'Fun' sleepover after a massive snowstorm strands 31 people in IKEA
December 5, 2021 4:26 PM   Subscribe

Employees and customers spent the night sleeping in beds in the showroom. Around 11pm members of the group chose where they wanted to sleep, having their pick of IKEA's vast showroom of beds and sofas. "Everybody found a nice and comfortable bed and could test and try out our range," he said.
posted by folklore724 (43 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
The modern day equivalent of From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler?
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:33 PM on December 5, 2021 [26 favorites]

I think the SCP writing collective already covered this one.
posted by lumosh at 4:38 PM on December 5, 2021 [24 favorites]

I'm jealous. (I spent an entire day in an Ikea as a penniless teenager waiting for car repair. It was surprisingly fun.)
posted by eotvos at 4:49 PM on December 5, 2021 [6 favorites]

This sounds absolutely wonderful; and yeah, I probably have some Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler nostalgia going on here.

I would enjoy being trapped in an IKEA with a bunch of Danes in a snowstorm, watching Christmas movies, playing games and eating in the cafeteria. It actually sounds like a Christmas movie.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:11 PM on December 5, 2021 [24 favorites]

For some reason this reminds me of the Ikea ad where they let 100 cats loose inside and filmed what happened.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:30 PM on December 5, 2021 [16 favorites]

Every ad should just be "we released 100 cats into the store; let's watch for a bit."
posted by jquinby at 5:33 PM on December 5, 2021 [25 favorites]

I think I would enjoy this as well, like a tiny hygge-filled version of an apocalypse movie. Mostly these moves are about hiding from the zombies or aliens and less about snoozing on an EKESKOG.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:46 PM on December 5, 2021 [6 favorites]

And the snowstorm goes on and on and they develop their own little community inside it
posted by The otter lady at 5:56 PM on December 5, 2021 [3 favorites]

I see I’m not the only one who thought about the SCP as the first thing.
posted by interogative mood at 5:58 PM on December 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

I love shower sex. The folks at IKEA are less keen.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:42 PM on December 5, 2021 [3 favorites]

Sounds a lot more comfy than the Snowasis crew.
posted by solotoro at 6:42 PM on December 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

I looked closely on the fake bookshelves, and there's a Stephen King novella on some of them. De Töcken, maybe.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 6:44 PM on December 5, 2021

Non-paywalled link to Snowasis crew.
posted by bendy at 7:05 PM on December 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Just don't use the display bathrooms.
posted by boilermonster at 10:42 PM on December 5, 2021 [3 favorites]

I predict the reality was less like the Ikea Cat commercial and more like the Making of the Ikea Cat Commercial.
posted by rongorongo at 10:51 PM on December 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

Wow, this is a very special and particular kind of nightmare fuel for me. I can barely handle being inside an Ikea normally, much less being trapped inside one overnight in a snow storm..

Can I opt for a raging bonfire of cardboard boxes full of flat packed furniture out in the parking lot or hang up a hammock in the warehouse or something?

The meatballs and lingonberry stuff from the cafe and any brännvin on the premises can come with me but everyone else needs to stay away just in case my latent Viking heritage claws its way out.

No, stop laughing. I'm serious. I might actually start eating people if I was trapped in the Ikea sales floor maze for more than an hour. Things would get weird.

It's taken me many years to admit and accept this about myself but I really, really don't like Ikea stores or enjoy being in them.
posted by loquacious at 11:43 PM on December 5, 2021 [7 favorites]

That is a severe case of the Gruen effect, loquacious. I hope I never bump into you when trying to buy a new desk chair and 30 ziplock bags.
posted by The River Ivel at 12:57 AM on December 6, 2021

I'd take Snowasis over this any day, unless there's a hidden "fully stocked bar" section of IKEA that I've consistently missed.

