Monday, July 05, 2010


When my kids were little, I usually took them to Old City Park in Dallas, for the Old Fashioned 4th of July celebration that's held there each year. I'd pack a picnic lunch, which we'd eat while sitting on a quilt in the shade beneath the trees, and then we'd explore the old buildings, including watching the blacksmith, to get a glimpse of how Dallasites celebrated Independence Day prior and up to 1910. We'd come back home and swim to cool off, and then in the evening we'd go out again to see fireworks. I'd usually make some sort of 4th of July cake and sometimes we made home made ice cream with an old fashioned, hand cranked machine.

But now that everyone's grown, that torch is passed to Alex and Kath, both of whom are now moms themselves. These days the 4th is a quiet holiday for me. So how did I spend it? I went to IKEA, of course!

If you're not an IKEA-ite (and I really wasn't until we finally got a huge IKEA store in Frisco a few years ago), IKEA is a Swedish store that was founded in 1943 by a 17-year-old Swedish kid who had a part time job in a furniture store and realized there was money to be made by flat packing. The name is an acronym derived from his name (Ingvar Kamprad), the farm he lived on (Elmtaryd) and his home parish (Agunnaryd in Småland, South Sweden).

IKEA is a dream store for anyone on a limited budget: they sell a wonderful assortment of stylish but inexpensive, flat-packed furniture and accessories, including kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom items; everything from mattresses to bed frames to picture frames. Ingvar Kamprad is reportedly dyslexic, making product codes a nightmare for him, so every item at IKEA has a single word name, most of which are Swedish in origin. There’s a special naming taxonomy: with some exceptions, upholstered furniture, coffee tables, bookshelves, media storage and doorknobs have Swedish place names; beds, wardrobes and hall furniture have Norwegian place names; dining tables and chairs have Finnish place names; bathroom articles are named after Scandinavian lakes, rivers and bays…you get the idea. There are a lot of jokes about some of these names, e.g., the Jerker computer desk (now discontinued). As absurd as it may seem, a couple of years ago IKEA was accused of cultural imperialism after a review of an IKEA catalogue revealed that carpets and mats were given Danish names whereas top end products (e.g., sofas and desks) were given Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish names. This was widely interpreted by Danes as IKEA encouraging their customers to walk all over Danes. I'm not making this up; an irate Danish politician actually called for a ban on the practice, saying "IKEA is walking all over us!"

IKEA also sells some Swedish foods. Happily, there's no lutefisk (cod prepared in lye; the main dish every Christmas when I was growing up) but sadly, there's no lefse either. There are always fresh cinnamon rolls that smell like heaven when you walk into the store, and there are also surprisingly good frozen meatballs (I usually keep a bag in the freezer and often nuke a few for breakfast), lingonberries, gingersnaps, fish candy...(just kidding about the fish candy).

I went to IKEA because, having completed my research on mattresses (I'm going with Bed-In-A-Box), I decided to follow their advice on keeping the cost down by getting the box springs locally, ergo, IKEA. They have decent box springs at reasonable prices, so I’ll probably buy them there…but what would a trip to Ikea be without checking out the Poäng Chair? (Per Google translator, Poäng means "point", as in score.) The Poäng chair is a bent, beech wood chair with a fabric seat. It’s incredibly comfortable, and has a bit of bounce to it. I love this chair. I don't own one, but only because I don't have anyplace to put one. I’ve wanted one since I first sat in one, and every time I go to IKEA I spend some time sitting in a Poäng chair, trying to figure out where I could put one.

Well, today when I went to IKEA, I bought one…for WIGGLE!

Yes, IKEA now has a
Poäng chair for kids…for LITTLE kids! Happily, it comes in a flat pack, which is perfect, because I’ll be mailing it to Fairfax in a couple of weeks.

There's a website where you can find out what your name would be in IKEA. It's where I generated the title of this post. If you want to check it out, click HERE.


Mrs. L said...

That was sooooo interesting!!! I've been meaning to go to IKEA for years, but I've never made it.

GoogIe said...
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