I was shopping at Ikea last week for a set of kitchen knives as a gift for a loved one who’s knives are all blunted from hacking through chicken bone. I had some trouble finding them until a staffmember pointed me to a large display where knives were shown behind glass. Below there was a message from Shanghai authorities saying that in order to guarantee security during the Shanghai World Expo 2010, customers would have to display an ID to be recorded at the store before being allowed to purchase a knife.
I purchased two Slitbar knives, got my ticket and went to pick them up in the back of the store. As I waited in line, I thought about how the policy might be improved. Registration is all well and good, but why only high-quality knives? Is there some sort of forensic test that can tell authorities which specific knife was used to hew through hordes of shrieking tourists? Also, why only Ikea? I can still buy knives on the street, and some of them are giant cleavers that seem strong enough to lop heads off. In fact, if it came to combat, I’d much prefer a Chinese cleaver, which is more like a short-handled axe, than a single-sided vegetable slicer with a rounded point and no shearing guard.
In fact, there are other Ikea products that would be far more dangerous in the hands of terrorists. And given their attractive, minimalist Swedish design, endearing names, and competitive price point, I believe they should also be swept from the shelves.
1. DEKA curtain wire, suitable for garroting victims, then hanging them from the included clips. Similarly, the GANGBAR system should be restricted for its name alone.
[draft, do not publish]