Just recently Ikea send out their new catalog starting out with a letter saying that consumers are just like humans and that we as humans do not want to be seen as consumers. Because we are … human. We smile, we eat pasta and do human stuff. That is why “Ikea makes stuff for humans. Not consumers.” They tell us that they hope we will come buy something at their store after having browsed trough the catalog. At the same time they hope we do not get the feeling they are trying to sell us something we do not need….
This is my letter to Ikea.
I am wondering if the humans you are referring to in your letter also include the humans that work for your large company ? (That large company you do not claim to be in your letter.) Do they include the children that grow up to be those consuming humans in a few years? Do they include the humans living in the countries that suffer from our Western way of consuming?
Because, if only your company would be that good of intention, if your heart would really go out to HUMANS instead of consumers then why are you still mass-producing? And why is it then that you still need to make a catalog every year and make adds for your company, making people feel that they need stuff.. Because in the end that is what an add is for right? Getting those humans to buy stuff at your store. Conscious stuff as you say, carefully made and thought of whilst designing but still stuff…
O, and yes, of course we all want things to be affordable for everyone! But you know what? If we all -in Western society- would buy less, and buy just what we need, we would not need a new catalog every year, because we would buy that one thing we need for life and be satisfied with what we had. We could share, own less and be dept free. We could take care of our close ones instead of working so hard to pay for all those things we choose carefully from your beautiful catalog but really did not need. Stuff we end up getting tired of. And just discard. Stuff we bought to just make us feel more comfortable, stuff to fill up those emotional gaps. When instead we could have just been sad and uncomfortable. Because real people can not smile all the time, heck I even think we should not concentrate on that smiling all the time. We can not always be happy! And that is completely OK. Let us feel unhappy sometimes. Even without a reason. Take a walk outside,meditate, accept the fact you’re unhappy. Take a nap, it is just a feeling. Just like happiness is just a feeling. Not something you can buy.
So, dear Ikea, as a human and conscious consumer I think your letter to us is misleading. And what I hope for is that you could re-consider the things you say and get them more in line with how you manage your business. Or better yet, put your money where your mouth is and re-consider the way you are producing, how you are leading your business. Start making real sustainable furniture that would last us a life time (or longer) in a sustainable factory where everybody could apply and making a provide would not be your main goal but a side effect. Start explaining that consumption is ok but over over consumption is not. That we do not need a new couch or pillow, throw or lamp….. Because we could all do with a little less… Do you catch my drift Ikea or am I not the human consumer you where referring to?
Thank you for reading