That SCP is great. Though frankly, so is IKEA. Love wandering their endless aisles, love downing their cheap hot dogs. Loved the ball pit when I was a tot. What can I say, I was raised in the bosom of consumerist Mammon and have yet to break its comfortable bonds.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 2:45 AM on December 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

Honestly, I'm just glad my local Ikea FINALLY added an "express lane" to its checkout, because most of the time I've been there I've only gone for one or two very specific small things, and invariably ended up getting stuck in the checkout lines behind ten people who were completely refurnishing their entire living rooms or whatever.

...Although when I went on my last gift-shopping run yesterday, I'd forgotten that they tend to play late-80s and early-90s pop as their Muzak - and that made me lose Whamageddon only five days into December.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:21 AM on December 6, 2021

After all…this is IKEA Heights.
posted by michaelh at 6:52 AM on December 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

But were the beds comfortable? Aren’t showroom beds 3/4 size?
posted by misterpatrick at 7:27 AM on December 6, 2021

Years ago when I was Projection Manager at my local AMC, I got to stay overnight in the theatre due to a snowstorm.As soon as we were done with our Actual Job at like, midnight (no one showed up for the last few shows but we still had closing paperwork and stuff to do.) I kicked off my shoes, got out of that stupid uniform, made a bunch of food that I would just damage out the next day and watched Exorcist for the first time ever, a movie file I specifically saved on that projector for MONTHS waiting til I had an opportunity to watch it. Then I built a pile of spare seat cushions and got a couple hours sleep til I was able to drive home around 8am or so.
It might seem fantastic, and so might this story, but the truth is that it's some bullshit since it wasn't like we weren't HIGHLY AWARE a massive storm was coming and was begging corporate to let us shut down early, but they absolutely refused to do so. We had our regular teenage staff there who would have totally been stuck in the building with us if we didn't just send them home early ourselves and seeing that CUSTOMERS got stuck in there infuriates me even more cause YOU had the full possibility of being able to ride out this storm in your own home, but you decided it be a fantastic idea to go furniture shopping right before a blizzard.

So all this story reads to me is that there's at least TWO corporations who I now hate.
posted by WeX Majors at 8:10 AM on December 6, 2021 [16 favorites]

I've never been in an IKEA. People tend to freak out in one of two directions when they hear that; either "Oh my god, how did you manage that, you genius, don't break the streak," or "HOW ARE YOU STILL ALIVE WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR STUFF." (British Heart Foundation, is where).
I'm going to try to hold out for another year, till I'm 40. Maybe I can celebrate my 40-year IKEA-free streak by doing an overnight. I don't know, though, I've read Horrorstör.
posted by BlueNorther at 8:43 AM on December 6, 2021

Horrorstor is another take on it.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 8:45 AM on December 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

...but you decided it be a fantastic idea to go furniture shopping right before a blizzard.

well they had their phones
posted by thelonius at 8:47 AM on December 6, 2021

Oh, here's my only other piece of IKEA-related material: my wife and I once kept each other up all night in hysterics making up names for IKEA coffins. Körps and Wörm Höm were the winners.
posted by BlueNorther at 8:48 AM on December 6, 2021 [14 favorites]

I have also never been in an IKEA. I already have enough furniture.

WeX Majors is reminding me of that episode of Superstore where they all spent the night.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:06 AM on December 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

That is a severe case of the Gruen effect, loquacious. I hope I never bump into you when trying to buy a new desk chair and 30 ziplock bags.

Oh, I have it bad.

For whatever reason I'm extremely, acutely and painfully aware of the Gruen Effect and the psychological manipulation going on in retail spaces and it. Drives. Me. Bonkers.

I did some work in marketing and have a tiny little AA degree in commercial art and design, but the Gruen effect specifically makes me feel a lot of things from visceral disgust to nauseous and trapped, manipulated and even lied to.

When I go to stores I'm the anti-pattern who fucks up the traffic flow because I'm there for a specific thing and I want to get in, get that thing or small list of things and GTFO (hopefully via self checkout) so fast that I create anti-Gruen Effect shockwaves and ripples that reverberate and mess with sales forecasts for days or weeks after I'm gone.

