Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places?

I just read a story that offers a sad commentary on one company’s treatment of the elderly.

At the Ikea store in Shanghai, China, management has put an end to allowing senior citizens to use its cafeteria to socialize and even find partners.

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.

Ikea put a stop to this type of behavior 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 a “match-making group” and accused it of “uncivilized behavior”.

“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”.

I’m not sure how elderly people, looking for a place to socialize, could be viewed as any sort of security risk to other customers. And if there is spitting and fighting taking place at an Ikea cafeteria, my guess is that it’s not limited to these matchmaking groups.

There has been mixed reaction to Ikea’s decision.

Some believe that Ikea should show some empathy towards these individuals, since they may be lonely and just looking for companionship. I’m not sure what it says about our world when there are lonely people in the world’s most populous country.

Others complain that it is not right that these elderly people are taking up seats all day without buying anything.

I come down firmly on the side that is against Ikea’s decision.

I think that Ikea should welcome such people to its stores, and have special events to attract more people to its stores. I think they should provide free coffee to these folks. I would think the favorable publicity from such an approach would outweigh the costs.

If it is, or becomes a space issue, then either repurpose some existing space as being just for the elderly, or add on a new space to accommodate these individuals.

I think that a company that shows respect and empathy and support for the elderly is the type of company I would support with my spending, and I think many others would feel the same way.

I hope that Ikea reverses its decision, and the elderly realize that maybe they were looking for love in all the right places after all…

A classic song from a classic movie, Urban Cowboy.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

One thought on “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places?”

  1. Wrote an article: Looking for Love in all the Wrong Faces as well as Places (have book offers, maybe one day it might make it in)! People are looking for Fellowship in general. Think that’s why Coffee Shops; too many to name they brought people together. Peter Frampton is saying that in his infomercial of what music does and I agree whole heartedly “music is healing, calming and brings people together”=YES IT DOES=common bond!
    Dietrich’s Coffee Shop in Tustin (So. California) was a great place and it brought so many people together from ALL walks of life; it was like a very warm comfortable Den/Living Room all that was missing was the Fireplace. Had a Patio in the back and one in the front and so many Bicycle Clubs would come and visit and people playing Cards and Chess, Games in general; Students from many different Colleges and playing Music and plain old Fellowship. Some guy said it, “it was a very sad, sad day when they lost the lease and the community”. What the current owner didn’t get and so many people told them NOT to change a thing; they didn’t listen, the idiots gutted the building and made it to look like a cold, sterile concentration camp place. Why would you want to attend and even to show up to such a entity? Always wanted to investigate the Owner’s background and who he hired that wasn’t for bringing people together in warm type family home atmosphere.
    The new owners even hung a Banner ‘We’re Open for Business’; they should have thought of people. Community did a Boycott and took there business elsewhere and within two years (or a little longer) they were closed (actually a lot of their stores closed that year, way too many). Recently a Woman told me, “I understand when you said, a certain place to Restaurant/Bar becomes your living room”; as it does for so many others like “Cheers” or “Becker”=eating/wells=drinking places that was the extended family for so many who don’t have such. Businesses: Why go into Business if it’s NOT ABOUT PEOPLE? IT HAS TO BE ABOUT PEOPLE!
    Power of the people, they might just Boycott IKEA and go out of Business, you never know.



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