Opinion: Ikea is coming to NZ? Say it isn't so

Frustrated Man Giving Up On Putting Together Self Assembly Furniture
Photo credit: Getty Images

OPINION: One of the best reasons to move to New Zealand, I always thought, was because there was no Ikea. 

It was certainly a big plus for me. Sure New Zealand is isolated, the traffic sucks and my salary is a fraction of what it was in the UK.

But the thought of not having to spend a Saturday traipsing through the endless lines of homewares that you don't really need, then spending the rest of the day assembling the flat-pack furniture using that bizarre Allen-key tool they pioneered, well, that really appealed to me.

News today Ikea might be opening its first New Zealand store will have been welcomed by many, but beware. 

Ikea is hell. They should have the devil welcoming you in. It is full of lost souls all confused about why they are there and searching for a way out. 

Like John Paul Sartre's famous play No Exit, about three people condemned to each others' company for eternity, there is no exit from hell. The play spawned the famous line 'Hell is other people.' If Sartre wrote the play today it would be, 'Hell is other people in Ikea'.  

You enter through the big welcoming door. It seems nice, friendly with lots of stuff you could improve your life with. All you want is a lamp, but you have to meander through artificial rooms such a kitchens and bedrooms that are designed to make you feel inadequate. 

You want to leave but the only way out is to walk through the entire store. You end up buying a whole heap of crap you don't need and eventually you manage to escape. 

You think it is over but the nightmare is only getting started. 

Ingvar Kamprad, who set up Ikea is one of the world's richest men. The story goes Ikea really took off in his native Sweden when he started selling his furniture in flat pack form. It was hailed as a great business move and Ikea became the global giant it is now. Ingvar is now hailed as a great innovator in the furniture world. 

Except, no one thought about the poor sucker who has to go home and try and assemble a brand new wardrobe. The instructions make little sense to the average human and, after hours of shouting every obscenity at the pieces of wood, you assemble it only to find one of the panels is the wrong way around and you have to take it all apart. 

You entered the store at 9am and by midnight, you finally have somehow put the whole thing together. It is just a shame you are alone because your wife thought it best to hastily take the kids away for the night.    

I have no stats to back this up but I am sure Ikea has become a major cause of divorce in every country it has opened in. 

Ramani Durvasula, a clinical psychologist in Santa Monica, California, backs up my theory, telling the Wall Street Journal: "The store literally becomes a map of a relationship nightmare. Walking through the kitchens brings up touchy subjects, like who does most of the cooking. Then you get to the children's section, which opens up another set of issues. And that's before you've even tried assembling anything."

"They used to say that if you can survive a long road trip with your partner, you're going to make it," she said, "and now it's if you can survive a trip to Ikea. I've spoken to people who've been married for 30 years and the worst fight they've had in their entire relationship was over an Ikea piece."

Apparently Ukraine doesn't have an Ikea, it does have harsh winters with very short days, but at least if I move there I won't be assembling pieces of flat-packed furniture.  

Mark Longley is the managing editor of Newshub digital 

 

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