China: Around The Nation

First Ikea, now Muji: shoppers in China make themselves right at home in department store

In the mainland’s biggest city, trying out the furniture is taken to a higher level

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 February, 2017, 3:06pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 February, 2017, 3:39pm

Photos of Chinese shoppers eating and napping on a furniture displays in shops have gone viral online, according to a mainland report.

The photos captured inside Japanese apparel and housewares retailer Muji’s flagship store in China – on Huaihai Lu, Shanghai’s main shopping street – were shared on China’s microblogging platform Weibo on Wednesday.

In one photo, a man is fast asleep on a lounge chair while another man is scrolling his phone while sitting on a bean bag sofa inside the 3,438-square-metre megastore.

“I think it’s all right to sit because everyone else is sitting around,” a woman surnamed Jin told the Yangcheng Evening News, adding that she enjoyed sitting and dozing on Muji’s sofas every time she visits the store.

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A child sitting on a sofa was being fed snacks and water by his grandmother, but no Muji staff came forward to stop them, the report said.

Signs placed near the furniture read: “Only for shopping experience, please do not take a long rest.”

“Although there is a sign, it’s not placed on this sofa that I’m sitting on,” said another woman, surnamed Wang, who had been reading a magazine on a Muji sofa for half an hour.

“No one will stop me,” she added.

A member of staff at Muji said the company tolerated people sitting or resting briefly on the sofas and beds, but they would ask the customer to move on if another customer showed interest in trying the furniture before buiying it.

“Sometimes people sleep for a very long time, but there is nothing we can do except to keep reminding them to remind them not to,” the employee said.

The Post sought a comment from Muji, but did not hear back from them by publication time.

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These photos reminded netizens of photos constantly showing Chinese shoppers sleeping in the furniture giant Ikea’s stores in different branches around the mainland, which caught the attention of media outlets overseas in Australia, Britain and the Untied States in 2016.

On the comment section of the article, one internet user wrote: “It’s not that bad, when I see children playing and adults chatting and sitting around on Ikea furniture, I think it adds value to the ‘at home’ feeling that the showroom is trying to convey.”

But, commented another: “The respect the shop gives to its customer has been abused by uncivilised people.”