We have not been neighbors for a while now, but we still enjoy visiting the IKEA every now and then. Recently the IKEA made the headlines. It seems that the IKEA meatballs contain some horse. I’m not really clear on what the problem is with that, but the solution IKEA comes with is to remove all meatballs from all shops in Europe.
What a shame because these balls are pretty tasty, but luckily I just bought a bag of balls just a few days ago.
The bamboo solution was reasonably successful in returning peace and quit to our home, but it was not the solution we wanted.
Prior to this solution a number of things had occurred. Discussions with the homeless person, the police would not move a finger, contacting the land lord, a letter to IKEA, investigating Ingvar, you name it. Sadly nothing proved sufficient in addressing the fundamental issues we were facing.
Apparently one of our actions did have an effect. And what an effect it was! This morning I was confronted with the solution to all our problems. A huge fence was blocking all access to the property. A big 2 meter high fence with impressive thick steel bars. Now nobody will be able to enter or exit the property. Apparently the ball started to roll and someone took his responsibility.
Sometimes a solution to a problem is so obvious and so simple that it is astonishing and makes you doubt whether the solution is real or you’re having a strange dream. This solution occurred during our adventure with the house of the richest man in the world. After contacts with our landlord, the local police and even a letter to Ingvar himself, we thought of a creative solution.
It was very easy. We bought a bamboo mat and hammered it against an open wall. This was a type of wall that allowed the homeless to see into our home and allowed us to see the homeless. The bamboo mat blocked all vision that both parties had. We placed some plants against the mat so have a visually pleasing effect.
The result: One day later the homeless person was gone. His old place was cleaned up and the nuisance was ended. There was another homeless living near the pool but this one we cannot see or notice, so we don’t mind. Problem solved.
The situation with our ‘neighbors‘ is still the same and has not improved. Myself and my pregnant wife are getting more and more annoyed by the situation and by the lack of action undertaken by the parties involved.
It was my idea to send a letter to the owner of the property where the homeless were staying but it proved difficult to find the address of the world richest person, Ingvar. I did found out he had a foundation called INGKA that is under his supervision and that controls all administrative affairs of IKEA. A foundation that is actually located in the Netherlands. To this foundation I sent the following letter.
Dear Ingvar Kamprad or representative,
Although you will surely not know me, I would like to introduce myself shortly and address an issue that effects us both. My name is Adrie Berg, and I live in Las Palmas. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting you, we are in fact neighbors. I live next door to your property in the ‘Lope de Vega’ street. We have in fact been neighbors for the last 3 years that I live in Las Palmas even though no-one lived on your property during that time.
The view of my window is over your backyard and the small path you take to enter the backyard. The access to your garden is blocked by a big iron garden door. Sadly, the last few month my home is troubled by some homeless people that have taken refuge in your backyard. These homeless are demanding that we are quiet from around 7 o’clock at night because they leave the house around 6:30 in the morning. As a result my wife is uncomfortable in using the balcony of our own home.
We have talked to the police, but they will not act until the homeless person inflicts physical harm. We have also contacted the agency whose phone number appears on the building, but they don’t really seem to care about the situation.
My wife is pregnant and this raises concern and we would like to address this situation. My suggestion is that you either fix and sell the property which is in a beautiful area, or assign someone to take care of the property. If you want I can take care of this task, but you will need to provide me with some way to enforce my power over the property to remove the homeless, and make the property livable.
Please inform me that you will take appropriate steps the resolve this situation and feel free to contact me with any doubts or questions you might have.
The question is whether this letter will ever be seen by the right person. I have my doubts and suspect it will end up unread in the trash but it doesn’t hurt to try.
The building next to us is inhabited by two homeless persons. We usually have no problems, but recently this changed. The homeless felt that some of our friends were bothering them by smoking/talking on the balcony. The homeless told our friends to be quiet (“Shut up!”), so he could go to sleep at 6 o’clock at night in the garden of our neighbors. Unfortunately he met the wrong person, a friend with a very strong character and she started a discussion with the homeless.
‘We live here and we pay rent. You don’t live where you are staying now’, was the core of her argument. The homeless quickly replied that Las Palmas was a small city and that he would me meeting us in the street.
The shouting escalated and the police was called. But they didn’t do anything. First someone had to be injured. Then our friend called the broker that was trying to sell the house (unsuccessfully because the house has been for sale at least the four years that we live next door). The broker told us the price was 1.400.000 euros. 1 million for the property, and 400.000 to make the property habitable. ‘Well, that’s just fine. We would love to have a look’, was her reply. What followed were the details. The house has a special status (Werelderfgoedlijst) and should remain mostly unchanged and the house owner is … Ingvar Kamprad!
You are probably wondering who is Ingvar Kamprad, well, this is the person who in 2004 was the richest man in the world, and in 2007 one of the 5 richest persons! He has an estimated wealth between 33 and 51 billion dollars. Not bad at all.
Our neighbor Ingvar is amongst other things the owner of the IKEA. Coincidentally our house is filled with his products. Tuesday we’ve got an appointment to visit the house. Although we are very curious to see how this works out, we await the result. Probably the homeless will (at least temporarily) be asked to look for another place to stay.
It is strange that for almost 3 years we have been living next door to the richest man in the world, without ever meeting him. It’s even stranger that the house of the richest man in the world is inhabited by people who have nothing.
Update: the story continues.