IKEA Asked Shoppers to Stop Playing Hide-and-Seek in Its Stores

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With its massive layout, multiple floors, and countless rooms, IKEA often feels like a playground for adults. But it’s not, and for years now, the retailer has been asking people not to treat it as such—specifically, not to play massive games of hide-and-seek in its stores.

Since 2014, people have tried numerous times to organize huge games of hide-and-seek at IKEA using Facebook. According to The Scotsman, the trend began in Belgium in 2014 and quickly spread around Europe. An event in Utrecht drew 12,000 Facebook RSVPs and one in Eindhoven drew 19,000. One game in Holland even attracted 32,000 RSVPs.

At first, certain IKEA locations were supportive of the events, and some even pitched in with extra security to help them run smoothly. But as the events grew in size and popularity, it became a real safety concern. It may sound harmless, but playing hide-and-seek among the heavy furniture, boxes, and machinery at IKEA is incredibly dangerous.

Most recently, shoppers tried to organize a game of hide-and-seek at IKEA Glasgow in Braehead. But when staff members learned about their plans, they called in extra security and contacted the police to help shut it down, The Scotsman reports. For the rest of the day, young people who looked like they were there to play rather than to shop were asked to leave.

IKEA Glasgow Store Manager Rob Cooper issued a statement about the incident and the trend in general.

“The safety of our customers and co-workers is always our highest priority. We were aware of an unofficial Hide and Seek Facebook event being organized to take place at our store today and have been working with the local police for support,” Cooper told The Scotsman. “While we appreciate playing games in one of our stores may be appealing to some, we do not allow this kind of activity to take place to ensure we are offering a safe environment and relaxed shopping experience for our customers.”

Instead of hide-and-seek, there are plenty of other games you can play at IKEA. Our favorites are “Bring Home as Many Succulents as Possible” and “Try to Narrow it Down to Just One Rug for Your Living Room.” Those are the kinds of games we can get behind.