I know exactly what I want when I go into a store - any store - and if they don't have it or it's not the quality or type of thing that I want or I don't like the price I'm gone. I never have felt a shred of awkwardness or guilt about not buying something and walking out of a store empty handed. A successful shopping trip for me is where I leave with less stuff than what was on my list and I make do.

I used to let family, friend and partners drag me to Ikeas because I didn't really know myself very well and I don't do that anymore. I've had relationships end because of Ikea.

Imagine a drunk honey badger in a cardboard box. I don't meander through that silly maze, I tear through it sideways and backwards. I have zero problems with entering an Ikea through the discount and returned items section of the store first, then the warehouse and skipping the maze entirely. Granted I haven been in one in well over a decade so the point is moot.

Also this all sounds really aggressive, but I'm very kind and polite to retail workers and fellow customers in general at all kinds of stores.

What I'm aggressive and ruthless about is navigating these psychologically manipulating spaces and keeping my wallet closed and actively resisting spatial cues.

I'm not joking about this. Being trapped in in Ikea in a blizzard is non-figurative, no fooling around ha ha no I'm really serious no really back the fuck up grade nightmare fuel to me. As in I've had dreams about being stuck in retail spaces like that and woken up screaming and sweating and really upset about it kind of nightmares.
posted by loquacious at 9:14 AM on December 6, 2021 [5 favorites]

Gruen Effect

New term for me. Thanks! I suppose that's why Barnes & Noble refuses to tell you where they've shelved a book on their website?
posted by michaelh at 9:23 AM on December 6, 2021

I regularly follow one, and now two, ways around Ikea's GRÜEN.

1. On the marketplace floor, there are those "shortcuts" that let you skip through the maze - I have memorized their placement and follow the path I prefer.

2. The Ikea in my area is laid out with the entrance at ground level, the place where you actually get all the stuff one flight up, and the showroom and cafe one flight up from THAT. You are meant to go up two floors to the showroom first, and then back down one to the place where you pick the stuff up; if you're going up the escalators, the only entrance to the marketplace area is where the registers are, so you'd have to go "backwards" to actually access the stuff. They're trying to encourage people to go up to the showroom and then come down, and for years that is what i would do - take that pointless trip up two flights and then go to the stairs that would go back down one flight to the floor I actually wanted. But last year I decided "screw this" and decided to just walk with purpose through the registers and into the marketplace area, bypassing the showroom.

....To be fair, I hit upon this when I was still less-ambulatory from my broken knee, and planned to use that as my excuse ("look at me, I'm injured and trying to navigate all this with a cane and I know exactly what I am getting, are you REALLY going to ask someone in my condition to go up one extra flight when I don't need to do that?"). I'm more mobile now, but still followed that don't-mess-with-me attitude as I walked through the furniture pickup section back to what I was looking for - and no one did mess with me. And even better: the huge line that was in place when I got there had cleared out by the time I was done shopping.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:20 AM on December 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

I don't think I've entered an Ikea through the main entrance in 20 years. Mostly because I was picking up stuff I already knew I was going to have to get from the warehouse, foodstuffs, or household stuff, the latter two of which are right off of the warehouse. Even when I needed to find the odd bit of stuff that was in baskets or displays in the showrooms, I'd just go backwards from there.
posted by tavella at 10:51 AM on December 6, 2021

WeX Majors, that is indeed a really fucked up story! I read this story as a case where the snow was worse than expected, though that may be overly generous of me. But I see the store is in Aalborg, which is at the northern tip of Denmark, and surrounded by water, which makes me think two things:

1. People there really don't think anything of going out in the snow. Having lived in Minnesota, I know that people who live in places with serious winter (especially in cities with good transit and snowplows) just don't let snow interrupt their plans, unless it's going to be a blizzard, which leads me to
2. It might have been one of those freak storms that comes off the water (like Lake Effect snow off the Great Lakes) where you think it's going to be 2-3 inches and before you know it, it's a blizzard.

Anyway, I really love that everyone made the best of this situation. I can't wait for the inevitable TV show episodes and movies that will be inspired by this.
posted by lunasol at 11:24 AM on December 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

New term for me. Thanks! I suppose that's why Barnes & Noble refuses to tell you where they've shelved a book on their website?

