Ikea and Violence - The Intrepid

Friday, September 05, 2008

Ikea and Violence

As I was waiting in an endless line at an Ikea tonight, it occurred to me that the place is almost designed to foster violent conflict. Forget road rage. With long lines, confusing passageways, missing items, disgruntled staff, and agitated customers it’s amazing that we don’t read about daily Ikea bloodbaths.

Surprisingly, Ikea stores have not been host to a great deal of violence. The most violent occurrence at an Ikea store took place at a store opening in Edmonton, England in 2005. An opening day sale encouraged thousands of people to riot and rush the doors. For security and safety reasons the store was closed 30 minutes after it opened. In the hysteria, five people were injured and taken to the hospital. While customers blamed Ikea for poor preparation, one Ikea spokesperson said: “I think it's fair to say we misjudged it and maybe were a bit naive, but some shoppers behaved like animals.”

The Ikea spokesperson may have a point. While sales often have the power to turn shoppers into mobs, Ikea seems to have the natural power to turn people into rude, angry, and violent animals.