A trip to IKEA can reveal a lot about a relationship.
“So many couples mention fighting while shopping at IKEA or while assembling what they buy there” that therapists have started using the retailer as a way for their clients to communicate, reports Hilary Potkewitz at The Wall Street Journal.
San Diego therapist Ramani Durvasula told WSJ that she asks couples to assemble a piece of furniture together to see how it goes.
She calls one item, a massive entertainment center called the Liatorp, the “divorcemaker.”
The complicated Liatorp system requires two people for assembly and features an array of shelves and panels. It also must be fastened to the wall.
CivicScience reports that 17% of couples reported arguing every time they assembled furniture together.
Therapists told WSJ that couples who can cooperatively assemble furniture generally have healthier relationships than those who don’t.
Selling difficult-to-assemble furniture isn’t hurting IKEA’s business.
“There is perhaps no other retailer on the planet that has moved its basic model into so many places with so much success,”analyst Warren Shoulberg writes on industry website The Robin Report.
The furniture store has an impressive 298 stores in 26 countries, selling $US36 billion a year.
Before IKEA existed, people saw furniture as an investment for the next 20 years.
This resulted in a lot of anxiety and indecision, according to Shoulberg.
“They created products that were nicely designed, if not particularly durable, that were intended to be used immediately… and disposed of when they wore out or, more likely, when the user had moved on to a different taste level or purchasing strata,” he writes. “It’s a seminal change in the home business and one that conventional furniture stores are still trying to come to grips with.”
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