The Time We Lost a Shoe at IKEA

| November 26, 2014 | 9 Comments

I guess I asked for it when I decided to take the kids to IKEA. By myself. On a Saturday afternoon.

It’s not the most gripping tale, but the only thing that got me through it with a sense of humour was knowing I could cartoon it later. So, here it is.

The Ottawa IKEA, I think the second-biggest in Canada, is a 400 thousand-square-foot corn maze (with inspirational room vignettes instead of the corn). It takes four separate elevators to get through. Though it’s kid-friendly, you don’t want to be caught with a tantruming toddler mid-store if you like to make quick exits.

“Alright, mister; we’re leaving rrrright now.” *Storms Through Bathrooms to Home Organization to shortcut to Home Decoration to Wall Decoration to the warehouse to the cashes and down another elevator*… 

But that’s not what this was about. No tantrums on this trip, yet.

So there we were in the Lighting area, near the end, shuffling through like cattle (I can’t even remember what I was looking for; I keep having “cushion covers” on the list, but they’re at the point of the store where the kids are nearly out of patience, so I have yet to actually stop and look at any). I was picking up the pace as Little Bro’s patience tank was nearing empty.

Then this happened.

No. It can’t be. You can’t tell me that. Not when we’re almost at the end. He would’ve said something if–

She must’ve seen the colour go from my face. These were his brand new, good-quality shoes that they sell you 2 sizes too big so they’ll last for the year. IF THEY STAY ON THE FEET, I realize only now.

Big Bro wasn’t any help in narrowing down where the shoe went.

This is like that time when I found out he’d taken my wedding rings off my night table, and he offered a theatrical sweep of the arm to show me where he’d put them. “Riiiight theeeerrrre,” he’d said, narrowing it down to “somewhere in the house”. I was sure I’d be wearing a twist-tie in their place for the rest of my life.

But I found them, and so, I also had faith I could find this shoe in this labyrinth the size of six football fields. Just retrace your steps, right?

The only problem is, you’re not allowed to backtrack in IKEA. Everyone is to flow from third floor to cafeteria, then second floor to cashes, without exception. There are even big arrows, directing the shoppers downstream, to disobey at your peril.

Oh great. I could go out and down the elevator and back up a different elevator and then another elevator and then all through the third floor and down another elevator and through the second floor again. I’d probably find myself ordering meatballs in the middle, and none of us have any patience for that.

So instead I abandon the cart, tuck one kid under each arm like a football, and charge like you’d see in some sort of epic Braveheart-style battle scene through the crowd.

Big Bro is all smiles, guessing maybe the shoe was in the bathroom section (where we never went) or maaaaybe with the couches (at the VERY START of the store). Maybe where he was pushing buttons on the microwaves? Or maybe someone thought it was for sale and BOUGHT it, Mama? Ha ha.

I’m all hot and sweaty, navigating the “you’re going the wrong way, lady” hairy eyeballs while anticipating a toddler meltdown that wouldn’t have happened if we were already out, as we were supposed to be by now. More than anything, though, I’m miffed and confused that he didn’t let me know. He can talk the hind legs off a mule chatting about the temperatures of all the planets and what would happen if we ate a planet and how come planets aren’t people, but it didn’t occur to him to say, “wait! My shoe just came off”?!

I soon realize that this is a futile effort, and anyway, maybe someone found it and turned it in. Surely no one would swipe a lone preschooler sneaker. So we crowd-surf our way back to the exit and seek out the Lost and Found.

Exasperated, I ask a staff member if it was turned in, and she warned me I might have to wait until the night crew cleans up and come back another day if it shows up. Or, I can put a bag on my kid’s foot for the rest of 2014, I’m thinking, just as she returns with the lost shoe.

I’m frazzled beyond frazzled, but Big Bro is as happy as a clam. Why worry when you have someone to do it for you? Then the best was when I asked him the silly question:

And then the following week we go to a grocery store, and he lets me know with great panic whenever he drops his precious parking lot rock. THEN he speaks up. Arrgh.

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Category: Babies & Toddlers, Family

About the Author ()

I am a lifelong (award-winning!) cartoonist and mother of two delightful boys, aged 7 and 5. I like to view today's adventures in parenting as material for tomorrow's cartoon. Looking at family life through "cartoon-coloured glasses" helps me keep the all-important sense of humour required for raising kids... even for the events that don't seem so funny at the time.

Comments (9)

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  1. JaimeeM says:

    Lol, oh man. My son lost his shoe before, when I was walking with him in stroller to the bank. Didnt even notice… some one luckily came up behind us and was like ‘Did your son lose his shoe?’ and presented it to me. It was awesome. Kids man, keep them shoes on the feet, at least let us mommas know when they fly off..

  2. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    I laughed so loud reading this that I think I must have disturbed the neighbours. That was hilarious and so typical for a child. I once went to a change of command and only when we got there did I notice that one of my 7 didn’t have any shoes on so I do sympathise with you. I’m glad you saw the funny side in the end 🙂

  3. Victoria Ess says:

    Oh dear!! It was so funny to read your story even though it was frustrating in the moment! Poor you!

  4. cbrazil says:

    LOL – this one takes the cake! I have yet to go with my kids or by myself for that matter. 🙂

  5. Stephanie LaPlante says:

    LOL Oh my goodness. I’m so happy you got the shoe back after all of that.

  6. JaimeeM says:

    Read this article again, realized I already read it. Opps

  7. Cheryl (@loucheryl) says:

    Been there, done that!!! I’ve lost mittens, shoes, hats, toys, you name it – we’ve lost it. And having to backtrack when you are done your shopping for the day with a baby boy and a 5 year old boy SUCKS!!!

  8. loriag says:

    It is always good to laugh, especially at situations like this.

  9. kathy downey says:

    This story just brightened my day with giggles

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