Sunday, 7 September 2008

When in Sweden, make like a Swede

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do," the adage runs. Well, the Sparkly One and I were in Sweden, but - undeterred - we applied the precept as best we could. On this occasion, it being a Sunday afternoon, the spirit of Making Like a Swede was given life with a stop at a local home furnishing retailer by the name of IKEA.

You may have heard of this company, as it has received some small mention in the Rainy Isles, and I myself have visited 2 or 3 stores in recent years. I was therefore eager to visit a store in the motherland, and curious to see firsthand how well the concept had travelled to our own shores.

I have to say that the Shopping Experience has not translated very well to the UK. That is to say that it has not been translated so much as transplanted. In short, the whole was largely identical to that in the UK; same store design and layout, same products (with the same idiosyncratic names), same seething tide of humanity on a Sunday afternoon.

After circumnavigating the store as quickly as we could, we stopped, chuckling quietly to ourselves, in the store's restaurang for a quick lunch of k├Âttbullar - Swedish meatballs, served with cranberry sauce, potatoes and gravy (including side salad and a drink - all for a very reasonable price).

All in all, we may as well have stayed at home, but for one small yet significant fact: we were in Sweden, where all this began.

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