A rude awakening

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Were visitors to IKEA stores in China about to be denied their forty winks?

That seemed to be the case after an article in the Beijing Youth Daily warned that the furniture retailer was introducing rules that forbids visitors to its showrooms from sleeping on sofas and beds.

Public slumbering is relatively common at IKEA outlets in China, where visitors stretch out for a quick sleep.

Workers at the store admitted to the newspaper that enforcing the rules would be a difficult as many of the snoozers are the elderly or young children, or customers who simply ignore the requests to wake up.

But the company then denied that a new directive was in effect. “I would like to emphasise here, there is no new rule to ban customers sleeping on IKEA products in stores,” a spokeswoman insisted, adding that IKEA wants its consumers to touch and try out the products.

Sure enough, a tour of stores in the Beijing area by TIME magazine confirmed that customers were still resting up. “At the 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,” the reporter noted.

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