IKEA Budapest

September 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today we made our very first IKEA run in Hungary. Our apartment came completely furnished – even down to silverware and scented candles – but we wanted some of our own things to give some of the rooms a little more of a personal touch. Our main purchase was two study lamps. If I have learned anything from the study marathons of the past, it is that good lighting is key to holding my concentration. We got two so that we can each have one if we are studying in the living room, or just have one in the living room and one in the guest room, which we are using as a study.

It felt good to be able to read product information again. Swedish is similar enough to Norwegian that I can read it well enough. I was reeled back into being “lost in translation” when the cashier began speaking to me in Hungarian. One thing I learned after my first move to a foreign country was that if I didn’t understand something, I should first consider the context of the question and then common questions within that context. Recalling on this experience, I said “cash” (as in, I am paying in cash). It turned out that she was asking me if I had a family card. My trick failed, but then again, I have never heard of the IKEA family card…

When I replied that I didn’t have a family card, the cashier began a discussion with the couple standing behind me in line. As they could have been saying anything, I just smiled and kept my eyes forward. When the cashier was done ringing up my things, the girl that she had been speaking to began to speak to me. She said:

The family card will save you lots of money. I can use mine for you this time, because it will save you money. You can get your own card on the internet.

I said thank you to both the cashier (for taking the time to ask the girl behind me to help me understand) and the girl (for using her card). When I looked at my receipt, I saw that I had saved about 2,500 HUF (64 NOK and $11). I was very happy when I considered all that I had just gotten for free. Skjalg and I had split into two lines: one for common purchases, which Skjalg took, and one for things that I wanted to get. Part of me regretted that it wasn’t his cartload that had gotten discounted, since it had much more than mine did. But, as they say, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!

So, a tip to all of you students out there in Budapest: before you go to IKEA, get a family card! The card is free and their website lists all the items that are available for a discounted price during a given period. You can apply for the card here. If you are using the Google Chrome browser, it will translate the entire page to your language.

Happy shopping!

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