When IKEA decided to open shop in New York City, the only space they could find to accommodate their huge storefront was in an industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn. Since many New Yorkers don’t own cars, IKEA is funding a free ferry from southern Manhattan to the IKEA building. While the ferry is free, riders are tempted with free samples (e.g., Swedish meatballs, yuck!) and few are able to avoid the IKEA allure.
A passenger interviewed for the NPR story said she was happy to have public transportation provided free by IKEA and that if IKEA could do it better, she’d be happy to take the ferry over MTA. And sure, the ferry service makes good business sense for IKEA and is convenient for shoppers. However, it is frightening to have such basic services taken over by huge retail giants. These stories always make me think of Marge Piercy’s He, She, It, which depicts a future world in which corporations control almost everything.