An IKEA in the Xuhui district of Shanghai just banned elderly singles seeking love amongst home emporium’s Swedish meatball and pickled herring-filled cafeteria.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, apparently, an elderly “illegal blind-dating group” descends upon the IKEA cafeteria, the BBC reported. With their loyalty cards in hand, the single senior citizens would enjoy a cup of free coffee and then spend the rest of their day mingling and, in a sense, speed-dating.
The group has been holding meetings in the IKEA cafeteria for the past five years, but the blind dates recently took a turn. Complaints were filed with the store about “spitting” and “quarrels and fights” breaking out between the elderly singles in the cafeteria.
Earlier this month, the store posted a “no food, no seating” sign at the cafeteria’s entrance, meant to deter the dating group. All customers will now have to buy food before they are given a place to sit. Since the sign was posted, the amount of people in IKEA's cafeteria has shrunk by nearly half, a security guard told China Daily.
Some stubborn members of the group, however, still cling to the location, for blind dates enjoyed over the cheapest item on the menu: a croissant for 4 yuan (about $0.60).
“We feel like aliens—surrounded by youngsters,” one of the group’s members told China’s state newspaper. “If there is another place in Shanghai where elderly people can gather, we are more than ready to pay twice as much and travel further."
And maybe both 30 Rock and psychologists are right: IKEA is where love goes to die.
Perhaps IKEA should consider introducing their DIY-style restaurant to Shanghai, which sounds like a much more fun first date than lukewarm cups of coffee.