Our modern age presents mankind with many opportunities to “play God”, ranging from such simple things as contraception to incredibly complex things like genetic engineering and stem cell research and it’s no surprise in an era when a President’s place of birth can become a national debate that many of these opportunities are quite controversial. Another such case popped up on my radar yesterday that I’m sure will be just as controversial, but since I’m not one to avoid controversy, I’m gonna blog about it and let the chips fall where they may.
A new Ikea opened here in Winnipeg yesterday. No longer will shoppers starving for flat-packed furniture and allen wrenches (“allen keys” for the Canadians in the audience) have to drive to Calgary to enjoy the dubious privilege of wandering along the path past rooms full of furniture and dazed husbands with panicked looks on their faces desperately seeking a way out of the maze. Nor will they have to (ahem) endure a 7 hour drive back from the Ikea in Minneapolis hunched sideways in the driver’s seat because of the unassembled wardrobe occupying the entire middle of the car. (No, I’m not bitter, not really… Yes, it was over 5 years ago, what’s your point?)
No, we now have a shiny new Ikea here in Winnipeg and the response was everything that Ikea could have hoped for. Ikea helped to feed the frenzy by offering “free to the first X customers” gifts, though this was totally unnecessary. The plan was to open the gates to the parking lot at midnight, and open the doors at the regular hour. It wasn’t a good plan, but it was a plan. What it didn’t allow for is that cars in a parking lot are not lined up according to arrival time, so the customers, not wanting to risk being customer number X+1 and missing out on the freebies, got out of their cars and lined up like civilized little lemmings outside the store.
In November. In Winnipeg.
To the customers’ credit they avoided the trampling stampede that would otherwise have resulted from a thousand people rushing the doors as they opened, but it was -15C that night as they calmly lined up in front of the store. And this is where Ikea chose to play God and fundamentally alter the human genome. Instead of allowing natural selection to have its way and letting the unprepared freeze to death, Ikea opened the doors and let them all inside where they could stay warm. They didn’t start selling early, they just provided warmth and shelter to those too eager for modern Swedish furniture to worry about survival.
The results are obvious. By saving those mindless consumers and allowing them to shop (and more importantly reproduce, though presumably not at the same time) Ikea has actively weakened the human race in the interest of corporate profits. This is far more egregious that the simple act of genetically modifying wheat to tolerate pesticide for which the agri-business industry has come under so much heat for lately, and I think the response should be scaled appropriately. I propose a full boycott of the Winnipeg Ikea from now until Christmas, and I’m going to put out a call for picketers to meet me at the store this Saturday morning. We’ll begin waving signs and chanting outside the main doors shortly after the store opens. I’ll meet you there just as soon as I pick up this really nice overstuffed armchair that I’ve got my eye on…