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CHAT: Hymn to Ikea (was: Re: Re: CHAT: F.L.O.E.S.

From:And Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Date:Thursday, February 26, 2004, 1:49
Andreas Johansson:
> Quoting And Rosta <a.rosta@...>: > > > Tristan: > > > I have a job at IKEA. > > > > I'll thank you not to mention such unspeakable things! > > > > If I ever organize an international terror network > > of mujahideen sworn to destroy the canker that destroys > > the fabric of virtuous society, its target of targets > > will be that swedish fount of evil. Like most people, > > I used to be mildly pro-Sweden until I was cast into > > the inferno that is I**a. Now blue and yellow -- and > > the Scandinavian style consensual egalitarian social > > democracy embodied by that den of iniquity -- fills me > > with unutterable horror. > > I'm not exactly IKEA's greatest fan, but what exactly > makes it a "fount of evil" and an "inferno"?
First of all, Andreas, you must understand that I have nothing against Swedes as individuals. I have nothing but the tenderest sentiments for Swedes: you and Ingrid Bergman are examples that spring to mind immediately. "Fount of evil" is a slight exaggeration; but "inferno" isn't. Old timers will already have heard my Ikea rants (not just a peculiarity of mine -- somebody set up a site called, to act as a forum for the many possessed by the same searing antipathy, but got threatened with a lawsuit by Ikea & had to take it down), so I will be brief. (Note, incidentally, that anti-Ikeaism has two distinct strands, the one a sibling of anti- Starbucksism, which opposes the coercive commercial homogenization of culture and lifestyle, and the other, which is the strand I am affiliated to, which believes Ikea to be guilty of crimes against not culture but humanity.) 1. You cannot truly apprehend the meaning of smugness until you have experienced Ikea. Perhaps it is a more general Scandinavian trait; I suspect it is, but will not point the finger of accusation. 2. For furniture too complicated to build yourself, there are few alternatives to Ikea; everything else is too crappy or ill-designed or too outrageously expensive. Ikea now has a near-monopoly over this key market niche which used to be filled by much less odious stores. 3. Ikea stores are located in locations that it requires a hajj to reach. You cannot pop out to Ikea. You cannot visit Ikea as part of going to the shops or going into town. No, you visit Ikea as part of nothing but visiting Ikea. 4. Once you enter you cannot leave. The store is laid out exactly like the alimentary canal: just as food enters the mouth and passes through miles and miles of intestine winding around itself, finally to emerge, in a very sorry state, at the anus, thus does the Ikea customer's experience go. Ploughing on and on through hot and airless places packed with sweaty crowds you must go. 5. Ikea is based on the thoroughly democratic principle that everybody, regardless of class or income, should have a horrible time. With, I'm sure, the honorable exception of Tristan's store when he is on duty, all service, all help, and all succour are equally unavailable. The items of furniture you require are harder to find than the holy grail. If you do find the holy grail, the Ikea holy grail is of a type that requires various additional meaninglessly swedishly-named sprockets, which are equally impossible to find. Say you do find them, though: well, then you must find a trolley. Where are the trolleys? Several miles away. Off you trek. You find the trolley place: there aren't any, but the queue of people waiting to claim one if some arrive is miles long. Another few hours later you have your trolley. You manhandle your three wardrobes and a settee onto it. Around you are sundry grannies and other people with less brute strength than you; standing helpless beside their wardrobes that they are powerless to heft, they look at you with a plaintive envy. But it's every man for himself here; you need all the strength you can muster just to make it out of here; tarry to aid the more feeble, and they'll drag you down with them. A trolley with three wardrobes and a settee on it can -- by the strong -- be pushed; but it cannot be steered. Yet to buy your goods you must navigate your trolley through more miles of narrow and crowded chicanes. Glossing over this agony, let us fastforward to when you have paid -- which process requires you to single-handedly unload and reload your trolley. You then discover that Ikea do not deliver goods to your home, for surely every decent citizen drives a car -- a Volvo estate presumably. -- I cannot continue the narrative: recollecting the tribulations is taking too high a toll on my sanity. 6. You get the stuff home. Of course, 10% of the components of the furniture you still have to assemble are broken. Another 10% are simply missing. Try phoning the store and rue the day: yes, the phone will sometimes eventually answer, but when it answers it will merely play you muzak. No: you have two choices: build 80% of a wardrobe, or take everything back to the store, queue for a refund, and repeat the entire process over and over again until you learn to settle for the 80% wardrobe. These are just a few of the many reasons I'm not fond of Ikea. In this short space I have not been able to do justice to them, alas. Merely listing all Ikea's crimes would take a large team of prosecutors many months if not years.
> It occurs to me, BTW, that with a slight improvement of > spelling _icea_ [itSa] could be a nice Meghean word. Now, > "evil" is already provided for (_magel_, in honour of you > know which conlang), so I guess it's gonna mean "good". > > Also, how do Downundrians pronounce "IKEA"? Some monstrosity > like [ajki:@], no doubt? (Swedish [Ike:a])
Even [aj'ki:@] is insufficiently monstrous a name. Ideally the k must be an ejective affricate with much scrape and much imprecative expectoration. ObConlang: the Livagian lexicon has long contained the word _ikkhea_ [?ik'xe?a] (' = ejective), but I am surprised to find that it means "goods and services provider whose services are vastly inferior in quality to the goods provided. Examples: a plush hotel offering no room service or where the reception doesn't answer the phone; a high street shop with rude sales assistants, etc.". Before looking it up in the lexicon, I had expected that it would mean "is a living hell" or something like that. I may have to remedy this incongruity. --And.


Tristan McLeay <kesuari@...>
Joseph Fatula <fatula3@...>
Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Christian Thalmann <cinga@...>
Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>
Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>