Ikea’s product names too ‘sexy’ for Thailand

While perfectly normal to Scandinavian ears, Swedish furniture giant Ikea’s product names often make Thai customers blush, sounding just a little bit too close to “sexy” slang.

Ikea’s product names too 'sexy' for Thailand

“We’ve got to be careful. Some of them can be, well, a little rude, ” said Natthita Opaspipat, a member of a team of Thai speakers employed by the company to modify terms so they can’t be so easily misinterpreted, to US newspaper the Wall Street Journal.

According to the paper, the team spent almost four years before the company’s Bangkok launch last year by scrutinizing terms to see what they would sound like in Thai before transliterating them into the Thai alphabet.

In some cases smaller adjustment to the name had to be made to avoid embarrassment.

For example, the Redalen bed frame, to Scandinavian ears suitably named after a small Norwegian town, comes just a little too close to the Thai word for petting or even oral sex.

The pot plant Jättebra, meaning really good in Swedish, is also problematic, reports the paper, as it sounds like crude Thai slang for sex.

However, according to the report, the Thai team makes every effort to keep the names as close to the Swedish words as possible.

“The Swedish… words are important because they bring a unique character to the brand,” Natthita Opaspipat told the Wall Street Journal.

The Local/rm

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Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price

In the run-up to what would in normal times be the festive season sales rush, Ikea has vowed to buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price
Got any pieces of Ikea furniture at home? You may be able to get rid of it and get money back. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, said Tuesday it would begin buying back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

The “Buy Back Friday” scheme, timed to coincide with the “Black Friday” pre-Christmas retail frenzy, will run from November 24th and until December 3rd in 27 countries.

“Rather than buy things you don't need this Black Friday, we want to help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy,” said Stefan Vanoverbeke, deputy retail operations manager at Ingka Group, Ikea's parent company.

To address concerns its affordable, flat-pack products encourage overconsumption and waste, the Swedish company had previously said it would start renting and recycling furniture as part of an eco-drive.

Under its buyback scheme, the group said that “anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to community projects to help those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Some countries like Australia and Canada for example are currently testing different buyback services, but BuyBack Friday will be the first time that 27 countries do this together,” the statement added.

The Swedish giant employs over 217,000 people and has more than 50 outlets. Its annual turnover is around 40 billion euros ($46 billion).

The group did not specify how it would determine the price paid for second-hand furniture and customers will receive a voucher, not cash, for their products.  

As part of efforts to reduce waste, Ikea has already begun repairing and re-packaging products in every store that have been damaged in transit, as well as allowing customers to return products – including furniture – for resale or donation to charities.