An Ikea experience

If you have ever had any doubt about the Chinese not being fully in love with things western, just visit the Ikea in Beijing on a weekend and you will believe. It also gives you final confirmation on the question about China being the most populated country in the world. It seems as if all of China descends on the Beijing outlet of this Swedish furniture house every single weekend taking no prisoners.  

IKEA Outside

It’s even larger than it looks

I need this shelving storage because it completes me as a person

The header is, of course, a joke, but in all jokes there is a kernel of truth. And a big kernel it is on this particular occasion. When you see the modern generations of suave but consumption-crazy Chinese flocking to Ikea as if it was a church on Sunday you will start to wonder what it is they are looking to find here. Granted, Ikea does a fantastic job marketing their moderately priced products but this does not explain the religion like devotion some of these folks seem to bring with them. The real sad part is that traditional Chinese furniture is also really pretty but it seems as if it has to be the Knut solution and in white.

Ikea inside

Make yourself at home

At least there is food

One thing bringing back some of the folks is the cafeteria serving Ikea all stars, such as Kotbullar Swedish meatballs and graved salmon. However, while people seem to be enjoying there foods the real clou is the offering of unlimited free refills on your beverages, both hot and cold. At a price of 5 or 6 RMB for the cup/glass it is one of those offers a sane Chinese person cannot refuse. I have heard of bridge clubs (or the Chinese equivalent to the western bridge club) that have moved their meetings to Ikea, arriving spot on for the opening and leaving when they got kicked out in the evening. In the meantime they consumed upwards of 20 cups of coffee, 25 napkins and at least 30ml of bathroom soap. Chinese know a good deal when they see it.

Ikea food

Note the Chinese characters on the Swedish flag

Useful Chinese words