Hello and hi. If you are anything like me, you simply adore IKEA. Yes. yes, you do. But my mind is turning the tide on IKEA. Yup. So, this happened…
Recently in IKEA’s Shanghai store, people were doing their usual shopping for: things they don’t need (nor were they able to assemble said items without a PhD). In addition to buying non-essential items, which are at best, flimsy- people were looking for love at IKEA. Yes. Yes, they are. It seems as though elderly lonely hearts in Shanghai are hoping to get ‘jiggy with it’ as they endeavoured to find love, in their twilight years. In brief, the Swedish furniture giant’s Shanghai store has seen a rather strange phenomenon of senior citizens congregating in IKEA’s cafeteria in order to socialise, find partners and occasionally drink coffee and eat Swedish meatball sandwiches. But mostly, to find love. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.
Every Tuesday and Thursdays, locals hunker down at IKEA’s cafeteria to order the most priceless thing on the menu…L-O-V-E. According to the BBC, China’s state broadcaster CCTV News reported that the elderly patrons would often buy a cup of coffee or some bread and “spend an entire day just chatting with others.” Hmm. So far, so normal. However, the elderly patrons are believed to be part of a dating community who make use of their IKEA membership cards.
But sadly, IKEA got wind of their cunning plan to find a mate along with eternal happiness and decided to put a stop to it. They did this by imposing a strict “no food, no seating” rule to discourage senior citizens from occupying canteen seats for “extended periods.” Yikes. Dear IKEA: No, just no. In a notice posted at the entrance of the IKEA Shanghai Restaurant, staff identified an “illegal blind-dating group” and accused the group of “uncivilised behaviour.” Hmm. I hardly doubt it. Unless there was pole dancing and blow-up dolls, I really don’t think there was a trace of uncivilised behaviour among these elderly folk.
IKEA later commented:”The situation has adversely affected the dining experience and security of most of our customers,” it said, adding that it had received public complaints about “spitting” and “quarrels and fights.” This was followed by, “It is having a negative implication for our canteen’s operation. From today, the restaurant will only be for people who purchase their food first.” Oh my goodness. Steady your ship IKEA. Behave. Honestly now.
The news, of course, got people on Chinese social media really rather cross, with many in support of the elderly. One post said: “They are harmless.” Another accused IKEA of “draconian measures” and said that IKEA was being cruel to elderly patrons. The same person also said, “What wrong are they doing? They are lonely and are probably hoping to find some company again. If anything, the store should practise empathy and at least sympathise with these old people.” Yes, yes and yes. I totally agree. Some of the elderly patrons even spoke out and said, “We’ve been to fast food outlets like McDonald’s – but there are barely any peers there.” And really now, who wants to go to McDonald’s anyway? The food is not that healthy and you have a clown, Ronald McDonald practically leering at you at every turn. And clowns should be avoided. Especially now. And ain’t nobody got time for that. No one has time for a leering clown. Not even me.
Tut tut, IKEA. You lot ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Let the old people have a coffee and a cuddle. Is that too much to ask for? No. No, I don’t think it is. That is all.