It turns out the Great Ikea Crackdown of 2015 was greatly exaggerated.
For Ikea, adapting to the Chinese market has meant embracing the fact that customers quite like to lounge in the store, taking enthusiastic advantage of the comfy beds and free air-con. But earlier this week, state media shocked the capital by reporting that the Swedish retailer planned to stop shoppers from sleeping in display rooms and stretching out on sofas.
News of the nascent ban spread quickly, from state media to the foreign press. (“Rude awakening” chuckled the Daily Mail.)
But an Ikea rep says there is no new policy on in-store power napping. Margaret Ma, a Beijing-based marketing manager, declined a phone interview, but in an email reply to questions from TIME, denied recent reports of a ban. “In terms of any impolite behavior that will affect other customers or cause inconvenience to other customers, our staff always stops that behavior politely,” she writes. “The measure you mentioned is not a new rule.”
Trips to both Beijing locations confirmed that loungers are still legion, and very much at ease. At the store’s Xihongmen branch, a young couple lay curled up on the lower reaches of a bunk bed, headphones in, watching TV on a tablet. Nearby, an older gentleman was relaxing on a sofa, pants high, feet up, and eyes closed. Around the corner, aunties with empty Ikea bags watched over toddlers tossing stuffed toys to and fro. Pretty much business as usual.
So if you’re a Beijinger looking for a place to unwind, Ikea is still your happy place.