The Silent Treatment at Ikea

I know you’re not supposed to air dirty laundry, especially when it’s between you and your spouse, but I recently took a trip down memory lane about an argument my husband and I had—at Ikea of all places, and I feel like sharing it. 

Let’s go back a year and half to our first trip to Ikea here in Italy. Earlier that week we moved into our house and realized we needed more storage space. Most European homes don’t have closets, pantries, or any place to store stuff, so if you don’t want to stuff all that extra crap you have under the stairs (like we did anyway), then you need more storage options. Enter Ikea.

Our main goal for that particular trip was to get something for our kitchen…and eat some delicious meatballs, of course. I actually really liked our kitchen just the way it was, but it needed more counter space and it definitely needed a pantry. Armed with those two needs, we headed to Ikea.

We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted once we got to the store since we browsed online first, so we just needed to find it and see it in person. We ended up getting a long, solid wood island with plenty of storage space and a separate pantry. In person, the island was a lot longer than it looked online, so I voiced my concern—several times—that I wasn’t sure it would fit in the car.

Now, I looooove my car. It’s a Scion TC, and with the exception of two aspects—it only has two doors and the trunk is ridiculously small—it’s been perfect for me. But those two things, particularly the last issue, makes shopping at Ikea a little difficult.

Anyway, we were all excited about our new finds, so we bought everything and wheeled it down to the car. My husband assured me it would all fit, so I held my tongue and tried my hardest to believe him. Go figure that when it came time to load everything in the car, we had a problem.

It didn’t fit.

Oh, but boy did he try to squeeze that over-sized box into my little car. We tried every position we could think of to get it in there, but the car was just too small. Actually, to his credit, if nobody was in the passenger seat, it would’ve fit, but since I kinda needed a place to sit on the way home, he lost the battle. I was extremely annoyed at this point and I’m pretty sure I straight up said, “I told you so.” Yeah, I know, the worst thing I could probably say in that situation, but it was true.

We were both pretty frustrated (for different reasons, obviously), so that’s around the time the silent treatment started from both of us. I highly suggested that we take the island back into the store, return it, and figure out another means of transportation to get it home later. My husband unwillingly agreed (I’m pretty sure he still thought he could get it to fit).

Returning it was a whole other fiasco since we both knew zero Italian at that point and we picked the one time of the day where English-speaking Ikea workers were nowhere to be found. So we sat there, both getting more and more angry at the situation, trying to figure out how to return that darn thing. We finally figured it out (it’s amazing how you can communicate just by using hand gestures!) and got the piece returned.

What started as a fun trip to Ikea to furnish our new home turned into an empty-handed, frustrating, tongue-biting, extremely quiet, very long hour ride back home. I don’t think we said a word to each other the entire time.

Our annoyances with each other subsided the next day, and I ended up asking a friend with an SUV to go back with me later that week to repurchase that darn island, so everything ended up working out in the end. But it was very annoying.

Everything fitting snug as a bug in my friends vehicle 🙂

Fast forward to last week when my husband and I went back to Ikea to specifically pick up a dresser for the baby’s room. Since we REALLLLY didn’t want a repeat of what happened that first time, I suggested once or twice (or a half dozen times) that he measure the length of my car and then measure the box dimensions online. He measured and assured me everything would fit. Okay then!

We got the dresser, plus another one, and a few other things—since that’s what happens when you go to Ikea—and he triple checked his measurements once he picked up the boxes, still insisting everything was good-to-go this time. Being the ever-supportive wife this time, I kept my mouth shut about whether or not it would fit in the car.

After we checked out we wheeled the cart down to the car park. It was almost time for the moment of truth.

I’m not gonna lie; I was a little nervous, mostly because my back was starting to ache and I really didn’t want to repeat that last fiasco. Plus, we were having a pretty good day and I didn’t want to ruin that by arguing on the way home. Luckily, it turned out that his measurements were spot on and everything fit perfectly. I think we both took a huge sigh of relief when I could still sit in my seat and the trunk closed with no issue.