Yep. See the Gruen Transfer. Or this article about Ikea and the Gruen Effect. (Which is linked above, too, yes.)

These principles are used in many retail establishments and even in website UI/UX design. Amazon's websites are an example of intentionally confusing and degraded UI/UX design and it's on purpose and the subject of endless marketing/planning meetings. They're happy to let you think that it's just bad or cluttered UI/UX design but much of it is highly refined to increase impulse buys as well as instant gratification at the same time.

The Gruen Transfer or Effect is one of the original dark patterns, as we call them today in commercial web design and development.

Many of these principles are often evident in large US style supermarkets. People in the US have a tendency to turn right when entering a store, which is why the floral department and produce section is often on the right hand side and staples like milk, dairy, bread and bakery are often buried in the back left of the store, and other staples like coffee, cereals or canned goods are seemingly haphazard and scattered throughout the store to increase impulse buying and loiter time. The longer you're in the store the more likely it is that you're going to pick up something not on your list.

It's also why your path through the store is often blocked by a confusing maze of end caps, seasonal displays and other non-staple items and impulse buying opportunities.

The effect is so pronounced at my local major chain supermarket that the right hand set of doors are much busier than the left hand set of doors even though the left doors are generally much closer to most of the staples and the general traffic in the store goes from right to left, counter-clockwise.

I know this makes me sound like a total crank but I deeply resent being psychologically manipulated by retail design and dark patterns like this.
posted by loquacious at 12:55 PM on December 6, 2021 [8 favorites]

Many of these principles are often evident in large US style supermarkets. People in the US have a tendency to turn right when entering a store, which is why the floral department and produce section is often on the right hand side and staples like milk, dairy, bread and bakery are often buried in the back left of the store, and other staples like coffee, cereals or canned goods are seemingly haphazard and scattered throughout the store to increase impulse buying and loiter time.

Eh, I think a lot of this conjecture described as 'business science'. The average US grocery store has multiple front entrances, so describing something as 'back and to the left of the entrance' depends on which entrance you are talking about. Also, the refrigeration units for milk and other dairy are big to keep them at safe temperatures, the jars and jugs are fragile, and it weighs 8lbs to the gallon. I dare someone to put it right up front and risk having frazzled grocery store employees carrying milk around all day and see how much is lost to spillage.

"other staples like coffee, cereals or canned goods are seemingly haphazard and scattered throughout the store to increase impulse buying and loiter time" No they are not. They are in aisles, and expecting them to be closer together (in the same aisle I guess I mean) is implying a level of knowledge about cuisine/purchasing that just isn't generalizable to the overall population.

Also Ikea vs Nebraska Furniture Mart (big but traditional layout) sales per sq ft are very similar, so how much their unique layout helps them is debatable. Would Ikea be a middling department store ala RoomsToGo without their unique layout? Also throw in the fact that Apple Stores dominate in sales per sq foot, so Ikea has halted their megastore expansion plans and is focusing on smaller more urban stores now so they certainly aren't doubling down on their current strategy - at best guessing at the future.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:42 PM on December 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

The average US grocery store has multiple front entrances, so describing something as 'back and to the left of the entrance' depends on which entrance you are talking about.

I have no dog in this matter, but is that true? I can't think of any grocery stores near me that I'm familiar with having multiple front entrances.
posted by dusty potato at 1:56 PM on December 6, 2021

I can't think of any grocery stores near me that I'm familiar with having multiple front entrances.

In the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area, I note that almost all of the grocery stores have 2-3 doors in the front of the store. One of the local market chains, Lunardi's, has left entrance (produce section), center exit by the registers, and right entrance (bakery). It was very noticeable when the other entrances were closed during the height of the pandemic.
posted by JDC8 at 2:06 PM on December 6, 2021

I have no dog in this matter, but is that true? I can't think of any grocery stores near me that I'm familiar with having multiple front entrances.

