For many, the very thought of taking a nap at IKEA, a get-what-you-need-and-get-the-heck-out kind of retail establishment, might seem preposterous. After all, that potent blend of aggression, anxiety, and diesel-grade coffee that fuels many IKEA shopping excursions isn’t exactly conducive to dozing off in public. Most of us crash — and crash hard — after we’ve left the store.
However, in China, a country where some IKEA stores — eight of the Swedish home good behemoth's 10 largest outposts are here — double as pick-up joints for on-the-prowl elderly patrons, communal sleepy-time is increasingly part of the overall shopping experience. Chinese IKEA stores don’t exactly discourage impromptu slumber parties in its showrooms and, as a result, some folks flock to IKEA not to shop but to sleep.
IKEA spokesperson Josefin Thorell tells the Wall Street Journal:
This is a spontaneous phenomenon. Some customers who enter the Chinese stores sleep in the bed. IKEA in China does nothing to prevent nor anything to attract sleepers. But we don’t see it as a problem, we’re happy people feel at home in our stores. Certainly, it entails a little extra work for the staff, purely practically. But on the other hand, if customers try out our furniture and like it, we can sell an extra mattress or two.
And as evidenced in these photos recently snapped by photographer Kevin Frayer at an IKEA store in Beijing, heavy-eyed Chinese IKEA shoppers don’t just hit the hay on mattresses — they’ll catch z’s on couches, chaises, and even in ergonomic desk chairs with visions of meatballs presumably dancing in their heads.
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