Pencil power

(cc) on flickr by Sharkey M

Today has been spent funeral planning for Dad’s send off, we’ve discussed Dad’s wishes with him before his death, as a family since and with the priest who will be taking the service today. The next week or so will be spent pulling together a tribute/euology/speechy thang that I’ll say on the day. I discussed it with Dad the week before he died, he was quite traditional in his views and I was worried he’d tell me no but I thought I had to let him decide, but he didn’t say no. In true Bobby fashion he was pragmatic ‘Won’t make much difference to me, I don’t have to listen to ya’ and as ever ready with advice ‘…make sure it’s good, but don’t waffle on for too long’.

I’m quite relishing the challenge of pulling something together, of gathering memories, thoughts, quirks, habits and Bobby’isms. I reckon speaking it on the day will be a killer, but I want to do it, and I want someone who knows Dad to do it so he gets the proper send off he deserves.

One of the things we realised when we started reminiscing was how much of Dad’s life we don’t really know about, and how important it is to try and capture memories while they’re fresh for people. So we’ve decided to give people postcards at the funeral to scribble down a favourite memory of Dad….and what better implement to be used for such a purpose than an Ikea pencil! Dad *loved* those chubby Ikea pencils – he’d pocket a handful every time he went, nothing like a bargain….and ideal size for tucking behind your ear when working on DIY projects. I thought I’d chance my arm and get in touch with Ikea and see whether we could buy some pencils for the occasion, I decided to use the live chat and spoke with Surinder. Transcript as follows:

System (16:40) Ref2:
Surinder (16:40): Hi, thanks for contacting IKEA! My name is Surinder, how can I help?.
User (16:41): I have a rather odd request! My father died last week and we”re planning his funeral….he loved Ikea pencil”s and I wondered if it would be possible to purchase a box to use at his funeral?!
Surinder (16:44): Are these the ones that are available in the store to use for customers?
User (16:45): Yes, that”s the ones – we were hoping we could acquire some for people to use to fill out a memory postcard!
Surinder (16:46): Which is your local store please and how many are you looking for and when do you need these by
User (16:47): My local store is Bristol, the funeral is next Thursday (and it may be possible for someone to come and collect or we would pay for postage) and we”d ideally like about 100.
Surinder (16:56): I will ring the store for you, it may take a little while or you ok to wait?
User (16:57): Yes of course, thank you
Surinder (17:08): The person I need to speak will not be available for about 10 minutes, is it ok to wait or can I call you?
User (17:08): Yeh happy to wait, am online anyhow, thanks
User (17:10): Hi Surinder, I”ve just been speaking with my brother and his local store is XXX if that helps/is easier?
Surinder (17:11): Thats fine I can contact them for you aswell.
User (17:12): Brilliant, thank you – I think XXX would be easier because we actually live two hours from the Bristol store, but my brother lives around the corner from XXX. Thank you.
Surinder (17:20): When are you able to go to the store (XXX)
User (17:22): I”m sure it would be possible one evening between now and next Wednesday, or maybe at the weekend. I”m sure my brother could be flexible to suit them.
Surinder (17:29): You can go into the store anytime and speak to any co-worker and say that you have spoken to the contact centre and XXX (Marketing Manager) has authorised 100 pencils for you to have. If you have any problems please ring the contact centre on XXX and ask to speak to me. I will not be available on Friday 23/11 or Sunday 25/11. Somedays I am here til 8.00 pm
User (17:30): That”s brilliant, thank you so much. Really appreciate it. You don”t know how much my Dad would have loved that!! Thank you.
Surinder (17:31): You are welcome. Hope everythings go well for you. I am sorry to hear about your father.
User (17:31): Thank you

So there we have it, Bobby’s funeral will be complete with memory cards and his beloved Ikea pencils. An amazing piece of goodwill marketing by Ikea and a brilliant result for us. Love it.

2 thoughts on “Pencil power

  1. A lovely idea George. SUCH a good story – and I love the way you have written it up. It gives a very special “picture” of your Dad. As always, Bobby would have been very, very proud 🙂

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