Police shut down massive hide-and-seek game at IKEA store over safety concerns

The trend of playing such games in IKEA stores started in Belgium in 2014 and has since become popular in Europe.

                            Police shut down massive hide-and-seek game at IKEA store over safety concerns
(Getty Images)

Everyone knows that when you enter an IKEA store, there's a good chance you're going to be spending the next few hours wandering its endless isles. If you're directionally challenged, you might even end up lost.

But true to its form, the internet decided to make a seemingly mundane activity into something everyone could enjoy: they called for people to use the sprawling spaces within IKEA's stores to play games of hide-and-seek.

Unsurprisingly, this has not gone down too well with IKEA's management, with police called to the Glasgow branch of one of its stores to stop one such event after over 3,000 people signed up on a Facebook group for the same, according to the Scotsman.

Plans were announced on the social media platform to turn the store at the Braehead shopping complex into a grand stage for a massive game-of-seek last week, though store staff quickly got wind of it and decided to put their foot down.

Not only did the store enlist extra security, but they also contacted Police Scotland, which dispatched five officers to the location.

On September 7, the day of the event, groups of youths who officers suspected were at the store only for the game were turned away. Word soon spread that the hide-and-seek was not happening, and many of the others who had signed up did not show at all.

"The safety of our customers and co-workers is always our highest priority," said Rob Cooper, the IKEA Glasgow Store Manager. "We were aware of an unofficial Hide and Seek Facebook event being organized to take place at our store today and have been working with the local police for support," he said. 

"While we appreciate playing games in one of our stores may be appealing to some, we do not allow this kind of activity to take place to ensure we are offering a safe environment and relaxed shopping experience for our customers," he added. 

It's not the first time that such a massive hide-and-seek event has been planned at one of the Swedish furniture stores either, with it becoming quite the trend in Europe in recent times after the first one in Belgium in 2014.

In March, similar event groups such as the one set up for Glasgow pulled much, much larger numbers: 32,000 in Eindhoven, 19,000 in Amsterdam, and 12,000 in Utrecht. 

IKEA bosses initially approved of the events but were forced to impose a ban in 2015 after they started getting out of control.

"It’s hard to control," said IKEA group spokeswoman Martina Smedberg at the time. "We need to make sure people are safe in our stores and that’s hard to do if we don’t even know where they are."

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