I think this really depends on what counts as "average" -- the ones I know of that do are the really large ones, e.g. Wegman's or a reasonably large Stop & Shop. In my area (in a city) the smaller/medium ones don't that I can think of.
posted by advil at 2:31 PM on December 6, 2021

Eh, I think a lot of this conjecture described as 'business science'.

Yes. These are generalizations. On the west coast side of the US there's a whole lot of really large chain supermarkets that all follow the same general layouts and design formats with the store size something like 10k, 20k or even 40k square feet or more. Usually with at least two entrances, with bakery, produce and dairy sections at far flung ends of the store.

Most of these are Kroger, Safeway, Ralph's or QFC related franchises. I think Safeway, Ralph's and others are all Kroger owned, now. HEB in Texas is also very similar and even usually larger, but I think HEB might be Kroger now, too, or some other conglomerate.

Whole Foods (in my experience) has self-similar store plans where the produce, bakery and deli are often up front with aisles, shelf stable stuff and staples in the back and various departments like meat, seafood and other specialty departments ringing the edges.

But we shouldn't dismiss or overlook the fact that these store plans for supermarkets in particular are designed the way they are for reasons based on exhaustive marketing research as well as vendor and infrastucture requirements.

Sure, there's logistical reasons why the frozen food aisles and cases are usually grouped together. Bakery departments are usually on the edges so the in-house bakery has easy access to it. Dairy departments are usually cold cases that back up against the refrigerated stock rooms so they can be stocked from the back of the display cases in the refrigerated storage areas.

But all of these major chain supermarkets have excruciatingly detailed master plans down with resolutions down to inches of shelf space, especially when it comes to the shelf spaces used by major brands and giving them priority access and shelf space, with stocking, zoning and facing often being done by private contractors working for those brands that aren't direct employees of the store.

I've seen various shelf and store plans and related printouts and they are incredibly detailed and planned out down, often customized for individual stores and not just general suggestions or guidelines.

An easy example o this is the cold cereal aisles and how all of the sugary kid's cereal is at the eye level of kids and takes up a disproportionate amount of linear shelf space, while more boring adult cereal like oats, raisin bran or Grape Nuts or whatever is more often at adult heights on the top shelves.

These are the same reasons why store or no-name generic brands or more affordable options are pushed to the margins in different ways on these shelf and store layout plans, which is why you see things like brand name peanut butter on the middle shelves easiest to see and reach but the cheaper generic stuff is often on the bottom or top shelves and harder to see or reach.

Whether it's a real science or not - there is definitely a known history of using or attempting to use consumer and industrial psychology to manipulate consumers and it's been going on for decades now, and if you pay attention to it you start to see it everywhere and in surprising places.
posted by loquacious at 3:09 PM on December 6, 2021

That is a severe case of the Gruen effect

How Ikea mastered the Gruen effect – Retail stores use many tactics to get shoppers to make unplanned purchases., Carlos Waters, The Goods by VOX, Oct 17, 2018:
“Almost 20 percent of our buying decisions are based on logic and needs, 80 percent of our buying decisions are actually based on emotions. … We used technology to measure actually the flow of consumers and where they’re interested and in which areas they intend to go, and that works all based on beacon technologies.”, Richard La Graauw, Creative Director, IKEA USA
For retailers, 5 Things You Need to Know About Beacon Technology, Elliot Haines, WordStream Blog, updated June 24, 2020. (I’ve summarized the following topics, see details in the article):
  1. What Is Beacon Technology? Placed at strategic locations within a store, beacons [example photo] are small bluetooth transmitters that broadcast unique retail location IDs to a customer’s phone.
  2. How Do Beacons Work? Each beacon repeatedly broadcasts its ID, marking a customer’s presence (and duration) at that point. Multiple beacons pinging phones track shoppers’ movements and interests throughout the store.
  3. Beacon Technology: A Timeline. When beacon technology was first developed and how it has been adopted.
  4. What Are the Benefits of Beacon Technology? Improved offline attribution with Google Ads, out-of-store marketing, advanced data gathering, Google My Business listing improvement, customer benefits.
  5. The Future of Beacons in Marketing. The possibilities of beacon technology in proximity marketing and location-based technology are numerous. As data gathering tools, beacons offer Google a chance to better understand businesses that use their services, as well as the users themselves, in order to improve their algorithm.
More at Motley Fool > The Blueprint. You can avoid BT tracking by not downloading store apps and turning off Bluetooth. Free-thinking window shoppers may yet become a Minority, so caveat emptor.
posted by cenoxo at 3:35 PM on December 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

> "...and that works all based on beacon technologies."

