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Thursday, February 10, 2005


Flat-pack violence

How strongly do you feel about self-assembly furniture? Strong enough to go to a midnight store opening? Strong enough to queue for six hours to get in? Strong enough to stab another customer?

Last night's
riot at IKEA in Edmonton, north London, is one of those news stories that makes you wonder what sort of society we now live in.

No-one I know views a trip to IKEA with any enthusiasm and I've always regarded a visit as one of life's unpleasant necessities, not ameliorated by the cafeteria menu (will that be nine Swedish meatballs or fifteen Swedish meatballs?).

Not everyone shares this cynicism, apparently. The
BBC reports:

One man was stabbed near Ikea's newest store and several people were hurt in the crush as thousands flocked to its midnight opening.

Nine ambulances went to the Edmonton store, north London, after reports that up to 20 people were suffering from heat exhaustion and minor injuries.

Bargain-hunters even abandoned their cars on the A406 north circular causing "severe traffic" problems, police said.
Such was the enthusiasm that the store had to close after just 30 minutes.

An Ikea spokeswoman said its flagship store, the biggest in England, had to close because of an "unforeseen volume of customers".
We live in a society with an unprecedented choice of social and cultural activities, so I am at a loss to understand this unbridled passion for flat-pack furniture. The violence, however, is easier to explain.

... trouble flared when queue-jumpers got into the store past some customers who had been waiting outside since about 1800 GMT.

The news that some people were prepared to defend to the death their place in a queue is reassuring. It shows that there are still some standards of which we British can be proud. After all, look at how the foreigners behave.

Last September three men were trampled to death in a rush to claim vouchers when IKEA opened its first store in Saudi Arabia.

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