Wednesday, September 27, 2006

In Praise of "Swedishness"
The most ridiculous chief executive ever to preside over Saab in the US was Debra Kelly-Ennis. She did, at some point, make a speach where asserted that she was going to see to it that Saab retained its Swedishness. Boy, did we have fun with that remark.

In any event, the term came to mind as I was having an experience that was just ripe with Swedishness this past weekend. With my oldest son off to college, there was a bedroom shift and my 10 year old wanted to redecorate his room to his liking and remove much of his oldest brother's grungy style. With that, we piled into the Saab 9000 and headed off to IKEA.
At the end of our shopping day, we were replete with bedding, a mattress, pillows, lamps, a chair, Swedish cookies, and loads of all that neat IKEA miscellaneous stuff you just can't find elsewhere--in all we had two shopping carts and one flat cart loaded. To the unititiated, it would have seemed impossible to get all this home. But there in the Swedish IKEA parking garage, standing in my Swedish clogs before my Swedish Aero and its huge trunk, plus a Swedish Thule roof carrier, the goods were all swallowed with room to spare and the four of us rode home in Swedish comfort.

I am always so impressed that a country of less than nine million inhabitants (about the same as North Carolina) can give us so much neat stuff. Not just Saab, Thule and IKEA. But also Volvo, Scania, Ericsson, Electrolux, Hasselblad, Husquavarna, Sandvik and many more. They don't just produce stuff--they produce the stuff you want because it's infused with that je ne sais quoi. Must be that....Swedishness.

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