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Shanghai: sealed bags

Interesting local detail for shoppers at this Shanghai Ikea – customers can place their bags in a locker or carry them around the store in this sealed red security bag – sealed with a tag that a security guard must apply/remove.

There are three reasons why Ikea wants to restrict the use of customer bags in-store: the primary and most obvious reason is to reduce the amount of theft in a store layout that is difficult to police, and this despite the high numbers of uniformed security guards throughout the display areas; to a lesser extent reduce the risk of theft from customers who are taken in by the shear magic of the experience (or who fall asleep in the faux bedroom displays, rendering their normal paranoia in retail environments ineffective); and make it easier to spot bags that have been left behind.

Security versus retail experience a difficult balancing act for any culture.

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Shanghai: sealed bags

David Pierson of the Los Angeles Times Beijing bureau has a lovely write-up on local nuances of the Chinese Ikea experience here. Very sweet to see customers bring Tupperware boxes to take away Swedish meatballs.