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Shopping at IKEA: Is It Worth the High?

(tunart/iStock)

Welcome to “Is It Worth the High?”, where our writers see newly released movies, listen to the latest album drops, and try other experiences while high to determine whether they’re worth your time, money, and most importantly, your cannabis buzz. This week, Darren Harris reflects back on two instances where he braved the capacious IKEA warehouse while stoned. 


IKEA and I have a complicated relationship. This is probably a common sentiment for almost anyone who’s had the pleasure (or misfortune, depending on your experience) of wandering through the reasonably-priced, Scandinavian-influenced, big box furniture labyrinth. As a frequent consumer of cannabis, I try to maintain as much of a stress-free lifestyle as possible. With that in mind, toking up before going to IKEA would seem like a good idea, right?

The answer for me at least is both yes and no, depending on the approach. I’ve had two notable experiences shopping at IKEA while stoned, one that was overwhelming and fruitless and another that was enjoyable but also barely successful.

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IKEA Trip #1: Lost in a Meatball-less Maze

IKEA Pencil and Tape Measure
(200mm/iStock)

Product Consumed Before Trip: A strong-as-hell chocolate brownie edible

High Experienced (1-10 scale): I started out at a solid 6 and ended with “LOL I need an adult”

I had just moved to Seattle after graduating from college and needed furniture for my old and slightly definitely overpriced studio apartment. The few friends I had at the time were unavailable to help, so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal to go alone. I had never actually been to an IKEA before, so I thought I’d pair my first shopping adventure with a potent pot brownie for some baked and relaxed browsing.

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As I entered the store and felt the brownie start to kick in, I realized that my best-laid plans were probably a mistake. First, I had not realized that IKEA is set up like a massive maze of different rooms, and no number of floor-drawn arrows and signs could confidently Sherpa my increasingly-useless stoned self through each showroom display.

Additionally, searching around the various rooms for the furniture I wanted was also laughably difficult thanks to a combination of my mental state, the fact that my list had very generic things on it like “table” and “cups,” and fumbling to use those awful tiny pencils they give you to fill in the tiny furniture code numbers. I also started to get hungry, but I didn’t even want to think about trying to navigate back to the cafeteria no matter how good I was told the meatballs were.

My struggle through IKEA reached Everest-like proportions once I realized that I actually had to grab all the furniture myself. I thought the items I wanted would be delivered to me, so imagine my stoned shock upon entering another cavernous warehouse space solely dedicated to both a) storing the boxed-up pieces of furniture I just walked through, and b) finally breaking the spirits of all the poor souls who spent the past few hours stumbling through the chaos.

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It was here, my friends, where I truly felt the regret of coming alone. My small silver lining was that at this point the brownie and its borderline-overwhelming high served more as a sedative for the rising frustration and resignation I felt at the prospect of finding the items I wrote down, trying to grab as much heavy furniture as possible, and loading everything into the trunk of my car.

In the end, I haphazardly grabbed as much as I could and got the hell out of IKEA as quickly as possible, making this trip a semi-failure. (I only say “semi-failure” because I still did get some things I needed for my apartment and was also able to sober up by eating at possibly the only Popeye’s Chicken in the Seattle area, so it wasn’t a total loss.)

IKEA Trip #2: Believe in the Buddy System

Ikea Furniture Retail Store
(TonyBaggett/iStock)

Product Consumed Before Trip: Dutch Treat pre-roll joint, shared with my girlfriend

High Experienced (1-10 scale): 5-7

Armed with the wisdom I gained from the failure of my first IKEA trip, this experience was a whole lot better for some notable reasons. First, I wasn’t alone this time around—my girlfriend served as my partner-in-crime as we needed to go to IKEA to shop for an apartment we had just moved into together.

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Second, I made sure to not be as baked as I was the last time, as I learned that you need the wits and focus necessary to make it through an IKEA trip wholly intact. My girlfriend and I shared a nice 1-gram Dutch Treat joint and made our way through each room of IKEA, noting the things we wanted to get while also giggling uncontrollably at the general IKEA shenanigans unfolding before us. We even made time to eat in the cafeteria, where our munchies ran wild and demolished as many meatballs as possible.

We both still got turned around quite a bit trying to find certain rooms, which could either be due to the joint or to the quagmire otherwise known as the IKEA showroom layout. Also, about an hour into our IKEA journey my girlfriend realized she was still wearing my house slippers. Aside from that, we both had a good time browsing and people-watching while slowly but surely knocking out our own list.

After we loaded the car with our haul, we figured the best way to finish out the Dutch Treat high and wait for the effects to subside was by eating at the nearby Applebee’s, so we dug into the 2 for $20 menu to celebrate a successful IKEA trip. While our shopping did take a bit longer thanks to some general stoned sluggishness, we were also able to get pretty much everything we had on our list, so that and that fact that our relationship was still intact afterwards was a big win in my eyes.

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Is It Worth the High?

Both yes and no, depending on how you go about your trip. If you have a buddy to come along and help navigate through the store and pull items off shelves, a list of specific items to get, and don’t get too high, you’ll have a moderately pleasant time checking out all the different rooms IKEA has to offer, and the people-watching becomes much better once you’ve consumed. I also found that cannabis made the shopping experience in general less stressful, as I wasn’t too worried if I couldn’t find things or had trouble navigating crowded areas.

However, if you don’t prepare ahead of time and manage your dosing responsibly, you may find yourself having a very regrettable experience, so do some planning beforehand to make going to IKEA high worth it!