Ooops! Ikea apologizes after leaving New Zealand off map

Swedish flatpack furniture giant Ikea has apologized after leaving New Zealand off a map sold in its stores, an omission that came less than a month after it announced plans to launch in the country.

Ooops! Ikea apologizes after leaving New Zealand off map
The offending map is still featured on Ikea's website. Photo: Ikea
“Ikea is responsible for securing correct and compliant motifs on all our products. We can see that the process has failed regarding the product Björksta world map,” a spokesman told the BBC. “We regret this mistake and apologize. We will take the necessary actions and the product is now being phased out from our stores.”
The offending map is still, however, featured on the company's website
The company’s embarrassing omission was first pointed out on the MapsWithoutNZ forum on the internet site Reddit, where users post examples of mapmakers overlooking the island nation. 
“Ikea's map game is not on point,” Reddit user Jibbles66 wrote posting a photo of the Björksta world map, which has nothing but empty ocean southeast of Australia. 
“Wonder if they’re going to sell these maps in the new Auckland store,” Jeremy Kitchen, another user added, picking up on the company's announcement last month that it would open in the country “in a couple of years”. 
The failure to include the country on maps has become a running joke in New Zealand, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last year launching the #GetNZonthemap video with the comedian Rhys Darby. 
New Zealanders flocked to social media to express their outrage.  
Australians, meanwhile, jumped at the opportunity to have a dig at their smaller neighbour. 
Others raised the possibility that Ikea might be correct, in a repeat of the Finland Conspiracy internet meme, where users concoct arguments to support the theory that Finland does not in fact exist. 

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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.