Apparently the dream of owning a small business is the second most popular in America, just after owning a home. (Since we’re dreaming here, we can think of a dozen other things we’d rather own, like a winning Powerball ticket, but that’s just us.) So what about working for a small business? Where does that dream rank? Higher all the time, we’d guess. Even though a new survey finds that salaries paid by small-business employers are at their lowest since 2006 ($29,995, down from $32,290 a year ago) there are plenty of jobless people happy to take 30 grand if they can get it. Besides, it’s still double the $15,080 you’d make at Arby’s. (No free Roastburgers, though.)
Bad comrade, no meatball. Diminishing small-business pay is clearly an indication that firms in the U.S. are under pressure. But it could be worse. Russian small businesses are routinely squeezed for bribe money by government officials. The graft is usually wrapped up in a visit by an inspector from the police, fire or health department. The problem is so bad that Ikea has decided not to build anymore new malls in Russia. One, in Samara, has been ready for its “grand opening” for over a year but sits empty due to numerous “safety violations.” This was the last straw for Ikea, which told officials to take their red tape and Kramfors it.
Want to come up and see my Ektorp? Lots of people wonder where Ikea gets the unusual names for the stuff it sells. They’re mostly Swedish words. Furniture is named after places in Sweden, bookcases after occupations, etc. The names don’t always translate so well, as evidenced by the Fartfull workbench and the Lessebo sofa, products quickly retitled for English-speaking markets. Want an Ikea handle of your own? Check out the Swedish Furniture Name Generator.
Pet peeve of the week. Here’s a riddle much deeper than the mystery of the Klappsta. What’s the deal with those signs that say “Please use other door”? You’ve seen them, usually at a 7-11 or someplace like that. There are two perfectly good doors but for whatever reason one of them is off-limits. Other people have wondered about this as well and there are lots of answers offered, from fire codes to feng shui. None of them is satisfactory. If you have an explanation, let us know. Skarpt!