Monday, 12 November 2012

Scooter Man



While I have many reservations with regards to IKEA, particularly with the way they handle themselves as the world’s largest charity (thus not paying as much taxes as they should), one has to admit the general public owes it a lot. By now we take IKEA for granted, but let us not forget that this company is singlehandedly responsible for us being able to furnish our residences with affordable modern designs. IKEA also seems to support environmental causes: it would be great if they were more transparent and vocal about it, but their products do seem to generally comply with European low VOC standards while wood seems to be sourced from legitimate sources.
We gained some first hand insight to these virtues of IKEA lately, having embarked on an effort to furnish our recently extended house. We bought a lot of IKEA stuff, but got our lesson with the exception: a dining table we got from Harvey Norman (because IKEA wouldn’t make the table we wanted in decent colors). This Saturday I have been a prisoner in my own home when the Harvey Norman delivery guys ended up two hours late over their “some time between 9:00 and 11:00” quoted delivery. Not to mention the “delivery man will call you half an hour before he arrives” promise that was never fulfilled.
With delivery people dropping in the goods, you would expect the table to arrive ready for eating on, knife and fork included. Prepare to be surprised: the table arrived IKEA style, flat packed. There were also additional surprises, like the box saying “Made in Vietnam” as opposed to the sign in the shop saying “Made in Malaysia”; not that I care, but one has to wonder what else they got wrong.
Once we unpacked the box we discovered foam. Lots of it. The type that breaks into tiny little pieces, creeps up on you unexpectedly around the house, clings to your shirt with electrostatic fervor, fills up your garbage bin, and ends up clogging landfills. IKEA, in comparison, doesn’t deal with that toxic shit. Its stuff is wrapped in recyclable paper packaging.
Score one for IKEA.

The second score for IKEA came from left field. The other week I was so disgusted with spending yet another weekend at an IKEA shop that I started fooling around. This time, fooling around meant me using a giant shopping cart, one of those big flat beasts, as a scooter. After two or three goes I’ve discovered something very interesting: I was really enjoying it!
So yesterday, when we started unpacking our books from storage to put them back on our new IKEA bookshelves, I unsheathed another artifact stored with the books: the scooter my nephew left my son several years ago but which we left in storage due to my son’s then tender age.
I quickly gave it a go. It didn’t collapse under my weight; on the contrary, it was fun!
This resulted in two side effects. First, my ever so impressionable son saw the light and spent the bulk of the perfect weather day we had yesterday scooting down our backyard. If you ask me, it’s a welcome change from his excessive YouTube/TV watching habits. It was also nice to walk around the house and see flashes of a boy on a scooter through windows around me as I went into book sorting mode.
The second side effect had to do with me doing my standard Internet investigations, this time on the matter of scooters for adults. Once I’ve identified worthy candidates I went looking around for places to buy them from. I’ll put it this way: by now I am not at all surprised to see that buying a scooter from Amazon UK and having it posted to Melbourne by air costs about half as much as buying the scooter from Aussie shops. Neither should you. I do worry about those that fail to do their homework and get robbed at Aussie shops, though.
I am hoping for that positive feedback effect where my son and I end up pushing one another to scoot from here to eternity this summer. Thank you, IKEA; looks like my Christmas gift to myself* for this year is all sorted.



*Not that I care much for Christmas gifts, but I do seem to get myself interesting stuff around this time of the year. We had a PS3, we had a Mac Air, and now I hope to have another “gadget” to take center stage in this one’s** life.
** Spoken in third person ala my new hero, Blasto.

The embedded videos were taken from The Adventures of Scooterman, a historical English teaching TV program from Israeli TV. It was a classic from the moment it first went on air.

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