Uggggggh. I hate spending money, and we're spending so much of it getting set up here. It is fucking painful. The only way I can reconcile myself to it is by spending the bare minimum humanly possible to get exactly the things I want without going to Ikea, and it's at times like this I realize how important it is to have a life partner who has the same priorities as you beyond simply the lots-of-high-quality-orgasms (both cheapskates, both sybarites, both Ikeaphobes). We went into one store three times today, and went on a 40 minute drive in the pounding rain to pick up a Freecycle offering. All of the other men I've ever carnivally intercoursed with would have spasmed with impatience.
This is the first Ikea-free house I'll have lived in, by the way, since leaving my parents' home, which is still Ikea-free. I don't object to Ikea in principal if I think about it rationally, and considering how fucking expensive Australia is, it would probably make a lot of financial sense for us to go on an Ikea run. But I find it such a draining, miserable consumer experience to go there; I feel so anticipated somehow, which you'd think would be a good thing but somehow it isn't.
And less rationally and more emotionally, I do object to Ikea in principal. It's this sort of vision of a Soviet Russia without shortages . . . they might not be starving you, but they've still murdered all the mencheviks and are betraying and undermining international anarcho-syndicalists at every turn.
Not to mention they won't knock off $30 or $40 if you haggle. I've never considered myself a haggler but living in Australia now, it seems that I am. I never buy a big ticket item without asking for a discount because of some insignificant flaw, offering to pay in cash or asking for delivery to be chucked into the ticket price. So far it's worked, of course. It's like getting laid. Everybody wants to strike a deal, you just have to make it clear you're on the table. Or something.
But apparently, from discussions I've been having, women don't try to get prices down here. I hope the people who've been telling me that are wrong because that's crazy. But I've been told there's some sort of social conditioning going on involving a strong, strong desire not to seem like a cheapskate, and it just being sort of rude and forward to ask.
When we decided to come here, the F-word and I would warn each other often that moving back to an Anglo-Saxon country, we'd have to stop being rude Eur0-style cunts who drop their money on the counter, don't respect other people's personal space, and get pushy when they're crowded - you know - the normal social behavior of urban Europeans.
But one thing we're grateful for that we picked up in Europe, where it is a truth universally acknowledged and borne out in the unfriendly, unobsequious behaviour of salespeople, is an understanding that salespeople are not your friends and you don't have to pretend they are. They want you to pay a lot, and even to buy things you don't need; you want the opposite. Your relationship, by its very nature, is an oppositional one, and they are certainly haggling with you, if they're doing their job well.