Ikea spoils the fun for Shanghai pensioners

Ikea bans 'illegal' blind-dating group from store cafeteria in Shanghai 


Many are divorcees or people living alone after the death of a partner 


Ikea has banned an elderly matchmaking group from one of its restaurants in China unless it agrees to start paying up.

The Swedish retailer has told its cafeteria in Shanghai to stop anyone having a seat unless they buy food.

Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon for years, hundreds of elderly people have flooded into the restaurant to meet friends and potential partners, according to China Daily.

Many are divorcees or people living alone after the death of a partner and the café gave them a chance to meet peers free of charge.

Despite a 700-seat capacity the venue was often overcapacity, but since the change crowds have shrunk by as much as half.

The “no food, no seat” rule came into force following complaints that paying customers were unable to sit at a table themselves.

A noticeboard put up at the café entrance states the “illegal blind-dating group” is affecting the restaurant with their “uncivilised behaviour,” reports JF Daily.

Offences include “taking up seats for long hours, bringing outside food and tea, speaking loudly, spitting, and having quarrels and fights”.

"It's true that we gather here to socialize with our peers,” a retired factory worker told China Daily. “But the last thing we want is to cause trouble and become a disgrace.”

"We've been to McDonald's and KFC. But there are barely any peers there. We feel like aliens there - surrounded by youngsters.

“If there is another place in Shanghai where elderly people can gather, we are more than ready to pay twice as much and travel farther."

But the new rules have not stopped the tenacious singles from enjoying their day out. They now reportedly just buy the cheapest item on the menu; a croissant costing 4 yuan (49p).




Comments

Anonymous said…
How hard it’s the loneliness! This story describes the sad situation of elderly people in the great world cities, like Shanghai. The problem is the loneliness, and I suppose that this social problem is worse in China than in other countries because the traditional family is short: one son or neither and a lot of people have changed the residence from the countryside to big cities in a few years. So, new problems in the new sites where live a lot of elderly people who have to get use to new habits and have to fight against the main problem: the loneliness, especially when they lose their partner. I can understand that they want to meet peers free of charge, however, there is something strange in the Ikea story. First of all, it’s unbelievable that the retailer has accepted for years (!!) the behaviour of a group of rude elderly people that didn’t buy food but also spat and had quarrel. I can understand that they wanted a venue where gather and find a peer, but Ikea, obviously, is not a social club. And second, the problem had solution: they only had to buy a coffee or tea, something cheap and would be able stay in the cafeteria without problems, as they have been able to see, finally.

One final reflection: a lot of people think that in China will be the social models more important in the world in the next future, but I don’t like many of its features. José Lus professor
Graham said…
Hi José Luis,

Too often I see the elderly in a wheelchair with an assistant sat on a bench beside them and there is no communication at all. Instead of making conversation, the assistants, for most, have their eyes glued on their mobile. I find this so sad.



How hard loneliness is! / Loneliness must be so hard.

This story describes the sad situation of elderly people in the great cities of the world, like Shanghai.

The problem is loneliness, and I suppose that this social problem is worse in China than in other countries because the traditional family is small: one child (usually a son) if any and in the last few years, a lot of people have moved from the countryside to big cities.

So there are new problems (in these new places) where all those elderly people live. They have to get used to new habits / ways of doing things and have to fight against the main problem: loneliness, especially when they lose their partner.

I can understand that they want to meet peers free of charge, however, there is something strange in the Ikea story.

First of all, it’s unbelievable that the retailerfor years, has accepted the behaviour of a group of rude elderly people that not only didn’t buy food but also spat and had quarrels.

I can understand that they wanted a venue where they could gather and make friends, but Ikea, obviously, is not a social club. And secondly, the problem had a solution: they only had to buy something cheap, like a coffee or tea and would be able stay in the cafeteria without any problems, as they have finally found out.

One final reflection: a lot of people think that china will be the most important social model in the world in the near future, but I don’t like many of its features.