Hide-and-seek flash mob invades Swedish Ikea branch

Some 150 kids infiltrated Ikea in Karlstad in western Sweden on Friday to play hide-and-seek following a call to arms on Facebook.

Harald Linder, one of the boys behind the event, told Nya Wermlands-Tidningen newspaper that they created a Facebook event and invited their friends to join in.

But the game got a bit out of hand, among other things frightening a customer who fled through an emergency exit.

One of the participants, Gustav Danielsson said that everyone ran in “whooping and cheering” but that then “things got a little chaotic.”

Danielsson told the newspaper that they feel bad about scaring the woman, whom they would like to apologize to. “We have saved up for a small Christmas present for her,” he said.

The store’s management was less than enthusiastic about the whole affair.

“We are happy that Ikea is somewhere people want to come to and that it’s pleasurable. But since safety is important, we will keep an eye on this kind of thing in the future,” Ylva Magnusson, press officer for Ikea Sweden, told Nya Wermlands-Tidningen.

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Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price

In the run-up to what would in normal times be the festive season sales rush, Ikea has vowed to buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price
Got any pieces of Ikea furniture at home? You may be able to get rid of it and get money back. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, said Tuesday it would begin buying back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

The “Buy Back Friday” scheme, timed to coincide with the “Black Friday” pre-Christmas retail frenzy, will run from November 24th and until December 3rd in 27 countries.

“Rather than buy things you don't need this Black Friday, we want to help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy,” said Stefan Vanoverbeke, deputy retail operations manager at Ingka Group, Ikea's parent company.

To address concerns its affordable, flat-pack products encourage overconsumption and waste, the Swedish company had previously said it would start renting and recycling furniture as part of an eco-drive.

Under its buyback scheme, the group said that “anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to community projects to help those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Some countries like Australia and Canada for example are currently testing different buyback services, but BuyBack Friday will be the first time that 27 countries do this together,” the statement added.

The Swedish giant employs over 217,000 people and has more than 50 outlets. Its annual turnover is around 40 billion euros ($46 billion).

The group did not specify how it would determine the price paid for second-hand furniture and customers will receive a voucher, not cash, for their products.  

As part of efforts to reduce waste, Ikea has already begun repairing and re-packaging products in every store that have been damaged in transit, as well as allowing customers to return products – including furniture – for resale or donation to charities.