Ikea stores may be designed to make you feel at home, but some people are getting a little too comfy.
After an 11-year-old who was reported missing in the UK reappeared from a night spent camping out in the Swedish furniture store, UK police warned the public not to sleep over in Ikea stores. Ikea mirrored the police's warning, asking customers to please return to their own beds at night. "We appreciate that people want to create fun experiences with us, but we do not allow this kind of activity to take place in our stores," an Ikea spokesperson told Mashable.
The missing 11-year-old was participating in the "24 Hour Challenge" (or the “Sleep In A Supermarket Challenge”) that involves hiding in a large department store overnight and sneaking out the next morning. The prank first caught on in 2016, when at least 10 unsanctioned sleepovers were discovered in Ikea stores across the world, The Guardian reported.
A video of two Belgian YouTubers' overnight stay went viral, proving that hiding in wardrobes until Ikea staffers leave for the night leaves you with the whole store to yourself. Before the store reopened in the morning, they once again hide in a wardrobe until customers began shopping.
While completing the challenge may elicit social media attention, both Ikea and the police have tried to make it clear that once the stores close, all customers are expected to leave. The South Yorkshire Police warned in a Facebook post last week that the challenge isn't only annoying, it's dangerous. Heavy items could fall and injure someone, a fire could start suddenly, and kids' disappearances often lead their parents to report them missing.
"This not only causes fear and worry for parents, friends, family and the local community," detective inspector Anna Sedgwick said in a statement, "but can also be a waste of valuable police time, which may be needed to respond to a life or death situation."
That's why it's best to only go to Ikea during its official hours. Who knows, you might even see Kate Middleton there.