Last summer my daughter and I went to Ikea to buy a bookcase for her room. After that, I figured we’d go about the usual routine that we'd followed for the 500 other items we've bought from Ikea over the years: Lug it home, drag it into the living room and then my husband and I would argue over who had to put it together.
So what a surprise when I came home the next day and found that my daughter’s then-boyfriend had assembled the entire thing, installed the drawers and carried it into her room. They’re no longer together, but I still think of his willingness that day to tackle the Kallax shelf unit—and its 67 bolts, 45 wooden pegs and tiny Ikea wrench. It was an act of pure love.
But many Ikea stories don’t end happily. In fact, a trip to the Swedish retailer will often test a relationship. How long can you wander through the seemingly endless maze of Klippan loveseats and Färgrik mugs with your partner before you have a screaming match and end your day with a silent meatball dinner?
So now Ikea would like to use its products to help mend relationships, whether they’re with your spouse, partner, child or friends. In a new ad campaign called “Retail Therapy,” the furniture retailer pairs commonly searched relationship questions in Sweden with some of their products that could “fix” the problem.
"Because life evolves every day and everything, yes everything, can get better," Ikea writes on their site.
1. Does your partner snore? Get the daybed with three drawers and two mattresses (for him, not for you).
2. If your fights go deeper than that and you're not sure where you stand with your partner, there’s a corkscrew cleverly named, “Why Men Can’t Open Up,” and a memo board titled, “He Can’t Say He Loves Me.”
4. For the newly-weds, get the "How to Stay Married," a stainless steel frying pan with a 25-year guarantee.
5. If you're a single parent, try cooking up romance with “How to Get a Girl to Like You” (a stainless-steel range) or pick up a bed tray named “How to Know If He Is Interested” and see if he brings you your coffee and eggs the morning after.
6. Ikea even has ideas for managing your kids when they’re not hanging out at their life-saving, in-store babysitting haven Småland. Get their attention by banging on a colorful tambourine named, “My Children Don’t Listen To Me,” or pull them off their devices with the help of “My Son Plays Too Much Computer Games” (a pair of scissors). I know this one is to imply that you’re encouraging creativity, but I couldn’t help but think that some parents would see this as an invitation to stab their screen-obsessed kids.
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7. Then there’s the Google search that I’m all too familiar with, “My Daughter Is Out All Night,” which is the name given to a disco ball with an LED light. Maybe if we had a fun disco ball, my daughter wouldn't want to go out all night. Really, it’s a cute pairing, but I’m guessing it only came about because Ikea doesn’t make a GPS tracker that you can drop into your teen’s purse.
8. If sometimes you just feel like you're not being heard, transform into a queen with the "My Family Doesn't Respect Me."
9. And then go ahead and take that long shower with the "I Don't Get Enough Me-Time."