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If you have ever feared (or daydreamed about) being locked in a business overnight, you’re probably aware that some places would be more comfortable to stay in than others. And let’s face it — if you have to be stuck somewhere, a massive store stocked with furniture, bedding and Swedish meatballs seems like a good place. A group of shoppers and retail workers tested that idea when they got stranded overnight in an Ikea store.
About a foot of snow fell during a heavy snowstorm in Aalborg, Denmark’s fourth-largest city. As a result, about 30 people — six customers plus Ikea employees and workers from a nearby toy store — found themselves advised not to travel home from the Ikea store where they were shopping and working.
Peter Elmose, the store’s manager, decided to allow customers and staff to stay at Ikea overnight. Not only did he offer his unexpected guests some creature comforts over the course of the evening and the following morning (like food — including pork, a rice pudding dessert called risalamande, hot cocoa and fresh rolls), he even walked around the beds and sang lullabies to the guests once it was time to go to sleep.
“We gathered in the canteen, where we got food and drink, and there was television,” 75-year-old Erik Bangsgaard, who was visiting the store with his wife, told Danish tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet. “There was a high mood, because there was nothing we could do about the situation. We were just really happy to get shelter.”
The stranded group picked out places to spend the night in the showroom, such as beds and sofa sleepers. But while they might have been safe, warm and cozy, it seems as though the store was not quite an ideal place to have a sleepover, after all.
“There was some music playing and they could not turn off the light,” Bangsgaard told Ekstra Bladet, “so we lay almost with a searchlight against us all night.”
That being said, the retailer’s overnight guests recognized things could have been much worse. Michelle Barrett, who works at a toy shop next to Ikea and sought refuge in the store, said it was better than sleeping in her car.
“It has been nice and warm, and we are just happy that they would let us in.” Barrett told DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation), according to the AP. “We just laughed at the situation, because we will probably not experience it again.”
Ikea was not the only place hosting people stranded by the storm. About 300 people had to spend the night at the Aalborg Airport. No word on whether the airport served Swedish meatballs.
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