The Ikea Story
Written due to an article I read in the Miami Herald
Written 10/9/2015 rewritten 02/2016 unedited
We have quite a newspaper in Miami, it used to be pretty good but now in 2016, it appears to be going down the drain pretty fast. In my opinion, as soon as you see a newspaper with sports on the front page you know it’s the end.
I can usually read the entire local and international news portion of the Miami Herald in about five minutes, but yesterday was different. They printed an article about IKEA, it was written by a fellow named Daniel Neman. Daniel Neman is the food editor for the Saint Louis Dispatch newspaper.
He wrote a humorous article about most of the IKEA merchandise being junk, and with some exceptions he said the food was not so good as well.
While his article was not completely negative, it made me laugh because I was thinking exactly along the same lines he was. I think it is rare that you read something in a newspaper that you agree with, so I just had to send him an E mail to which he quickly responded.
My Email to DNeman@post-dispatch.com. (I have since corrected a few things for easier reading)
I saw your story regarding IKEA in the Miami Herald and it said several things that were very similar to my thoughts. I was driving down the expressway in Miami when I saw this outlandish blue building with yellow writing on it, I wondered how anyone in their right mind could allow this eyesore to be built.
It was a big building, and having been involved in some building, in the past, I knew it obviously cost many millions of dollars to construct, which someone has to pay for.
I knew the name IKEA, as it’s supposed to be a highly profitable Company from Sweden, but I always pictured the people from Sweden as having rosy cheeks, living in harmony with nature as they ski down the mountainsides. I wondered if anyone living in Sweden would paint their car these awful colors, or even wear clothes that were these colors.
Well the building was go garish, I had to stop and see what was going on. So as I drove in the cavernous parking lot there were lots of people walking about with red vests, so I assumed most were IKEA employees hundreds of them. There even were a few customers, so I followed them, but as I walked I had to wonder who the hell was paying for this multi- million dollar building certainly not me or the few customers I was following.
Well I was sure surprised when I found all the IKEA paying customers were in the restaurant, getting a free meal. I knew that can’t possibly be where the money comes from, but I saw they had some interesting food. They had a Lingonberry drink, I had heard about that, and they had Swedish meatballs. I stood in a line, like forever, and I bought both of them. Then I waited in another line to pay for them. As I waited I could see everyone was sneezing and their hair and dust falling on my Swedish meatballs. Then, when I finally reached the cashier, she studied my tray like she had never seen one like it before, I told her that it was Swedish meatballs.
I couldn’t wait to try the lingonberry drink, well, if you don’t have sugar diabetes this drink will give it to you. You will never get me to believe that anyone in Sweden really drinks this stuff. Then I tried the Swedish meatballs, I couldn’t believe it. I hope no one tells the food geniuses at IKEA about frozen turkey meatballs, they could revolutionize Sweden because they taste much better than theirs.
Well, so now that I tasted this crap, I wondered how any normal person would ever come back again. So again I wondered who was paying for this giant building?
As I walked around the store, I looked in the baskets to see what people were buying, I saw someone with a $1.99 vegetable peeler made in China. I’m pretty familiar with costs of things in China and IKEA must make about $1.50 profit, so if they sold a couple of thousand peelers every day, it might pay their water bill.
Eventually I saw something I needed, it was a mold to make gummy bears, so I bought one for $2.99. I assumed that they must sell several thousand gummy bear molds every day, as someone has to pay the electric bill.
After I checked out, paying for my purchases, I saw that IKEA had another store selling Swedish food products, and I wondered, why in the world would IKEA, have another store after you already checked out of their first store.
Well, I know that anyone who can build a monster store like this must be pretty smart and have brains, they must know what they are doing, so I went to see what the heck they were selling.
Well, was I surprised, I never knew that 90% of America, likes salmon pancakes, salmon bread, salmon lasagna and salmon cookies. They even had stuff that looked like salmon toothpaste, so I had to try some of this oddball stuff, if the Swedish ate it, it must be good, so I bought a variety of different salmon items.
As I was leaving the building I saw someone with a Japanese car picking up a box of put together IKEA furniture. The box was bigger than the car, and whoever designed the building put a steel railing right where you load up so you can’t easily load anything.
I saw an IKEA employee trying to straddle a railing as he crushed their furniture carton into the back of the car.
I couldn’t wait to get home with all my Swedish food, I was going to try the Swedish salmon lasagna right away, that, was until I read the cooking instructions.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, wait an hour or so and make sure you turn the food over several times. I thought I was reading cooking instructions from some 1950’s recipe. I thought perhaps they don’t use microwaves in Sweden. It must be that they all like to fiddle around cooking all evening, while they are waiting for their government check to arrive.
Well then I threw all the food in the trash, and that’s when I looked at my gummy bear mold, it was made in China, and it was made out of plastic, to look like a silicone rubber mold, so it also went into the trash.
They say everyone loves IKEA, but I still don’t know who is paying for the ugly eyesore of a building.
Daniel Neman the food writer responded to me.
Dear Mr. Yasgar
Your letter made me laugh - several times. I am surprised that the Miami IKEA isn’t packed, every time I have driven past one, the parking lot is always full. That’s how they make their money, people apparently like their stuff. They buy it, then they have to put it together, then it breaks and then they go back and buy another, I don’t understand it either.
I have had Swedish food a few times now, can’t say I care for it, it’s weird because I like pretty much other cuisine in the world, still I may go back for the salmon and herring and those Rye Krisp crackers, as those are good.
I should reply to Daniel Neman and ask him if he thinks the herring and Rye Krisp crackers will pay the mortgage on the IKEA building.
I know that the IKEA furniture is designed for people just out of college setting up their own apartment or parents basement. The fact that they can actually read the instructions and almost put the furniture together, makes them feel like it justifies the cost of their college education.