BEST PLACE TO DROP OFF YOUR KID FOR A WHILE - 2006
Anyone with children knows the grind of childcare. It's not easy getting people to look after your ankle-biters, after all. Childcare is expensive, it adds to your commute time, and sometimes childcare professionals can seem a little sketchy. Thankfully, our Scandinavian friends have come up with a solution. Ikea, turns out, offers free childcare for shoppers in their enormous Bloomington facility. In typical Ikea fashion, the facility has been given a faux-Swedish name, Smaland, and is a delight, with children frolicking through playhouses and submerging themselves under multicolored plastic balls. And if you want to head on over to the Mall of America? Well... as clever as European retailers might be, it turns out that European shoppers are cleverer. Der Spiegel reported in January that Germans have simply been dropping their children off at Ikea and leaving them there while they shop elsewhere, run errands, even go to work. Ikea, not surprisingly, frowns on this practice.