The Great IKEA Incident of 2016

On 31st of August at 15:00 hours, Claus Jørstad, 45 yo male of Alta Norway, claims he sustained an injury from Ikea’s Marius stool. Jørstad states his recent knee injury prompted his purchase of the stool for his standing shower. He confirms the incident occurred within minutes of bathing and discovered his left testicle became stuck in one of the eight circular cutouts on the stool’s seat. Jørstad alleges his severe pain bound him to the stool, immobile under showerhead. He adds that the discomfort compounded—after seated on stool for several minutes—when the shower water turned extremely cold. He discloses that his need for warmth was a major concern, and he attempted to reach for a hair dryer just outside of shower.

He states the leaning/pulling action for the retrieval of hairdryer assisted in the removal of his body from the seat of stool. Jørstad discloses that he endured minor physical pain/discomfort from one of his trapped testicles, the change in water temperature was ultimately needed, as it was the sole culprit in the incident’s resolve. Besides his requests to contact the manufacturer, Ikea, Jørstad declines to take further action with this incident.*

*Weeks later, Claus disclosed to the Altaposten—a newspaper located in his hometown of Alta—that the incident was not an incident at all but had all the elements to become one. During his interview, Claus explained that he “sat there and discovered all of a sudden that [the] use of the [Marius] stool could have unfortunate consequences for a man”. Cut the comedy out of the tall tale, and what remains is an eight-holed seat, posing a threat to lives and/or genitals. The safety of any naked soul who might contemplate the use of a Marius stool must take precedent.


The Marius Stool Instructions:

 Product Warning: Serious or fatal injuries can occur from the improper use of the Marius stool.  To prevent this, please follow these guidelines:


  1. The Marius stool is not designed for the disabled or the injured. Though durable and affordable, please understand the stool’s limits (tested at an undisclosed location):

    -Holds up to 243 lbs.

    -Not intended for the elderly nor used as equipment for physical therapy

                         -Incapable of emotional support

  2. The design of the Marius stool has the fully clothed customer in mind. The sleek, carved-out holes of the stool’s seat are deceivingly harmless, like convincing yourself the purchase of multiple chairs when you live alone will not make you feel even lonelier. If you are compelled to sit on a Marius stool naked, please use some protection (a bath towel, seat cushion, etc.). Get creative, but please apply the same rules used for ‘safe sex’*. If you’re compelled to throw caution to the Marius stool, you alone will be stuck with the consequences..

    *Due to Marius’ design, the male anatomy is more susceptible to injury.

    Apologies in advance for the gendered-stigma of the Marius stool.

  3. If you find yourself stuck in the Marius stool (or in life), while also submersed in cold water, please do not use electrical appliances. You put yourself at risk of electrocution, or even death. The pains a body feels in an extremely cold state can emulate the aches of a tortured heart’s: tormented by circumstance and feels as worthless as the wood pegs in an Ikea furniture assembly kit. 

    Please understand that the cold water is both your misery and salvation (a cold temperature tends to shrink skin/size of the extremity and free it from Marius’ polypropylene grip). Don’t fret--your body will eventually warm to its natural, healthy degree. Once freed, try Ikea’s ‘Ofelia’ blanket* for faster warming results.


  4. If you still find yourself stuck after several hours, we hope that you live with someone who can assist in your journey to freedom. Please be patient, do not tug, pull or irritate the extremity stuck in stool (this can cause discomfort).

  5. If you live alone, you might need to wait longer, or contemplate the meaning of a life that’s stuck in a Marius stool.

  6. Right now, the only advice to give is the same that should be given to first-time customers at any of Ikea’s retail locations:

    You aren’t lost or completely hopeless—just painfully overwhelmed. Keep busy until you reach the end. Put your head down and push on (not literally, this can cause further damage to the trapped extremity), because, just like the overwhelmingly disappointing journey of life, there is always light at the next available checkout station.  

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About the Author

Katie O'Neill is a PhD student in English Literature and Nonfiction Writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Butler University. Her essays have appeared in The MacGuffin, Word Riot, Hippocampus Magazine, and The Eunoia Review