the Pittsburgh airport. Great store, great prices, fun shopping experience. A great addition to our major league city. Never had the meatballs, though.

    • the dude says:

      I would like to try these horse balls though, they sound good.

    • admin says:

      It is an excellent, fun shopping option, Mark. Nothing wrong with that.

      Let me know how their balls taste after it opens.

  6. expat says:

    Meh. I’ve lived near an Ikea for many years and have written them off for anything but cheap throw-away furniture, stuff like children’s beds etc. that will be tossed out. You really don’t want to decorate your house with laminate particle board furniture (even the ‘nice’ Ikea stuff is shoddy) and assembly is a pain. The store itself is also a hassle but not so bad once you get used to the holes in the layout that allow you to skip through parts of the maze.

  7. Lydia Lozano says:

    I shopped at Ikeas on the East Coast for years before moving to Kansas. Well designed stuff at extremely reasonable prices for people with a taste for the modern. Never went in for the furniture though, it is a little flimsy. Nor did it ever occur to me to eat there, anymore than I would consider dining at Target. But I am so glad we are finally getting one. What would really, really be nice is a Bloomingdale’s and a Neiman Marcus. I suppose it would be too much to hope for a Saks. Maybe a Lord & Taylor, although they went downhill after being acquired by the holding company. KC still is not a first-tier shopping city. Even Denver is better.

  8. OPKS Jimbo says:

    I had a chance to spend a year in Newport, RI with a bunch of military officers, mostly Colonels and Navy Captains (O-6). Most of the Army officers had spent at least one year at Ft. Leavenworth. They raved about living in the Kansas City area because you can live pretty damned well on your salary here and you can send your kids to public schools where they can get a good education. At least a couple lived in Lenexa and commuted. We live in a great city to raise a family. We take so much for granted. Any of the other commenters above who are putting our metro down have their priorities screwed up.

  9. MissionPaul says:

    As a person who voluntarily picked up and moved from Colorado Springs to Kansas City three years ago I have to disagree with your assessment that “Nobody that wasn’t born or needs or has a job here dreams of living or vacationing in the flatlands. Kansas City is to cities like Denver, what Oklahoma City is to us; no big deal.”

    KC certainly has an inferiority complex but is largely overlooked and underrated. It certainly for me stands out as a better city than Colorado Springs and arguably than Denver.

    The big deal about Merriam getting an Ikea is not that it somehow establishes Kansas City in the illusionary “city olympics” but that it is a revenue driver. The fact is that whether or not you like Ikea other people do…and they drive several hours in order to shop there. The Merriam Ikea will attract shoppers from a multi-state area who will bring money into the local economy.

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