Thursday, October 30, 2008

IKEA expert!

This post is just some rambling, IKEA-related thoughts.

I still haven't visited IKEA in Canada. People ask me things: "So, do you actually have IKEA in Sweden, or is it just something you are exporting?" or "Do those names on the things really mean something? What is "Poang" for example?" (Yes, no, yes, and "point" -- it's Poäng, actually.)

People also assure me that IKEA has "all kinds of Swedish food". I wonder. Will they carry kaviar (the pink cod roe bread spread) or tunnbröd (really thin, flat, white bread)? At some point I will have to go and investigate. Now that I actually have a driver's license it will probably be easier.

Anyway, I found the study mentioned here (end of the post) interesting: it says that people tend to like things more if they invest some effort in them. Like assembling the furniture after taking it home from the store. I'm not surprised, but it's interesting to get a confirmation that this is how humans work. If it's too easy to get, it's not worth as much to you.

It reminds me of the first science fiction story I ever tried to write (I was about 14), where there was a youth sub culture where it was high status to wear and use only things you had made yourself. Lots of time invested, and definitely unique -- more cred than anything mass produced. It's actually a little bit like that in many LARP circles. Of course, assembling IKEA furniture does not take any craft skills whatsoever, and you don't show off the results to brag, but it's interesting to see that people value their own possessions not only after how much money they put in them, but also how much work (even if it's as little as assembling an IKEA bed).

1 comment:

Dr M said...

We have been to Ikea in Edmonton, London a couple of times since moving to England. It has turned out be the only place where you can get some things that we consider essential (like rings with a simple clip for hanging curtains, instead of the elaborate contraption favoured by the English). And at least at this Ikea, they have a Swedish Food Market, where you can by some of the Swedish essentials. I don't recall whether they have tunnbröd, but they absolutely do have kaviar. They also carry crisp bread, lingonsylt, Annas pepparkakor (also in some versions I've never seen in Sweden!) etc., plus some Swedish candy, like Ahlgrens bilar, salt liqorice and Polly.

And as for the names of stuff: the Ikea staff will not know how to pronounce them and will not understand the correct pronounciation, so take your best English guess. At one point, M and I joked about printing t-shirts saying "I know how to pronounce the IKEA names."