Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Culture Clash

I came to Shanghai to experience the Chinese culture. Yet here I am, on only my sixth day in the city, wandering around a Swedish Wonderland.

Yes, I am in Ikea.

The fact that an Ikea exists in Shanghai at all is scary. Yet even scarier is the fact that it looks EXACTLY like any other Ikea, in any location in the world. Identical, from the blue and yellow paintwork, and the cute Swedish names for all the items (‘brannas’, ‘expedit’, ‘funka’ and ‘samtid’) to the meandering path designed to force shoppers past every possible piece of merchandise there is. As I stand here it is blindingly obvious that somewhere there exists a publication of “Ikea Set-up For Dummies”, and it has been followed to the letter.

I must be crazy. I am already suffering from culture shock and having difficulty at times coping with the pushing masses of people in any location in the city. So I go to Ikea?? If you have ever been to Ikea on a Saturday morning you will understand exactly what I am talking about. I vow, as it is packed enough of a Wednesday NEVER to venture in these claustrophobic, primary-coloured halls of a weekend.

Two hours later I eventually emerge back out into the oppressive heat of the Shanghai street. I feel like banging my fists to my chest and hollering: “With Sven as my witness, I have conquered Ikea!” Instead I toddle back to the subway, arms laden with just enough miscellaneous home wares to make my trip back home that touch more arduous. It is Ikea’s parting kick in the backside to all departing shoppers, that their products are designed and packaged in the least manageable way possible.

“Thank you, come again!” The sadistic truth is that we do.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why did you have seven witnesses????

Anonymous said...

Anon= HHD

The Maoist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Louise said...

anon/HHD, the problem when you make such terrible jokes is that no-one realises you are joking!
And Phil, there is NO WAY you are getting me into furs in this heat! Kodak moment or not :P

HHD said...

I'm sure the NOKIA rep is a PHONEY!!

Louise said...

lol... getting better

The Maoist said...

...well at least the hat with the viking horns....

no?