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Wait Wait Goes To IKEA

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.



Thank you so much, everybody. Thank you, Carl. Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. It's not quite spring, but we've decided to take an early spring break.

KASELL: I barely had time to get into bikini shape.


KASELL: This six-pack doesn't come from a store, people.


SAGAL: We've combed our archives for our favorite segments, and we noticed some prominent themes in our coverage, for example the Swedish furniture chain IKEA.

KASELL: We mention them so often we've gotten our own IKEA names. I'm Carl Mo with two little dots over the A.


SAGAL: Here are some important stories from our IKEA desk, which, naturally, we had to assemble ourselves. Mo, IKEA is famous for making adorable cheap furniture and Swedish meatballs. Now they've announced plans to make a whole what?

MO ROCCA: Well they also make lingonberries. They don't make them but they provide them.


ROCCA: They're going to make, they're going to make - so they - I don't think it's really adorable, the furniture that they make.

SAGAL: It's kind of...

ROCCA: That's very subjective.

SAGAL: It's sort of an extreme extension of what they do already.

ROCCA: An extension of what they make already.

SAGAL: Maybe it'll be called Lingonberryberg.

ROCCA: Oh, they're going to make an IKEA town.

SAGAL: Yes, they are.

ROCCA: A whole town.

SAGAL: Yes, they are, an entire town.


SAGAL: They're going to build it. This new 27-acre community outside London will come with 40,000 pages of wordless assembly instructions.


SAGAL: And an Allen wrench the size of a telephone phone. It has yet to be named but you can bet that the name will have an umlaut somewhere.


SAGAL: The biggest danger, of course, they finish building the whole town, the streets, the homes and they have all these parts left over.


JESSI KLEIN: Is the whole town going to smell like meatballs?

SAGAL: It will

KLEIN: That you don't really want.

SAGAL: Real estate analysts predict that in two years you'll be able to buy the whole town on Craigslist when everybody moves up to Crate and Barrelsville.



ALONZO BODDEN: Where do you find contractors and construction workers to build an IKEA town? It just seems...

SAGAL: Well, you do it yourself.

BODDEN: Oh, that makes sense.

SAGAL: The entire town packs flat. You can put it on top of your station wagon. Bring it home, open it up.


KASELL: And here's another question from the IKEA files.

SAGAL: Roxanne, IKEA knows that shopping for furniture can be stressful for couples and they're trying to help. What are they now offering at some of their stores?

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Well they already have a place where you can park the children.

SAGAL: Yes, that's great. What they really need and some now offer is a place where you can park who?

ROBERTS: Your mother-in-law.



ROBERTS: Where you can park husbands.

SAGAL: Yeah, basically a place to park your husbands, boyfriends.



SAGAL: It's a play area for men. IKEA, as you know, if you go there, has a child play area called Small Land. And now women at certain IKEA stores can ditch their annoying husbands or boyfriends as well, in Man Land.


SAGAL: We assume there's a little circle over the A, Man Land. There's foosball, comfy chairs, video games, and free hot dogs - everything a man could want, short of not being forced to go shopping in the first place.


SAGAL: And this is great; they give the women who drop off the husbands and boyfriends a buzzer to remind them to collect their men.


SAGAL: Before they leave the store. So now IKEA has to deal with both a pile of abandoned buzzers and the pile of abandoned husbands.


KASELL: Let's take one more trip down the bewildering aisles of IKEA. For this one we were joined by Mo Rocca, Adam Felber, and Roxanne Roberts.



SAGAL: A controversial decision by Swedish furniture maker IKEA has the company facing an international backlash. Customers around the world are horrified at IKEA's decision to change what?

ROCCA: Oh gosh, it can't be their logo, that's too boring.

SAGAL: It's close, actually, to their logo.

ROCCA: Not their color scheme.


ROCCA: Does it have anything to do with their directions, their...

SAGAL: Yes, it has to do with their printed catalogs.

ROCCA: OK, that their catalogs are now - you're going to have to put the catalogs together without any instructions.


SAGAL: No, here's - people were crying all over the world. What the Helvetica, they were saying.

ROCCA: Oh, they've changed their font.

SAGAL: They did. We all know the IKEA font, right?


ROCCA: Yes, I love the IKEA font.


SAGAL: But the ads from the Swedish furniture maker IKEA caused horror, not because they've raised the price on the Bjorkful Candleholders but because they changed their font. No more with the stylish Bibi Snur duvet covers advertised in the Futura font we all know and love. But instead, they used that cheap, trashy, font Verdana.


ROCCA: Verdana.

SAGAL: Verdana. That trollop.


SAGAL: Twitter instantly erupted with complaints. IKEA, stop the Verdana madness came a plea from Tokyo. Words can't describe my disgust said a disgusted Australian, using words.

FELBER: To describe his disgust.


SAGAL: IKEA said - this is true - they switched to Verdana because they said it's more cost effective.

FELBER: Wait wait, what was the one they were using before?

SAGAL: They were using Futura.

FELBER: Oh, that runs you by the letter.

ROCCA: Yeah.

SAGAL: Exactly.

FELBER: Yeah, that'll run you, especially with the consonants, they add up.


ROCCA: Did you say Bjorkful at one point?

SAGAL: Yeah, I said Bjorkful.

ROCCA: But she's Icelandic.

SAGAL: I'm just telling you the name of the candleholders. They're Bjorkful.


SAGAL: (Singing) You are so Bjorkful to me.

ROCCA: (Singing) Can't you see?

ROBERTS: I think that should be a Marvel character.

FELBER: Bjorkful.

ROCCA: Bjorkful.


SAGAL: It is I, Bjorkful, with the power to disassemble myself and reassemble myself anywhere, with a small minimum of cursing.


SAGAL: I have the power to furnish divorced men's apartments.



(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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