Ikea Shang­hai frowns on el­derly daters who oc­cupy cafe­te­ria

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Sad news for el­derly lonely hearts in Shang­hai: they can no longer look for love in Ikea.

The Swedish fur­ni­ture gi­ant’s Shang­hai store has seen a strange phe­nom­e­non of se­nior ci­ti­zens de­scend­ing upon its famed cafe­te­ria to so­cialise and even find part­ners.

Lo­cals said it oc­curs twice weekly, usu­ally on Tues­days and Thurs­days.

China’s state broad­caster CCTV News re­ported that the el­derly pa­trons would of­ten buy a cup of cof­fee or some bread and “spend an en­tire day just chat­ting with oth­ers”.

They are be­lieved to be part of a dat­ing com­mu­nity, mak­ing use of their Ikea mem­ber­ship cards.

This week, Ikea put a stop to it by im­pos­ing a strict “no food, no seat­ing” rule to dis­cour­age se­nior ci­ti­zens from oc­cu­py­ing can­teen seats for “ex­tended pe­ri­ods”.

In a no­tice posted at the en­trance of the Ikea Shang­hai Restau­rant, staff iden­ti­fied an “il­le­gal blind-dat­ing group” and ac­cused it of “un­civilised be­hav­iour”.

“The sit­u­a­tion has ad­versely af­fected the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and se­cu­rity of most of our cus­tomers,” it said, adding that it had re­ceived pub­lic com­plaints about “spit­ting” and “quar­rels and fights”.

“It is hav­ing a nega­tive im­pli­ca­tion for our can­teen’s op­er­a­tion. From to­day, the restau­rant will only be for peo­ple who pur­chase their food first. ”The news has at­tracted at­ten­tion from ne­ti­zens on Chi­nese so­cial me­dia, with many in sup­port of the el­derly.

“They are harm­less,” wrote Ed Ed Chiu in a re­ply to a post by CCTV News on the pop­u­lar Chi­nese mi­cro-blog­ging Sina Weibo plat­form.

Weibo user Lee Xin slammed the move as a “dra­co­nian mea­sure” and said it was cruel to el­derly pa­trons.

“What wrong are they do­ing? They are lonely and are prob­a­bly hop­ing to find some com­pany again. If any­thing, the store should prac­tise em­pa­thy and at least sym­pa­thise with th­ese old peo­ple,” she said.

The move was crit­i­cised by some el­derly pa­trons, who spoke to lo­cal me­dia out­lets.

“We’ve been to fast food out­lets like McDon­ald’s - but there are barely any peers there,” said an 86-year-old man who went by the name of Qiu.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.