Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Reruns: Shopping at Ikea: What's In a Name?

(original post-date: February 10, 2010)

Having a close, personal relationship with words serves me well. It enables me to experience joy whenever I create a new sentence. It permits me to add clever comments to conversations. It gives me a niche where I rest comfortably, appreciative of my avocation.

About a year ago, though, I realized that there’s a time and place when one must abandon her verbal relationships and just shop smartly. For me, the moment occurred at Ikea.

At the time, I was in the market for a coffee table. Not because I was craving one particularly. Rather, the piece of furniture that had been performing that function for several years had become worn. You see, my previous mid-living room surface space was never, in fact, a coffee table. It was, instead, a wicker ottoman that I had purchased at Pier One along with its matching chair. Although the chair had held up relatively well, the ottoman had not. It was much too busy being a “project” for the cats. And when I could see through the sides of the squat, textured rectangle, I knew the cats had completed their project. I also knew it was time to move the piece to the curb and replace it with something less tempting to feline trouble-makers.

Before going to Ikea, I went online to peruse their coffee table options. My friend and neighbor, Debbi, who is my go-to girl when it comes to interior design, perused the website with me. She immediately zeroed in on a coffee table that was light in color, had simple lines, and would therefore blend in well with the other pieces in my living room. Beyond that, it was dirt cheap. But I immediately protested when I saw what Ikea had named this table: “Lack.”

“I can’t buy a piece of furniture named ‘Lack’!” I told Debbi.

My veto power having been enforced, we continued to peruse the pages of coffee table options. We found two or three pieces that also would work well in my living room, and although their prices were quite a bit higher than the one assigned to “Lack,” these tables, at least, did not have loser names.

… So with my pre-shopping research behind me, I headed up to Burbank.

I saw the tables in person. I studied them. I circled around them. And once I had given the matter twenty minutes or so of observation and thought, the choice was clear.

Lack.

(What can I say? Deb was right.)

I recorded the information I would need in order to retrieve my new table from the shelves of inventory, and I headed down to the ground floor, where customers are lured through a maze of goodies that are so small and so inexpensive, one needs a tremendous amount of willpower to resist impulse-shopping.

I didn’t succumb to any unexpected lures, I am proud to say, but I did purposefully spend some time in the lighting section. I already had planned to look at the offerings there, as I needed to replace the floor lamp in my living room.

I should mention, at this point, that much of my living room is all about mobility. With the exception of the furniture pieces that are flush with the wall, I like to be able to move things around. Furniture mobility serves art-making, exercising, and cleaning. So… when I saw a ceiling-directed lamp that featured a junior lamp, which could be moved from its parent and turned about any which way, I was impressed. When I saw that it was only ten dollars, I was even more impressed. Sure, I’d assemble it! What the hell!

It’s name? FINAL.

Yup.

Before leaving the impulse floor, I stopped by the shelves of lightbulbs and collected enough boxes to ensure that my new lamp duo would remain illuminated for years to come.

Then, I headed to check-out.

My prize purchases of the day – “Lack” and “Final” – may have come with negative, downer names, but the bottom line was a source of joy. I had spent less than sixty dollars.

8 comments:

deborahjbarker said...

I remember reading this post when I was first browsing through your blog Katie. The names still make me smile :-)

Green Monkey said...

the names crack me up! great post! first find for me. I love valentines day humor :)

Jayne Martin said...

Who would name a table "Lack?" "Butch" maybe, but "Lack?" That had to fuck with its self-esteem. It was lucky to find a home with someone willing to overlook that rather unfortunate start in life.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Maybe "Lack" is lacking any appeal when it comes to felines...

I have never been to Ikea, but I have a friend who froths at the mouth when they're mentioned. Do I need to gather together some provisions and make the trip?

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

I have three LACK side tables. IKEA provides interesting names for the furniture, that's for sure.

andreacarlisle.com said...

Maybe it means something else in Swedish. Like on Valentine's day one lover might say to another, "I bought you a box of that delicious Lack (pronounced Lok) that you love (pronounced Loff) so much."

I'm a sucker for that inexpensive part of the store. Yellow batteries. If they weren't yellow I wouldn't buy them, but they are and I have dozens.

Lazarus said...

"Lack" and "Final," hmmm, doesn't sound like they put a lot of marketing thought into those names. Great post though, entertaining, as always!

Kristy said...

That is great. Lack does not necessarily mean less, huh?!