Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I was recently reminded of my trip to the new Ikea store at Tempe, a suburb of Sydney. The store and its car park are so big that I believe it would be visible from space - at 39,000m2/420,000sq ft, it is the largest Ikea store in the Southern hemisphere. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. You are deliberately made to walk through the entire store as though in a maze with a map, to first locate what you want in the display area, get the code, then find the flat packs in another location, then transport the flat packs to the checkout and then to your car . . . never again!!   And that's not even taking into account the later assembly.

What brought it to mind was reading the following:

I've just been to the doctor and was diagnosed with low blood pressure. 
He wrote me a prescription for two sets of Ikea self-assembly wardrobes.

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Some Ikea items . . .

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Ikea, a Swedish company registered in the Netherlands, is the world’s largest furniture retailer.

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 Ikea was founded in Sweden in 1943 by 17 year old Ingvar Kamprad.

Kamprad began to develop a business as a young boy, selling matches to neighbors from his bicycle. He found that he could buy matches in bulk very cheaply from Stockholm, sell them individually at a low price, and still make a good profit. From matches, he expanded to selling fish, Christmas tree decorations, seeds and later ballpoint pens and pencils. When Kamprad was 17, his father gave him a cash reward for succeeding in his studies. Ikea was founded in 1943 at Kamprad's uncle Ernst's kitchen table. In 1948, Kamprad diversified his portfolio, adding furniture. His business was mostly mail-order.

Today he is one of the world’s richest men,

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As a teenager,Kamprad was directly involved in the pro-Nazi New Swedish Movement (Nysvenska Rörelsen) until at least 1948, causing tensions when IKEA began opening stores in Israel, although one source has claimed that the movement was not pro-Nazi. Kamprad devotes two chapters to his time in Nysvenska Rörelsen in his book, Leading By Design: The IKEA Story and, in a 1994 letter to IKEA employees, called his affiliation with the organisation the "greatest mistake of my life." After the revelations came to light, he pledged £1 billion to charity. 

Author Elisabeth Asbrink says in her book And in Wienerwald the Trees Remain that Kamprad was an active recruiter for a Swedish Nazi group, and stayed close to sympathisers well after World War II. The details go beyond what Kamprad has previously admitted. In her book Asbrink says Kamprad actively recruited people to the fascist Sweden’s Socialist Union (SSS) and that the activity prompted security police to set up a file on him in 1943 when he was 17 - the same year that he founded Ikea. Asbrink says the security police intercepted his post, and noted that he "had some sort of functionary position" in a youth Nazi organization.  She also claims that he remained in contact with Nazi sympathisers until at least 1950.

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The acronym IKEA is made up of the initials of Kamprad’s name (Ingvar Kamprad) plus those of Elmtaryd, the family farm where he was born, and the nearby village Agunnaryd.

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As of October 2011, IKEA owns and operates 332 stores in 38 countries.

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In September 2004, when IKEA offered a limited number of free $150 vouchers at the opening of a new store in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, three people were crushed to death in a stampede that followed the store's opening.


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