Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Crime - flat packaging

Crime in Iceland is blissfully not spectacular. There are not enough people here for real badness to fester; although there is of course the occasional bleep on the radar.

This week one of the biggest story on the news is a longstanding IKEA scam that has been ongoing for at least five years and involved a group of at least five people. The set-up and the organizing is a bit elaborate for the gains involved but I guess to each his own.

The plan was such: go into IKEA, find something in a box that is cheap, strip off the long white strip with the name of the product and the barcode and place it over the same white strip of a more expensive product. Go pay for the altered box and viola, you now have an IKEA product that cost you just a fraction of the real price. But the plan did not stop there. The next step in the plan involved removing the strip with the cheaper price and taking the box back to IKEA and returning the product, now for the real price.

At IKEA you cannot get your money back unless you can provide them with the receipt of purchase. They will however provide you with a credit note that you can use for future purchases if you do not have it. So this is what this gang ended up with. Endless credit notes for IKEA.

Apparently over the years they used the credit to buy gift cards to give for presents and to shop in the grocery section for food. I do not know how familiar you are with the food selection at IKEA stores but we are not talking about an anxiety attack brought on by an overwhelming number of choices. To sum it up approximately we are talking about pickled herring, crisp bread and of course meatballs. The switcheroo took place from a couple per month to dozens per month – for at least five years. That amounts to a lot of meatballs.

There are hungry people and poor that one would understand would take such measures to get by or to better their life. Not many live in Iceland though, we have a social system that is supposed to catch you if you fall and keep those down and out from having to rob IKEA.

But the people involved in the IKEA robbery were professionals, all of whom were employed. The ring leader is a lawyer, one guy is said to be a government official and one of the women a nurse. Strange hobby if there ever was one.
And how were they apprehended? Turns out that IKEA had a new chair that was so unpopular with the clientele due to its high price that they did not sell a single one. But the inventory system showed that miraculously four had been returned. And when checked all four had been returned by the same guy. More checking showed a return pattern that called for a full-fledged investigation into the matter which eventually uncovered the whole scam.

Good news is that when all of this is taken together IKEA has announced that almost all of the depreciation in their stocks in the years involved has been explained away.

Yrsa - Wednesday


  1. Yrsa, hilarious as usual! Here in New York, we would call the lawyer who thought this scam up and bothered to carry it out a.........meatball!

  2. You need to up the entertainment quotient in Iceland, Yrsa. Obviously there is just not enough to do.

  3. Sounds like a variation on that famous Willy Sutton line : "I rob IKEA because that's where the meatballs are."