Do good, buy cheap.
August 27, 2010 8:09 AM   Subscribe

If only IKEA furniture could be assembled this quickly. The Swedish furniture chain's catalog has surpassed the Bible as the most published print in the world (previously), but did you know that all of your furniture purchases are actually charitable?

You see, a young entrepreneur named Ingvar Kamprad registered a firm, Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd, and began selling low cost furniture, back in 1943. According to Forbes, he is now the world's fourth richest person. Kamprad sold his ownership in 1982 to a Dutch charity, which is now worth an estimated (tax exempt!) $36 billion. This complicated corporate structure, which has successfully protected the owners of IKEA's various private companies, has allowed IKEA to pay relatively nothing in taxes. Even more troubling, it seems that this 'Foundation' is not exactly charitable. No word on whether or not your purchases are tax deductible.

P.S. - you can request your 2011 catalog now!
posted by eenagy (32 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ikea blue?

That being said, the mister and I just moved, and purchased a thousand dollars worth of Ikea furniture. I'm sitting in an Ikea chair, at an expedit desk, attached to an expedit bookshelf and beside and expedit entertainment center right now.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:14 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


See, this is why I just cough up the 10% extra to have the IKEA delivery staff build my stuff for me.

My time is worth more than what I pay for assembly, and if they screw it up, they have to provide a new unit. If I screw it up, too bad so sad.
posted by bwg at 8:15 AM on August 27, 2010


IKEA catalogs are the best: open to a random page, close your eyes, point your finger and now you have a name for your new D&D character.
posted by griphus at 8:16 AM on August 27, 2010 [19 favorites]


Ikea blue?

A callout for paying no taxes and having a fake charity? Sounds more like IKEA red.
posted by DU at 8:19 AM on August 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


IKEA catalogs are the best: open to a random page, close your eyes, point your finger and now you have a name for your new D&D character.

A map of rural New England is also good for this.

More relevantly, I rather like my IKEA furniture, although I feel no particular need to buy more in some sort of obsessive fugue.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:20 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one who was rooting for a sweaty high-speed celebration to test the new bed after that day of arduous installation?

A-and did they edit out all the frustration? [Link is to Holy Taco, which has some NSFWish pics & language on occasion.]
posted by chavenet at 8:23 AM on August 27, 2010


It amazes me that Mr IKEA has denies being the richest man in the world. If you control and have personal access to ten's of billions of dollars - guess what motherfucker - you are RICH. Though I am not accusing Bill Gates or Warren Buffet of doing anything nafarious, there is probably no better wealth perservation method for the super wealthy than to create a charity. Whether or not that charity actually does anything charitable is another set of challenges (though I would suspect the IRS would be pretty fucking all over it if things were too far off base).
posted by helmutdog at 8:28 AM on August 27, 2010


A map of rural New England is also good for this.

That's almost the exact concept of the IKEA catalog.
posted by griphus at 8:34 AM on August 27, 2010


Somebody should tell that nice hyperactive couple that their bed frame may be too close to their new armoire.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:35 AM on August 27, 2010


Is it sad that I always volunteer to build any Ikea furniture my family buys? I love assembling them for some reason, and I even start to see how furniture is put together (oh the turny post screw dealy goes there!) before I crack open the language-less manual. I wonder if Ikea parts have a nomenclature similar to Lego pieces?
posted by msbutah at 8:39 AM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ingvar Kamprad pictured here.
posted by defenestration at 8:39 AM on August 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


The company is owned and operated by Ingka Holding, a Dutch firm owned by a charitable trust called Stichting INGKA Foundation, which devotes its $1.7 billion in post-tax profits to "innovation in the field of architecture and interior design."

For that kind of money I'd want the interior design equivalent of a moon landing.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 8:42 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good place for this funny little story: Does IKEA bully Denmark?
posted by WPW at 8:43 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


IKEAs success is based on the premise that its customers would like to avoid paying taxes too. The reason why the furniture has to be assembled by the customer is to avoid the VAT that comes with furniture assembled at the factory. This of course does not apply to US stores where there is no VAT, but it does apply in European countries that have Value Added Taxes.
posted by otto42 at 8:47 AM on August 27, 2010


A map of rural New England is also good for this.

That's almost the exact concept of the IKEA catalog.


From the link:

It turns out, Byrne writes, that the Wikipedians had already cracked the code...

Bookcase ranges: Occupations


When I grow up, I want to be a BILLY.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:02 AM on August 27, 2010


Er, otto42, AFAIK flat-pack furniture is taxed at exactly the same VAT rate as assembled furniture all over Europe. Of course you don't pay VAT for the cost of assembling the furniture, because you don't pay the cost of assembling the furniture in the first place! (that is, unless you are paying a professional to assemble the furniture afterwards, in which case he should be billing you the VAT).

