Singles Mingle at Shanghai IKEA Cafeteria

Global Times reports on the swarms of middle-aged singles inundating the café at a Shanghai IKEA in search of free coffee and the loves of their lives.

“They get real noisy and take up all the seats,” Yin Lifang, a public relations officer for IKEA Shanghai, told the Global Times Tuesday. “They bother other customers, and no one can get through to buy food ….”

“We welcome our members to come enjoy a cup of coffee and the privileges that come with being part of the club, but we can’t have people taking advantage of the situation,” she said. “We’re in the business of home décor, not matchmaking ….”

“We’re trying to track down the organizer, so we can put an end to these meetings.”

Many singles, mostly in their 40s and 50s, Tuesday, however, claimed that they were unaware of who the organizer was, saying that they only heard about the meetings through word of mouth.

Whoever is responsible for the crowds has also caused additional headaches for cafeteria staff, according to Li Ya, a security guard at IKEA’s Xuhui outlet.

“The matchmaking gatherings are a pain,” he told the Global Times Tuesday. “We all dread working Tuesdays now because the crowds create a lot of trouble for us.”

For one Li’s colleagues, the pain has been quite literal. From Shanghai Daily:

Wang Chaowu, a security guard for the canteen, said members of the group often throw garbage and spit in the canteen.

They are also extremely loud and noisy, disturbing other customers. And once when a security guard tried to get them to tone things down, he was splashed with a cup of hot coffee and seriously scalded on the chest.

IKEA recently issued a notice in the canteen to remind people not to disturb other customers. It has had little effect.

Modern China throws greater obstacles in the path of true love than uncooperative furniture vendors: see, for example, Gay Marriage With Chinese Characteristics and
China’s Village of the Bachelors: No Wives in Sight in Remote Settlement, via CDT.


Singles mingle at IKEA cafeteria – Global Times
IKEA becomes life of the party – Shanghai Daily
via Adam Minter

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