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The Very Nice Box

"With the satisfying intricacy of Cozy Nesting Tables, and the twists of a Curious Dog Leash, this surprising office satire is Very Nice indeed."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

‘“STADA. Simple furniture for your complicated life.”

“Great ad,” Mat said.

“Great product,” Ava said.’

Ava is a designer of boxes at STADA, the IKEA-like mega-purveyors of minimalist furniture. STADA employees enjoy every Benefit: they sip fruity Wellness Water, attend ‘Yes And’ meetings with neg alarms for any criticisers, and colour-code their suits and email signatures by the results of their STADA personality test. Ava is a lacklustre blue (‘analytical’) and her new boss Mat Putnam a favoured ‘outgoing’ yellow.

Blackett and Gleichman have parodied capitalism’s neologisms with pitch-perfect precision: STADA employees must take control of their unruly mental health on the SHRNK app, pets are walked by strangers from Bark Bud, and Mat is a member of the questionable male mentoring group Good Guys. I smirked every time a STADA product was mentioned: favourites included the Pleasing Water Glass, Dreamy Dog Bed, Effusive Bathroom Vanity, and of course, the eponymous Very Nice Box (Ava’s Passion Project).

But this isn’t only a brilliantly dry office satire. It’s also a surprisingly heart-warming coming-of-age story with lovably offbeat characters. It’s a study of queer sexuality and power dynamics in the workplace, exploring how different people try to find healing after tragedy. And it’s an edge-of-your-seat psychological drama which asks: is bad behaviour just bad branding?

Lily Lindon

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