If you went to college, moved out of your parents’ house or at any point in your life have been too poor to buy a pre-assembled dresser, odds are you’ve purchased something from IKEA. And if not, well LA-DI-DA, Mr. FancyPants, look who’s too good for particle board furniture and manual labor.
For those of you who haven’t ever bought a pile of furniture parts from IKEA, this post is not for you. You’ll just ask why I don’t get my servant to put it together, and the point will be lost. But for those of you who have spent days and nights sifting through slightly different sized wood screws, read on for the five reasons why I think IKEA might be the work of the devil.
5. Their stores
One of my first apartments didn’t have window screens, and on one warm afternoon, a bird flew in through an open window. Even though the window it entered was still open, it perched on the frame in such a way that it kept trying to fly out through the glass and became panicked. I think of that bird whenever I walk into an IKEA. “I got in here,” I murmur to myself, trying to quell the rising fear, “So there has to be a way to get out. Maybe it’s there…no, that’s bedding. Maybe there…no, now I’m in a cafeteria that serves Swedish meatballs. Here? Nope, children’s playground. WHERE AM I?”
IKEA’s maze-like store layout is, I’m sure you know, no accident. They do it in the hopes that you’ll buy more stuff in order to survive the long winter of being trapped in an IKEA. And it works, because people think if an IKEA employee sees them with their arms filled with purchases they may take pity on them and point them to the checkout.
But once you manage to escape the ordeal, the fun is really just beginning.
4. Their materials
Because of its prices, IKEA is a favorite among college students and young adults just starting out. Another common trait of that group is that these people have to move frequently. The idea of IKEA furniture that can be easily taken apart, moved to a new place, and reassembled is perfect for this purpose. But the reality is that, like Catwoman, the materials have a limited number of lives, deteriorating with each move. And while Catwoman has nine lives, I’d put IKEA stuff around three and a half.
But what’s most amazing about IKEA’s materials is that, around move two, they start to crumble at the human touch, yet can still cause security deposit-losing damage the moment they come in contact with anything of value in an apartment. The same headboards and shelves that crack into a million pieces when a screw goes a half-turn too far can gouge holes in walls faster than a drunk frat boy expressing his anger.
3. Their instructions
IKEA first entered the U.S. market in the 1980s. That same decade, the country’s divorce rate peaked. Coincidence? Most likely, yes. But I blame the spike in divorce rates on the fights caused by trying to interpret IKEA’s wordless instructions. I picture the following scene happening in previously happy homes all over the country:
WOMAN: Next…it looks like we put the long screws in the fourth hole from the top.
HUSBAND: Which long screws? We already used those on the drawers.
WOMAN: I think we used the wrong ones.
HUSBAND: Well did you check the guide?
WOMAN: I don’t understand the guide!
HUSBAND: This is hopeless. You ruined this dresser!
WOMAN: I’ve never loved you.
IKEA instructions challenge everything we know about directions. Directions, for one, should have words. They should also have pictures that are not mere outlines with confusing arrows. And they should also have a warning that if we value our relationships we will drive that stuff right back to the terrifying maze-store and go elsewhere to buy a dresser that someone has already put together.
2. Their tools
Having just gone through the painful and marriage-testing process of putting together an item, you will vow never to do it again. “I don’t need you anymore!” you’ll gloat, gleefully tossing the leftover pieces (the purpose of which you’ll discover when whatever you built falls apart) and odd little tools into the trash. Why would you keep them? Those tools don’t work with any other item on the planet, including other IKEA pieces. And since you’re never going to have to take apart or put together that item again, you’ll never get your comeuppance.
But then you have to move again, and it turns out you won’t get your security deposit back because of the hole in the wall from when you were putting your bed together, so you can’t afford new furniture. Now you have to take everything apart, using only the regular tools that are universally compatible with all materials except things made by IKEA. You go online and search for the right tools, to no avail. You call IKEA and ask if they’re available for purchase individually, and are told that no, in order to get a three-inch wrench that probably costs 30 cents, you will need to buy an entire bed. And that’s when you start making a mental list of all of the reasons that IKEA can go straight to hell.
And if all those reasons still aren’t enough to convince you that this company is evil, I’ve got one more for you.
1. The founder was a Nazi.
I don’t mean this in the unhinged “Obama’s a Nazi” way, or the hyperbolic “This Nazi restaurant won’t let me get the dressing on the side” way. I mean that Ingvar Kamprad, the Swedish man who founded IKEA when he was seventeen years old, was involved with a pro-Nazi group. Technically he was not a “formal member” of the Nazi party, but honestly, once you’ve uttered the phrase, “You know, those Nazis have some pretty good ideas,” I’m going to go ahead and lump you in with the rest of them.
Kamprad was involved with the party through the 1940s and into the 50s, after which he apparently gave up on his dream of a perfect Aryan race that loves assembling inexpensive furniture. He has since apologized and called his participation in the Fascist movement “the greatest mistake of my life.” Of course, if you’re going to open stores around the world, including Israel, you really have no choice but to renounce your Nazi past.
On a final note, Ingvar Kamprad, the former Nazi responsible for trapping consumers and ending marriages around the world, has a personal net worth of $33 billion. So…yeah. Go to hell, IKEA.