Maybe what you meant that high taxes on labour and consumption in (Western) Europe, coupled with a lower opportunity cost for leisure, make (Western) Europeans quite receptive to DIY in general, and furniture assembly in particular.
posted by Skeptic at 9:04 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


My time is worth more than what I pay for assembly, and if they screw it up, they have to provide a new unit. If I screw it up, too bad so sad.

Like that time when you accidentally punched a hole with a rubber mallet in the side of your new Expedit 5x5 bookcase because you just could not get that last board to line up with the thousands of pegs in the middle?

Oh, wait... that was me.
posted by candyland at 9:04 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am all too excited for my 2011 Ikea Catalog to arrive, so I can proceed with redesigning my impossibly small bathrooms in my head.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:05 AM on August 27, 2010


Oh, wait... that was me.

I read the first sentence of your comment to my husband, and he said, "Oh wait, do they know about us?"
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:10 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just saving up for this final Ikea item.
posted by orme at 9:16 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The couple in OP's video had a nicer room before they started.

Also, they should have had bunny sex three or four times during the video if they wanted to really go viral.
posted by Trochanter at 9:43 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


IKEA furniture tastes burned and they charge too much for it.

let's just get that out of the way now.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:50 AM on August 27, 2010


As someone who has purchased a shitload of IKEA for his new house and lives in a state on the verge of bankruptcy, I should probably be outraged or something. I'm too tired, though; I have a lot of flat pack furniture to assemble these days, you know.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:58 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


From WPW's (awesome) link:
While expressing regret that anyone might have taken offence, Magnusson stressed that "it is just a coincidence that it happened to be carpets that were given Danish names."

But Klaus Kjøller is not convinced.

"It's hard to imagine it's not intentional," he said.

In an unrelated but interesting aside, the Copenhagen academic also pointed out that "it is exactly 350 years since the Swedes took the Halland, Skåne and Blekinge regions from Denmark."
Damn, man, I want my local rags to learn that phrase - in an unrelated but interesting aside - and work it into every single story they publish now and forever. Might actually convince me to buy a newspaper again.

I frickin' love Denmark. I still can't figure out whether Danes are really this earnest or possess the driest collective sense of humour on the planet.

In an unrelated but interesting aside, I once had a Danish train official roust me on a regional commuter train late one night, and when I realized I'd slept through my stop and was now a $100 cab ride from my destination, I reacted with a bit of confused bluster. "I think you are disturbed in your mind," he told me, in that tone other cultures reserve for phrases like "looks like rain" and such.
posted by gompa at 10:39 AM on August 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


IKEA furniture tastes burned and they charge too much for it.

Last weekend I completed my first-ever pilgrimage to Ikea and emerged two hours later with a Norden dining table. At home, with the pieces pulled out of the box, my dog found a cozy spot in the midst to settle in and lick them. So I have it on good authority Ikea furniture tastes good.

Yes we are discouraging this.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:50 AM on August 27, 2010


I was waiting for the smoking gun... The profits go to Neo-Nazis! GreenTech is directly funding deforestation in Indonesia! Ingvar Kamprad eats babies!

Instead it looks like they've sneakily become tax-exempt by more or less "donating" money to their own R&D. I guess that's bad, but they have a lot to learn from American Evil Corporations.
posted by sharkitect at 10:59 AM on August 27, 2010


my dog found a cozy spot in the midst to settle in and lick them. So I have it on good authority Ikea furniture tastes good

Alternately, Ikea tables are made out of compressed dog butt.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:30 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Alternately, Ikea tables are made out of compressed dog butt.

Fidö dining table
$149.00


Seats 4-6

Length: 150 cm
Max. length: 205 cm
Width: 90 cm
Height: 74 cm

Product description & measurements
Main parts: Compressed canine posterior, Clear polyurethane/acrylic lacquer
Extension rail/ Crossbar: Galvanized dog feces
posted by gompa at 11:56 AM on August 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've read their wood is largely sourced from illegally-harvested old-growth forests. I won't by their furniture because of this.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:44 PM on August 27, 2010


I don't think they've sourced illegally in a while. I think the story on that is that their suppliers were sourcing illegally and didn't tell anyone. Then someone found out and Ikea dropped their suppliers and tightened up the chain management.
IKEA does not accept wood that is illegally logged or that comes from intact natural forests. Our long-term goal is to source all wood for IKEA products from forests certified as responsibly managed.
Source
posted by msbutah at 1:48 PM on August 27, 2010


On a somewhat related note: Meet Gary and Elaine.
posted by lodev at 4:32 AM on August 28, 2010


I bought my first ever piece of furniture from IKEA earlier this year, a table, and I found that I *really* enjoyed assembling it. As in, I'd volunteer my time to others who want their IKEA furniture assembled. Ordinarily I'm mostly a "my time is valuable, I'd rather pay someone to do this" person, but in this one case it's an activity I liked doing so much, I'd be willing to make an exception.

The one issue I had while assembling the table was that every minute or so, Brad Pitt would pop into my head and say "What are you thinking about, IKEA boy?"
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:55 AM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


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