Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Friday, December 19, 2014


Veteran readers of Lost in the Cheese Aisle - and people who know me personally - know that there is some sort of sooper-seekrit extra high-strength dopeyness that possesses me whenever we visit IKEA.

I’ve written several times about our visits to the Big Blue Box. One of the things that holds a perverse appeal for me is the Ikeonian practice of giving every article a name... a practice that began because the company’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, was dyslexic and found it easier to remember proper names than traditional product descriptions and/or codes. Sometimes the names are intuitive, sometimes not, probably because the naming convention relies heavily on Swedish and other northern European languages.

There is an actual system of nomenclature, and Business Insider nails it down pretty precisely:
  • Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, rattan furniture, bookshelves, media storage, doorknobs: Swedish placenames
  • Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture: Norwegian place names
  • Dining tables and chairs: Finnish place names
  • Bookcase ranges: Occupations
  • Bathroom articles: Scandinavian lakes, rivers and bays
  • Kitchens: grammatical terms, sometimes also other names
  • Chairs, desks: men’s names
  • Fabrics, curtains: women’s names
  • Garden furniture: Swedish islands
  • Carpets: Danish place names
  • Lighting: terms from music, chemistry, meteorology, measures, weights, seasons, months, days, boats, nautical terms
  • Bedlinen, bed covers, pillows/cushions: flowers, plants, precious stones
  • Children’s items: mammals, birds, adjectives
  • Curtain accessories: mathematical and geometrical terms
  • Kitchen utensils: foreign words, spices, herbs, fish, mushrooms, fruits or berries, functional descriptions
  • Boxes, wall decoration, pictures and frames, clocks: colloquial expressions, also Swedish place names
Of course, there are plenty of exceptions, as BI notes in their article. But that is of no consequence. All you need to know is, there is a system... and it is perfect for creating unintentional hilarity.

Simply by pronouncing the various product names in a stupid, exaggerated Swedish Chef accent, I can amuse myself for hours. Whether anyone else finds this amusing is certainly open to question, especially (as has happened to me more than once) when I am inadvertently in the presence of actual Swedish people. But there is an even better source of jollity, one that I thought of last night:

Make up your own IKEA names.

That’s right. Every IKEA product has a name, but I’ll bet we all can come up with better ones. A refrigerator, for example. Why should it be called NUTID, when we can call it KALTENBØKSEN? And when I see some horrible op-art pillow, I don’t think NATTLJUS, I think EYEBØLHURTY. (Don’t even get me started on the toilets.)

So here’s how to play along, next time you go to IKEA. Take a picture of any random object that catches your eye, and give it a new IKEA name. Then post it to Twitter or Farcebook with the hashtag #fakeikeanames. Hey, who knows? With all the FUKNKRÅPP these people sell, maybe this thing will go viral!

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