Another post by Glenn:

How does that song go? You know, the one about the place where everyone knows your name? I think it was the theme for Cheers… Anyways, I feel that way about IKEA. This is probably not a surprise to some of you. Most of our friends and family know that we are HUGE fans of the Swedish establishment. And I am actually quite proud of the fact that we were card-carrying members of “IKEA Family” before anyone knew what it was and there was only one machine (and now there are like three which always have a wait.) The feeling is similar to how Ruth describes how “Third Day” played at her youth camp before they were famous…

So, I was wondering why we are so fanatical about IKEA and why we visit the store at least once a month. The furniture is nice enough and affordable, even though allen wrenches can be somewhat annoying. And with a growing family, we always are looking for something to make the most out of our limited square footage. Their version of customer service is to have an orderly store that doesn’t require people asking you if you need help looking for something, which works for me. The cafeteria is decent, even though they don’t seem to run as many “Kids eat free” weekends like they used to (probably because they were losing too much money on my family). “Smaland” would definitely be a plus, since having a fun and safe place for the two older boys to hang out while we shop is a major perk. And it might sound minor to some, but their convenient bathrooms with baby-care amenities is a big deal to us.

I’ll be honest – I am somewhat skeptical and difficult to please, in spite of my cordial demeanor. Just ask Ruth. So how is it that I am so enamored with an international big-box store? I think the simple answer is that I feel like the specific perspective of someone such as myself (family-minded, on a budget, etc.) has been considered. In other words, the way in which IKEA is designed and operated me feel valued and important as a customer. The result of this feeling is that I regularly return to purchase light fixtures, dressers and cinnamon buns. I guess they got what they wanted.

I wonder how my relationships would benefit if I were to regularly and truly consider the perspective of the other person. If I were to anticipate possible needs and proactively work to meet them, how valued and important would my wife, family and friends feel? If a stranger in a yellow polo shirt can make me feel special, how much more powerful can this approach be with those that I see every day? Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves. I bet he would have run a great IKEA.


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