Wednesday, March 26, 2014


IKEA opened this month in Amman and I enjoyed my excursion to this Swedish Superstore. The store is massive, clean, and well organized. I can see that it will change around the way Jordanians do business.

IKEA is probably the only store in Jordan in which items may be returned to the store. I’m sure there are some standards in place because I’m sure many people will use something and then bring it back. Just the fact they can do that is an enhancement and will draw more shoppers to the store. The quality is fine and the displays and showrooms are quite attractive. Of course, I like the bright colors used in the showrooms.

It has many decorative items that could enhance a church’s worship environment, like overly large vases, candles, plants, and other accouterments. I can see being a regular at this shopping venue. Even the kitchen gadgets are sturdy and at a lower price, other competitors may be forced to reduce their prices. I love that this store is here.

I am pleased with the standards of customer service that are in place. While I was sitting in the restaurant, a woman lit up a cigarette and an employee showed her where the smoking section was. Of course, she had a few more puffs before extinguishing her butt, did not leave, and left her dirty trays behinds, but it is a good start that someone is monitoring these practices. I have a feeling that Jordan is going to move towards becoming  a smoke-free environment.

My Palestinian-Jordanian friend had a lengthy discussion about Western companies who establish a corporation in Jordan. He said that Western companies ought to abide by Jordanian culture and I contend that if a company is going to exist, it has a right to employ its own standards. Of course, we were talking about cigarette smoking. I told him the company already acquiesced to the culture by installing a smoking restaurant section. They also installed air purifiers in the area so that it would suck out the harmful tobacco. The conversation had many permutations, but we both agreed that a company like IKEA is going to raise standards of service.

I like that after eating, patrons are expected to place their dirty trays on the conveyor belt. It keeps meal prices reduced and carriages are set up to help make the Do-it-yourself practice a convenient reality. Most people left the dirty trays on the table, but some actually helped out. Several people complied. It is a good example to set. I love it. Raised standards of life in a communal setting. Adhering to the laws is good and has a purpose.

I bought something at the store that I searched for in Jordan for the past one and a half years. I’m very happy.


  1. I guess westernization in the sense of introducing efficiency, health standards, etiquette, etc. can be viewed as beneficial, but it potentially carries a lot of malevolent content with it. Globalization certainly can lead to the dehumanization/marginalization of the work force and by extension weaken community ties, etc. I'm all in favor of the social democratic model of the Scandinavian countries, but it will be a longtime before that comes to much of the first world, let alone the Middle East with its anti-democratic legacy.

    1. You are right by saying that there are many problems with western commercialization and capitalism. Some of the same forces are at work here in the Middle East, just with a smaller scale of capitalism. There are many ways to look at individual examples. Many people in the Middle East boycott Starbucks on principle, but go there because it is a comfortable place to meet where you can buy a standardized cup of coffee that offers a consistent level of quality at a reduced cost. They always settle in good locations that become recognizable markers in the community. I have my own favorite independent coffeehouses but I make certain they are non-smoking venues.

      Globalization certainly has its ill-effects and one must always use caution in these models; fortunately, in this case, 400 new workers (mostly Jordanian) have jobs. They are probably not high-paying, but it offers steady employment and insurance for some. Thanks be to God that democratic ideals are in the vision of the government here in Jordan.