Being modern: Ikea
Sunday 10 July 2011
Ikea: it has become almost as ubiquitous as childbirth and, similarly, though the experience may cause pain, we'll always go back for more.
While all shops are laid out to encourage impulse buys, no other corners the market with quite the skill of Ikea. In supermarkets, it might be the smell of baking bread that lures us into spending more than we'd intended. At Ikea, we are driven by a clever juxtaposition of ease and inconvenience. Yes, we may have come in for a bit of Billy, Bygel or Ekby and a new duvet, but having driven to the outskirts of civilisation and spent four hours battling through an emotionally exhausting, Kafka-esque maze lined with bright-eyed, newly cohabiting couples, we're bloody well going to stock up. "What do you mean we don't need 100 tealights?! But they're £1.89. And you get 100!" The logic is straight out of Pinter.
How quickly, too, we forget what happens when we get it all home: hard, Allen key-based labour; the realisation that the light fitting comes in two parts, and the other is still in Croydon; the odyssey of contacting customer services.
But let's not be too hard on ourselves. Resistance was surely futile at the hands of a retail genius like Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea's Swedish founder. The man was a retail success story by the age of five, for God's sake – bulk-buying matches and flogging them at a profit to his neighbours. Once he had opened the first Ikea, in 1943 (then aged only 17) our Bank Holiday destinies were surely written in the stars.
Ikea hit our shores in the late 1980s and now around 40 million of us visit each year. And this despite the brand lampooning our attitude to interiors, with advertising slogans including "Chuck out the chintz" and "Stop being so English".
Just as Marmite has entered the vernacular to mean you either love or hate something, so Ikea should be the word for feeling both emotions at once. There's a cartoon by Modern Toss headed: "Weekend". "Let's go to Ikea," says one character. "Fuck Ikea," says the other. Hmm. But where else can you get a six-set of wine glasses for £2.03?
Life & Style blogs
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: NON-CONTENTIOUS (0-2 PQE) - A rare opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Financial Analyst is required to join...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This major European Intellectual Propert...