As of right now, those boxes in the car have been transformed into two dressers and a nightstand and are getting filled with baby things. It’s surreal how everything is coming together. I’m so thankful this trip turned out much better than the last time!

Have you ever had an awkward furniture-buying moment like this?


  1. We've had enough unsavory experiences with IKEA shopping that we tried to prepare as much as possible before our last trip. We did not take measurements of the car, though!

    I convinced my husband that we would need to take both cars, since we had the toddler with us. We somehow miraculously filled up every square inch of available space in both cars with a TON of furniture, including 3 arm chairs! I was astounded. And we both hope we don't have to go back any time soon 🙂

  2. This has happened to us more times than I care to admit! (Not at IKEA, since we don't have one locally, but with our grill, with long pieces of trim from Home Depot, with furniture boxes..) I can't wait until we finally have an SUV or something similar that will be able to transport big items without us having to hold our breath/get in an argument over whether or not it will fit!

  3. Okay first I have to say I adore Ikea and since I live super close to one we go there "just" for lunch fairly often. (And when I say just I mean that's the intention and then we almost always buy other things.)

    As far as furniture fitting in cars, we've had a couple instances at Goodwill. Once was with a kids activity table and the other was with a glider. Both amazing deals. Joel didn't think either would fit and I insisted they would. We did have to do some disassembling for both but darned if I wasn't right both times. I love being right. Heh.

  4. Hahahaha! Oh, I love this story. I'm not sure this exact thing has happened to us before, but there have been MANY moments in our 4.5 years of marriage where I've wanted to say "I told you so!" Usually he figures out his stupidity before I can say it. 😛 LOL

    We've been blessed with a ginormous car that can fit almost anything – the "top" of the trunk space will come down and our backseats will also fold down for more space. When we moved to GA from NC, I filled that car to the brim with everything we would've put in unaccompanied baggage, and then some. We have hauled a TV stand, a smallish desk, and a coffee table in the back of that thing since living in Hawaii. OH and a crib. 🙂 I love our car! I want to keep it as long as possible for that very reason. Haha!

  5. Haha! The same thing happened to us when we were stationed in Alaska! We went to Best Buy to get a new TV and he INSISTED that it would fit in our Focus. I pretty much fell on the ground laughing when it was just a little bit too big.

  6. This hasn't happened to us yet (We usually take my in-laws' pickup truck when we go). However, there is an awesome 30 Rock episode which talks about this exact thing. I highly recommend checking it out =)

  7. I hate to admit it, but in these situations I always end up being the one who is wrong. I just wish one time I'd get to be the one who says "I told you so!" As far as Ikea goes, we went once when we first moved here, but have yet to ever go again (not a great experience for very different reasons).

  8. Haha, One time at Aviano, I wanted a play kitchen for my son, but my husband was on the fence about a kitchen for a boy. A couple weeks later, at a friends house, he loved playing with her daughters,so on the way home I went to the bx looking for one. They had one huge one left that was half off, so I snagged it up. Well, when I got to the car the dang box would not fit, I was alone trying to shove this big box in and it would not budge. So, I opened the box and took out all the million of pieces and took it home that way. When I got home, and started bringing in all these big parts, he looked at me like I was crazy! I thought it was pretty genius!

  9. We do not have a car here so when we go to IKEA we have to take the stuff home on the bus, which actually works out good if you ignore all the people staring at you! So far we have brought home a bookcase, a desk, and curtain rods that were like 70 inches long!

  10. The closest IKEA to us is 5 hours away! I was seriously debating about driving up there alone, loading the car with the requisite furniture and driving back all in the same day! But my husband talked me out of it. For now… 😉

    I'm glad your second trip to IKEA was successful!!!

  11. haha I love this! My husband and I sometimes argue when we make purchases like this so you are not alone. We went couch shopping after he got back from deployment and the funny thing was we both commented about hot well it went and how we didn't argue! I think we are getting better at it! 😉

  12. oh man. Eric and I have argued so many times over Ikea crap. It's funny now. But he HATES shopping and starts to get grouchy after a while. I'm glad it all worked out!

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