IKEA in Beijing

IKEA. You know IKEA. Even if you have never stepped foot into one of their mammoth complexes, you know IKEA. There is a side of me that was a little surprised that IKEA is 1) needed and 2) allowed in China. With the volume of cheap products that are produced in China, I would have thought that they would have no problem providing a domestic alternative.

I am by no means well-versed in the IKEA experience, having only been in 2-3 during the previous 20 years, all of which were in the United States. Plus, I hadn’t been in one in probably ten years. Having said all this, I thought I would know what to expect. And, for the most part, what we saw on our first trip there was, primarily, nothing out of the ordinary. A labyrinth of show rooms displaying the possibilities of every fathomable room, nook, and cranny of a home; a flow of people slowly herding themselves through the arrowed paths at one moment, and gathering in swells at the narrow turns; and Swedish meatballs (and a fair amount of other meats on sticks).

Obviously, I would have been shocked if I didn’t see several potential customers sitting on some chairs around a dinner table, fluffing the pillows while trying out a couch, hell, even falling back onto a bed to check to see if it had that perfect ahhhhhhhh feel. I did see this. And much, much more.

IKEA Showroom
People weren’t shopping as much as just hanging out.



Adult Nap Time
This guy needed to get the full feel of the bed, without the misleading aid of the comforter. Fair enough, I can get behind that. He did take his shoes off.
This guy decided that the little one needed a full nap to test out the bed.
One kid is nothing, top this…



There’s a lot going on here. The quasi-cuddling couple don’t look like they are leaving any time soon. The man watching the child in the crib. And the child wearing a diaper about to emancipate himself from said crib.

This is just small glimpse of what we saw. There was virtually no soft surface upon which a person was not draped over. It was quite a sight. Having felt the Summer heat, breathed the dense air, and seen some pictures of the apartment sizes available to the average Beijing young adult, our half-baked theory was that this was just more comfortable for them than their own living spaces. It had air conditioning, soft seats, free Wi-Fi, on-property dining, and an apparently indifferent staff.

I can’t blame them. Necessity, innovation, etc. They are pioneers. The malls and superstores took their land, and they are here to reclaim what is theirs.

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