After the rush of interest shown in their recently proposed range of flat-pack, timber framed houses, Ikea have announced that they are planning to extend the project to include a ready-made family to go with their ready-built homes.
The iconic Swedish furniture chain is planning to offer an affordable and easy to assemble family, without "all the hassle of meeting a partner, settling down and making babies". The flat-pack family, which comes in a range of colours and sizes and in packs from only-child up to wife plus eight, can be bought separately or with a special discount if purchased with one of the new Ikea houses.
Critics have called the plans "unnatural" and have claimed that if other Ikea products are anything to go by the children are bound to fall apart before puberty and the spouses will have screws loose. Ikea have responded by saying that the families will be installed by highly trained Swedes, and that the children will come with an 18-year guarantee (35 in Italy), although new parents "will not be given a refund for ginger babies".
The scheme has been supported by religious leaders, who say it will "remove the need for all this nasty sex business", while social commentators have said it is the logical next step in a world where young people are finding less and less time for social interaction and have more and more credit cards.
Ikea say that the family packs will be available from 2009 and happily married bliss will also be available by direct debit.