With Easter holidays upon us, what better time could be had than going to IKEA and playing hide-and-seek?
Crouching behind a CACTACEAE potted plant. Lurking underneath a LERHAMN table. Camouflaging yourself with a KORNFIBBLA cushion cover.
The hiding places are endless in the Swedish furniture stores, with their open plan layouts turning entire buildings into gigantic living rooms of convenient alcoves and childlike playtime.
Now, though, the flatpack giant is stamping out all traces of the games in its stores over safety concerns. The Netherlands were the first to announce the outlawing of every child’s favourite passtime this month. The decision was made in the wake of a flashmob-style game last summer, which saw hundreds of people descend upon a Belgian store to track down each other.
“It’s hard to control,” admitted IKEA Group spokeswoman Martina Smedberg to Bloomberg . “We need to make sure people are safe in our stores and that’s hard to do if we don’t even know where they are.”
At the time, 32,000 people had signed up via Facebook for a similar event at the chain’s Eindhoven store, 19,000 had signed up for one in Amsterdam and another 12,000 were registered to participate in one at the Utrecht outlet.
“Sometimes it’s fun just to do some childish things,” De Rijck, an event organizer based in Antwerp, commented, noting that people hid everywhere from inside fridges to underneath stuffed toys in an attempt to avoid discovery.
Australia has since announced on its Facebook page : “As many of you may have heard, there are a couple of large hide-and-seek games being planned for IKEA stores in Australia. While the prospect of seeing many of you trying to camouflage yourselves among the meatballs has its appeal, we are unfortunately unable to host or support these games.
“Due to the level of interest these games attract we would not be able to guarantee everyone’s safety and the threat this poses to our co-workers, customers and game participants is just too great.”
They followed the announcement with the following instruction leaflet:
All of which means that those hoping to visit IKEA in the coming Easter break and play their own game of hide-and-seek will likely be stopped by IKEA staff members. Presuming, of course, that they can find you.