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Pretentious, Self-Important Toronto Man Outraged that he cannot get Service in Swedish at GTA Ikea

Pretentious, Self-Important Toronto Man Outraged that he cannot get Service in Swedish at GTA Ikea

TORONTO: Toronto writer and film maker Duncan Timothies-Herald expressed outrage today at his inability to receive service in Swedish, "the language of the great Bergman himself," at an Etobicoke outlet of the Swedish-based home furnishing conglomerate located in 32 countries around the world and best known for its cheap yet trendy furniture.

Said the disgruntled auteur, "I am absolutely speechless. This establishment plays up its Swedishness ad infinitum. I mean, everything that one sees is yellow and royal blue, the colour, of course, of the Swedish flag and of the 'Tre Kronor,' or three crowns, a symbol of Swedish heritage and tradition that represents the three crowned gods of the Uppsala, the seat of a holy gathering place in Swedish folklore, before the introduction of Christianity."

"Yet, you ask some pimpled-face sales clerk 'Du kant Svenska?' and he looks at you like you're some provincial scoundrel from the outer boondocks of northern Finland," fumed an indignant Timothies-Herald before adding that on May 7, 1697, Stockholm's most cherished building, the royal castle which was also known as Tre Kronor, burned to the ground.

"But I'm sure you already know this," concluded the aggrieved furniture shopper.

His pedantic history lesson over, Timothies-Herald then continued with his tale of Ikea outrage. "After my initial encounter with said disinterested, myopic sales lackey, I demanded to speak with the manager, who was equally unresponsive."

The sales clerk in question, 18 year-old Toronto high school student Lance Gilroy, countered Timothies-Herald's story:

"This total pompous ass poseur with a beret and a cape and a walking stick comes up to me, even though I tried to avoid him by hiding behind some lamps, and he pulls out a phrase book with a little Swedish flag on it and he tries to say something like, that sounded like he was coughing up a hairball or something," said Gilroy.

"Dude sounded like a low-rent version of the Swedish chef from the Muppet Show."…. Gilroy muttered before departing for a snack of lutfisk and ostekaka during his break in the Swedish-style cafeteria found in each Ikea location.

The Etobicoke Ikea, a 36,000,000 square foot outlet that employs 194 people and 22 Volvo-built robots, has no staff that speaks Swedish, according to store manager Mike McDougall.

"We really don't have any customers who speak Swedish, or if they do, they speak English too. Swedish isn't very widely spoken outside of Sweden, from what head office informs me," said McDougall.

Duncan Timothies-Herald reaches for a dish from his Ljurndeherdern cabinet

"How many unilingual Swedish speakers do you know in Canada?" McDougall asked rhetorically.

Timothies-Herald, who is currently working on his seventeenth novel, was unimpressed:

"How dismissive! At issue is not whether or not there is a sufficient amount of Swedish speaking clientele to justify employing dedicated Swedish staff, nor is the issue whether or not I can actually speak Swedish. It is a difficult language to master, and my accent is thick, not being a native speaker, which can make me hard to understand," he said, failing to acknowledge the irony in the final part of his comment.

What is at issue, according to this animated 'creative visionary,' is one's right to be served in the language of their choice. "By the beard of Ibsen, my language of choice is Swedish. Everything about this place is supposed to be so Swedish, but I have to be informed if the Gotheborg CD rack comes in olive green in English only? I don't think so. I am the customer."

When informed that Timothies-Herald plans to contact the Shawinigan-based federal Swedish Language Commissioner's office with his alleged grievance, McDougall refused comment, referring all media inquiries to Ikea's headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.

Posted on June 15th, 2001


 

 

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