[By Nic Lindh on Thursday, 12 August 2004]
UPDATE: The Tempe IKEA store will open November 10.
AZCentral has a nice little article about the humble beginnings of the furniture juggernaut IKEA. The Phoenix area is waiting impatiently for our local store to open so that much pent-up demand for affordable-but-okay-quality-and-looks-darn-nice home furnishings can be satisfied.
Having grown up in a house furnished by IKEA, though, I want to look beyond the current state of their artifacts and look back upon the quality as it was before, say, the mid-eighties. In a word, it was crap. Decent-looking crap, but crap. Cheap was the watchword back then, and quality control was, ahem, a bit, shall we say, lacking.
Selling the furniture in flat boxes and putting the onus of assembly on the purchaser was–and is–a brilliant idea: IKEA saves a ton of money in shipping, and the purchaser can usually get their goods home without having to rent a semi-truck and ding their stuff up in the process of transportation. (That particular joy gets saved for the correct occasion–moving house.)
These days the instructions are clear and much fun is obviously had by the designers while figuring out ingenious ways of creating space-obviating magic. But back in the day, the instructions were a flimsy sheet of impressionistic drawings sharing very little connection with the boring reality of the item you were trying to put together, and–and this is important–a crucial piece would always be missing.
Thus many a young and impressionable Swedish mind would get their first true taste of Swearing when mom and dad, the clock pushing towards midnight, were still sweating over some bookcase which, it turns out, did _not include piece C. _
We have to have piece C! Mother****rs! We’ll have to drive back to the ****ing store tomorrow and pick up the ****ing piece of $%^##! Why the %$^&$% do we keep buying this *****ing shit from those @#$^@#^?
Good times, good times. But a well-rounded vocabulary never hurt anybody.