Five Reasons Why IKEA Can Go Straight to Hell

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.

Pictured above: You

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

Who wouldn't want a bed made of splinters?

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

Do not kneel next to your furniture. Instead, kneel next to your furniture.

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.

End Scene

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

This weird little tool will one day be your only obstacle to sleeping on a real bed.

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.

Game, set, match.

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.

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8 Responses to Five Reasons Why IKEA Can Go Straight to Hell

  1. Cleo says:

    This made me laugh — it makes me think of my horrible MALM bed that makes me fall through to the floor nightly. The best is when my back hurts from put the stupid slates back in,; I’m sure the elderly future self will thank me for the back problems this bed is causing me by having constantly to move 2 mattresses just to put slates on that will fall again when I put the mattresses back. And, yes I knew that was a run on sentence but when you have the blessing that is ikea, you share your joy with everyone.

    • outspokenslacktivist says:

      Yup, the MALM bed was actually the inspiration for this piece. No need to apologize for run-on sentences, when it comes to IKEA rants are perfectly natural. I barely restrained myself from typing this blog post in all caps.

  2. Julia Bard says:

    Great blog. And look at the flatpack future being planned for East London:
    Wednesday 11 April 2012
    Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant, is planning to build a 1,200 home neighbourhood near the Olympic stadium in east London: http://www.channel4.com/news/ikea-plans-to-build-entire-neighbourhood. Imagine finding yourself surrounded by this crap outside the house as well as inside.

  3. Maria says:

    I have to say, I was actually on-line searching reviews on IKEA for a basic white couch for a sun room.I refused to spend too much money on. Your blog made me laugh, but I really think I will be staying out of teh endless maze. THANK YOU!

  4. Bebe says:

    Hurrah, that’s what I was seeking for, what a data!
    present here at this website, thanks admin of this website.

  5. Edwin Cooke says:

    I see this all the time I have been building flat pack furniture for over 12 years, and the experience can be truly aweful, from missed deliveries, missing boxes to damaged goods and so on the list is endless. Only this week I went to assemble 3 x pax sliding door wardrobes for a customer in wilmslow and despite the delivery company being given all the boxes – 4 frames and another 3 box wardrobe was not delivered, how can that happen?

    Many things they sell are just rubbish as well ie don’t buy the internal lights for the ikea Pax system, the concept is just bad and the product is worse. Once installed, they can only illuminate one section of your wardobe as a simple shelf will block the light on lower sections, secondly if you stand in front of the light you block the sensors and the light will not come on when you open the doors (er where are you going to stand when you open the doors?) and the wires are ugly and trail everywhere. Finally, the power units are rickety and often fail. This system is a complete waste of money!

    Anyhow I thought I would do soemthing better, so now I sell flatpack bedroom furniture. I remove the hassle of getting it home, building it yourself, and taking away the packaging. I include all this in one great price. I would describe what I sell as mid-range, the quality is good and the price is good too.

    Have a look at Andre Victoire – http://www.av123.co.uk and see what you think.

    I have been doing this for 2 years now and my customers love it!

  6. Allan says:

    Tips for moving Ikea Furniture across the country.
    Step 1, Take a complete inventory of all the items you wish to move
    Step 2. Gently separate all the component parts (Tools required: Crowbar, Medium size hammer)
    Step 3. Place all the carefully separated parts on the curbside
    Step 4. Take your inventory list to the closest Ikea store at your new location

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