mercredi, mai 10, 2006


I spent most of yesterday at IKEA Arlon. The Europe day holiday was spent discovering how un-European the market still is. IKEA Arlon is the result of Luxembourg (the Duchy) not wanting an IKEA within its borders. The reasons for this are as unfathomable as those of the government of Malta not wanting Ryanair. Unlike Maltese consumers though, Luxembourgers and all other kinds of citizens living in the Duchy can commute to either the German Saar, the French Lorraine or the Belgian Luxembourg districts and find an IKEA conveniently placed across the border. In the case of Arlon the words "on the border" could not be more apt. Having been refused entry into the Duchy, IKEA did the next best thing - it placed an outlet right at the entry between Belgium and Luxembourg.

Result: distance between Rue de Bragance (Lux) and Ikea (Arlon, Belgium) is less than 12 minutes drive. So IKEA is peppering the continent with its DIY at a time when I read that the new yuppies are more interested in GIDFY (get it done for you). I am still stuck with the DIY frame of mind although my technical qualities are not of an Olympic status I can still get to assemble a bed and cupboard autonomously.

I had originally patronised (as in been the customer of) IKEA Metz until the Arlon branch opened. I had become a member of the IKEA family and was a proud carrier of an IKEA *Hej card, which presumably made me a European Ikean. When the Arlon branch I noticed that notwithstanding the supposed transcendental nature of the European market, the former barriers are still very much up and alive and can be witnessed in the operability of IKEA.

IKEA Hej (France) is not recognised (and does not exist) in Belgium until 24th May. It will then come into existence as an IKEA family card. Another scheme, the IKEA Credit, run with CETELEM credit company, is only available for Luxembourgers and Belgians - no Frenchies please. Stockwise IKEA marketing lealets can sometimes point out that certain stock will only be found in Belgian markets (that's assumed to include the recalcitrant Duchy).

The few European benefits of IKEA are not so glaringly obvious. The most basic one is that I can load a vanful of stuff and transport it into the Duchy without stopping at customs and explaining why the frame I purchased is called "LIBA" and that "SULTAN FORSBACKA" is just a mattress and not some Turkish immigrant. So no price change there. BUT products in France, Belgium and Germany DO have different prices. The German IKEA is cheaper, the French stock is larger but their delivery service notoriously inefficient and the Belgian is too new to fathom (I am speaking of Saarbrucken, Metz and Arlon here).

Anyways. I will have to go pick up my new study in my rental van this afternoon. I will drive there in my Luxembourg plated car having purchased it as a temporary resident with a permit de sejour. I use my Maltese driving license which thankfully remains valid throughout my stay (Q: Am I allowed to change my license even though it is not expired? I hate the photo and it is crumbling to pieces and should last me to 2011). I will drive down with a belgian plated Fiat Kangoo and cross the border four times in the space of two hours. Credit will be accorded by a Belgian institution on the basis of my international salary and will be paid in installments from a Luxembourger bank. That's Europe for you.... and it ain't even half done yet!

So the day will be long, the transport tiring and the assembly will take an age. Meanwhile may I point out two youtube videos that are enjoyable. The first is a Short History of the Evolution of Dance and the other is a private video of a Visit to Malta by a Spaniard.


1 commentaire:

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