Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bork bork bork!

Yesterday we got up early and drove to the Ikea in Stoughton, ostensibly to look for lighting and a media center. We came back with one light (a modern floor lamp for the dining room), a random sampling of storage and decorative items, and a bench for the front porch. Coulda been worse.

I love the European-ness of Ikea, from its family-friendly cafeteria (with microwave, and kid-sized spoons for those who tote their own baby food) to its hip and funky designs, to its constant reminders about green living--even charging 5 cents per plastic bag to actively discourage unnecessary waste.

And I especially love Ikea's grasp of visual explanation. Given that there are stores in almost 40 countries, from Israel to Malaysia to Greece to Iceland, and given that most of their products require home assembly, there's a need to present instructions in a way that's universally understandable. (With their eco-conscious mission, they're unlikely to produce 40-page multilingual how-to pamphlets.)

So, for instance, this is how they show what to do if you get stuck:

The implication here, of course, is that you're smart enough and independent enough to know how to find the phone number yourself. I like that.

And the package of votive candles comes with a complex list of safety instructions. Some require a little more thought to comprehend (don't use a candle taller than your rocking chair? Don't let your dog bark at an open flame?):



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