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CHILDREN

Ikea gave 4-year-old girl to wrong parents

A 4-year-old girl was handed over to the wrong parents from the play area of an Ikea store in Uppsala in eastern Sweden on Sunday.

Ikea gave 4-year-old girl to wrong parents

“I don’t understand how something like this can happen,” the girl’s mother, Lena Norman, told TV4 news.

Lena, her husband Rickard, and their 4-year-old daughter Wilma had taken a trip to the popular discount furniture retailer for a day of shopping.

Upon arriving at the Ikea, the Norman’s checked Wilma into the store’s Småland play area, a common practice among Swedish families hoping to make their shopping trip run a bit more efficiently.

“We got a stamp with a number on our wrist, and Wilma got the same number stamped on her hand,” Lena told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

After making their way through the store, Lena and Rickard returned to the play area to pick up Wilma only to discover in horror that she wasn’t there.

“We couldn’t see her anywhere. We thought she was in the toilet, and several went to look. The staff showed me check in sheet and Wilma’s name has been crossed off, like the note looks when they’ve checked out a child,” mother Lena told TV4.

Panic-stricken, the parents widened their search beyond the Småland play area and began looking for Wilma elsewhere in the massive store.

Finally, they found Wilma standing pacing in the store’s entryway, just outside the play area. Her lower lip quivering, she was clutching a drawing she had made for her parents during her time in the play area.

When she finally saw her parents, she burst into tears.

“We broke down too,” Lena told Aftonbladet.

Reunited with their daughter and overjoyed, Wilma’s parents attempted to learn from their daughter what happened.

“She’s told us that someone said to her, ‘Come Wilma, your mom and dad are here’, but no one was there to pick her up,” said Lena.

The parents now believe that Wilma was checked out to another family by mistake who then didn’t realise that the 4-year-old had been released to them, leaving Wilma alone outside the play area.

“Just think if she had wandered off, if she hadn’t been standing there waiting. No one knows either how long she was waiting there,” Lena told TV4.

The store’s duty manager, Veronica Eriksson told TV4 that the incident is under investigation.

“This can’t happen. Something went wrong in the release of the child and we’re now looking into exactly what happened,” she said.

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IKEA

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.

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