Thanks, cenoxo. I totally meant to mention this new state of the art of in-store consumer tracking and research and you did a much better job with the citations.

Ironically I was thinking about this within the last hour after my last post here because I had to run to the store, and I realized I forgot to turn off my BT connection because I was using a speaker on my bike. It's not uncommon I'll put my phone into airplane mode and go offline when shopping, and at a minimum I usually turn off location, Bluetooth and WiFi functions when in major chain stores.

With Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and a network of beacons in store you can do a whole lot of advanced data gathering and metrics like position, loiter times, store heatmaps and congestion points and more and tie it all back to personally identifying information and unique BT devices and IDs with or without having a store's app installed.

Another technology being used for these kind of consumer/marketing research is NFC stuff, but I still have yet to own an NFC enabled phone and I'm not sure if I would care to do so.

It's also entirely possible to use other apps not even related to the store if they have beaconing features enabled and harvest that data. This is one of the many hidden adware functions of "free" smartphone apps and it can be darn near anything, it doesn't even have to be shopping related or a store app at all.

Which is one of the reasons larger stores and other businesses provide WiFi at all. They're not doing it to be nice or provide extra value to customers. Major chains like Starbuck's, McDonald's, supermarkets and department stores offer in-store WiFi networks specifically to gather marketing data of widely varying types that go far above and beyond simply tracking what websites you use or other web/browser based data types or if you're doing price comparisons or common modern day smartphone + shopping habits.

With infrastructure grade Bluetooth/BLE, WiFI and so on you can track customers through stores and get immediate feedback on all kinds of things like customer locations within the store, how long customers loiter at new displays or shelf frontage, how they respond to new products and a dizzying amount of consumer data and metrics.

Major national brands bake this stuff right in to new advertising campaigns and product launches. There's an entire industry backing this kind of live research. They no longer have to rely on focus groups or trials, they can just launch limited runs of new products like, say, a new kind of novelty breakfast cereal, a new colorway for cleaning supplies or any other product segment and use that live test as the field or canvas to gather metrics via smartphone interactions and get nearly instantaneous feedback of consumer responses without having someone standing there with a clipboard or humans watching a video feed or other crude methods.

It's all highly automated now and revolves heavily around the fact that almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocikets.

If you're curious, there are some apps available for scanning for BT devices as well as stealth and hidden WiFI devices used for this sort of thing.

I can't remember which BT scanner I was using but even in my local small town supermarket there were dozens and dozens of BT beacons. The whole store was basically saturated and covered with BT signals.

It's also educational and outright alarming to use a laptop and a good, in depth WiFi and packet analyzer combo like Nessus and Wireshark or other related network security apps in a major shopping mall or retail center and see how many unique SSIDs there are in use and how many of them are hidden or stealth and not broadcasting their SSIDs for public consumption.

I've done this in major metro neighborhoods and shopping centers and there's often thousands of WiFi enabled devices doing everything from mesh network access points to HVAC control systems, security systems and much more.

Anyway, sorry for the massive derail into the darker side of our consumer lives about what is generally meant to be a fun, light hearted story about a sleepover in an Ikea.

But this is one of the reasons why I really don't like Ikea. One of the reasons they've been so successful is they've been at the forefront of this kind of wide scale research for a long time now. Their whole business model is really based on this kind of research and data mining and it goes much deeper than old school technology like loss leaders of giant bags of cheap tea lights or cheap bath towels or Scandinavian aesthetics.

