Should Ikea be here?

A full Ikea store in New Zealand is not likely, but there could soon be an opportunity for kiwi consumers to buy Ikea goods online and have them shipped here from Australia. Read about it here.

While the usual suspects may trumpet the broadening of the market (which would be a factor for keeping the NZ dollar high), I don’t think this is desirable. Because flat-pack furniture sucks, and it makes suckers of customers. Instead of buying a sturdy desk made by a skilled carpenter, or even that you built yourself with some friends on a weekend, Ikea has actually convinced people to buy the boxed bits of a desk and put the flimsy piece of new age trash together.

The wood they use is not even worthy of the name. A sawdust pulp, dried and pressed together with a plastic coating that bears the impression of woodiness. Some may cry ‘but comeon, it is way cheaper, we are not all rich enough to purchase pieces of solid carpentry’. To those wretched naysayers I have one word in response; ‘trademe’. At any given moment there is a plethora of cheap furniture far exceeding Ikea in terms of quality. And once you get it you can avoid the aggravation of having to assemble the beastly thing. Stephen Fry illustrates my point in this video.

So I cannot view the news of a possible Ikea product line available in New Zealand with anything other than sheer contempt. If prices go down due to competition that would only make the quality even more rubbish than it already is. Or maybe I am wrong, but I am committed to the belief that handmade, solid, furniture is of intrinsic value that simply cannot be matched by Ikea. By 2020 the company wishes to be worth 50 billion euro. Let’s not add to that pile.

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