Friday 20 April 2012

IKEA comes to Flores

When I used to live in the Athens of the North, I vowed never to go back to IKEA after the time I got caught in the returns queue behind a woman who'd bought a lighting solution FUKKA by mistake and wanted to swap it for something else.

The item in question was a light bulb and it reminded me of the scene in Blackadder about potatoes which goes:-

Blackadder - "What's this?"
Baldrick - "I'm surprised you've forgotten, it's a potato"
Blackadder - "I haven't forgotten, it's a rhetorical question."
Baldrick - "Nah, it's a potato."
Blackadder - "Look! To you it's a potato, to me it's a potato! But to Sir Walter-bloody-Raleigh, it's more women than his tongue can handle."

So, to you it's a light bulb, to me it's a light bulb, but to IKEA-bloody-Home Furnishings it's an ambience option FRIGGIN-BASTAD.

It's a measure of how far we've come, then, that when we had a day to kill in Lisbon last December, did we spend it culture-vulturing round the Torre de Belem or the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos? Or get on a bus to take in the architectural delights of Sintra? Did we co-co, we got in a taxi to go to an industrial suburb called Amadora wherein resides Lisbon's IKEA.

IKEA, Amadora - visible from space
This is due to the fact that, although the best iron-monger's in the world is Avila, Fraga e Cie in Sta Cruz das Flores and Helder and his wife (I'm sorry I don't know your name!) at "the yellow shop" carry a very good stock, there's no getting away from the fact that the shopping for household items opportunities on Flores, an island of fewer than 4,000 people, are necessarily limited. Hence even I find it quite engaging spending an afternoon browsing storage solutions WANKA and dining options FARTTE.

There were two highlights of the trip. The first was the pneumatic wooden buttock in a glass case (complete with button to press like in a museum to set the mock up steam engine running) demonstrating how robust the world famous IKEA Poang chair is:-

The other highlight was the display they have of a complete mini-apartment with sleeping, living and kitchen areas and lav all crammed in to something like 30 square metres ("living option SHAGGIN-PAHD"). It was fantastic and we were really choked we had a hotel room booked because I would have liked to stay the night there and perhaps invited some people round for supper.

Now you may be thinking this is all noses up against the window for us on the basis how would we get this stuff out to Flores anyway, considering we're usually hard up against the 20kg baggage allowance of SATA (that's an Azorean airline, not an IKEA product). We did, in fact, use up the remaining 100 milligrams of our allowance by buying on the day - of all things - a doormat (shoe wiping solution SAAD). But in reality, we were on a fact finding mission because there is a way to bring IKEA to Flores.

He's called Manuel Viana, the owner of a company called SAIrei, Lda. The SAI stands for Serviço de Apoio Insular which translates as "Island Assistance Services". Manuel's business is sourcing stuff on the mainland which you can't get on the islands and sending them out to you. Thus, we got our car from Manuel (who speaks very good English). We basically e-mail him an order from IKEA and he goes and gets it and then goes to the port at Lisbon and puts it on the ship which comes out here. Also car parts - the glass of the wing mirror got cracked and, not surprisingly, these aren't kept in stock on Flores but it's no problem because you e-mail Manuel and he'll get it and send it out. His own fees are very small (although the carriage, which is out of his control, is always a consideration but that's just part and parcel of island life we have to accept).

So that's all by way of a long introduction to the fact we had an IKEA delivery from Manuel yesterday which for Carol was like opening the presents on Christmas Day

I personally can't get too excited about cushions (bottom solutions SOFTI) or towels (cleft options SKRATCHE) but as Carol so appositely points out, a wife HAAPI is a husband less GRUMPE.


PS, I am rather cock a hoop with my LED (=light emitting diode, not an IKEA product name) reading light you clip to the headboard of the bed. Projector c/mola JANSJO. A snip at 9,99€. I'm finding I'm remaining awake at night reading because I can due to spouse option TORN-FASE not complaining about big light BRITE remaining on.



Marisa said...

ahahahahahahahaha! That was the coolest story involving IKEA, I've ever heard. There's another one with Ricardo Araújo Pereira written in the magazine Visão, I'll try to find it. Good luck on the assembling (that's the worst part)......
You're good Neil, you should try theatre (comedy) with the Jangada (a local theatre company).
The name of the lady is Guida ;)

Marisa said...

Here it is.

Kathie said...

"A questão, portanto, é saber se o IKEA vende móveis baratos ou puzzles caros."


Anonymous said...

Ikea on Flores island? sadness.. what represent? FUCK IKEA!

Richard said...

I remember when IKEA first came to Firenze our Italian neighbours were wildly excited about how stylish it all was: only an Italian IKEA could be so stylish they said.
They were sadly disillusiond when I showed them the identical IKEA catalogue from Penicuik, Scotland

Anonymous said...

I just spoke with Manuel, and we will do some business,, THANKS..