My feelings and concerns and dislikes about Ikea are not just about the physical layout of the stores, their products or practices or the Gruen Transfer/Effect stuff.

People in general don't really think about this stuff or have any idea how deep this rabbit hole goes and I find it personally upsetting.

I'm biting my tongue here and I'm not sure how to word this gently without coming off like a paranoid crank but I feel that if you're also not alarmed by these things then maybe you're not really understanding or paying attention to how deep this consumer/marketing science and tech goes these days and how manipulated we all really are as consumers and how little it is questioned or investigated and how people just aren't generally aware of it at all because, yes, it's bloody exhausting and irritating once you start looking at it directly.

I mean it's really a lot like putting on the sunglasses from the movie They Live once you start looking at it directly instead of obliquely and it might even make you feel a little batty.

But I feel very strongly that this topic is very important and underrated because we're talking about the day to day fabric of our lives, the status quo and the very infrastructure that brings food to our tables and informs and manipulates our purchasing decisions and life choices on a massive scale that's basically completely unregulated, especially in the US.

All of this stuff all ties into the whole general arc and concept that we're consuming our planet and ourselves to death and why we're facing anthropocentric climate change, microplastics in our food and water supply, our seas filled with plastic waste and why the capitalist/consumerist status quo is generally so dire, horrible, unfulfilling and somehow lacking in substance or meaning.
posted by loquacious at 6:16 PM on December 6, 2021 [5 favorites]

No derail – conversations go in new, related directions (or back to previous ones): see Freaked Out about Location Tracking? You should be., Metafilter, suelac, December 19, 2019.
posted by cenoxo at 11:05 PM on December 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Among many other admissions, the extensive IKEA > Customer Service > Privacy Policy states:
Information collected through automated means

We may use automated technology such as cookies and other tracking software to collect personal information from your computer system or mobile device. We may collect the following information:
  • Internet Protocol (IP) address or other device identifier
  • Browser type and version
  • Browsing information, such as pages you view and the links you click, how you interact with the emails we send you, and whether you access our website via a social media site
  • Time zone setting
  • Browser plug-in types and versions
  • Operating system and platform
  • Other portable device information
With your permission, we may also collect your precise location data. We may also collect the time spent visiting, usage patterns, and the domain name of the website from which you linked to our websites.*

When you use our free in-store WiFi for your mobile device in an IKEA store, we collect your Media Access Control (MAC) address and location data.* If you do not want us to do this, please turn off the WiFi capability within your mobile device settings.

*We use this information on an anonymous basis and do not use it to identify any particular user. We do not link this data to any other data that we hold about you.

Third parties may also provide us with additional publicly available information about you.
Here's another (partial) example of retail data collection at:
Costco Wholesale Corporation — Your Privacy Rights
(United States and Puerto Rico)
Last Updated August 19, 2021

We, and our analytics and advertising providers, use cookies, pixels, web beacons, mobile analytics, and advertising IDs (collectively, “digital tracking technologies”). We use digital tracking technologies provided by such vendors and other third parties on our websites, apps, and online services to collect personal information (such as the cookies stored on your browser, the advertising identifier on your mobile device, or the IP address of your device) when you visit our site (or use our app).

Costco, our vendors, or other third parties also may use these technologies to collect personal information about your online activities over time and across different websites or online services. This information is used to store your preferences and settings, enable you to sign-in, analyze how our Services perform, track your interaction with the Services, track your orders and estimated delivery date, develop inferences about you for marketing purposes, deliver and tailor interest-based advertising, combat fraud, and fulfill other legitimate purposes. We also may disclose the information we collect or infer with third parties for these purposes.

You can opt out of digital tracking technologies for targeted advertising and third-party marketing purposes on our website from our Cookie Settings page.
Many of our analytics and advertising providers also participate in associations that provide information and additional ways to opt out of analytics and advertising, which you can access at:

• NAI (http://optout.networkadvertising.org)
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No wonder their hot dogs are so cheap: there's no such thing as an (almost) free lunch.
posted by cenoxo at 6:48 PM on December 8, 2021

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