You know that feeling you get when you walk into an employed person’s home and realize furniture comes in other colors besides birch and doesn’t require being pieced together with stripped pegs and allen wrenches? It’s called envy, and the unemployed dream of a day when their belongings aren’t just a bunch of random IKEA pieces with broken hinges, scuffs and really embarrassing bumper stickers and when they can tell admiring friends, “Oh thank you, I specifically chose this to match the curtains which match this obscure and totally useless vase.”

Looking back, there was always a place and time in our lives when IKEA furniture just made sense. It’s functional, the price is usually right and there’s just something so satisfying about graduating from plastic bins that display our underwear to the world to real furniture. Going to IKEA for hours at a time to find the perfect EKTORP was just as exciting as finding a ditched MALM on the street or perusing Craigslist to find a cheap LEKSVIK. It didn’t matter what each item’s true purpose was for because we were so excited to have furniture that we would hoard it and find a way to use it.

Unfortunately, IKEA furniture always seems like a better idea than it really is. After factoring in shipping costs and troublesome assembly time, we’re left realizing we could have bought a piece of adult furniture for the same price. And there is a difference between real furniture and adult furniture. It’s something the unemployed know all too well as they sit on a dangerously unstable ÄPPLARÖ that rocks not because it was designed to, but because there are so many missing pieces from improper assembly and because it’s just so old. Adult furniture is meant to last a while and is to be properly cared for so it can stay in the family unlike IKEA furniture that is all too often pawned off to friends during a move or otherwise disposed of in the street for some (un)fortunate soul to take in.

Nice furniture is something the unemployed always hoped they would graduate to next before they ended up losing their jobs. Before and after getting laid off they would be that creep at Crate and Barrel lounging in the bed that reads “Please do not sit on display bed” just wishing they could afford even one item in the store. Anything to make it look like they weren’t still in college. Embarrassed by their furniture they tell friends, ”If you don’t mind the risk of flipping over in that broken papasan chair, you’re more than welcome to come over.” Some day their dream will be realized. Until then, don’t be surprised to find the jobless sitting on the floor where there’s less chance for getting splinters.

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