Police Shut Down Mass Game of Hide and Seek at IKEA Store in Scotland

September 2, 2019 Updated: September 2, 2019

Police in Scotland had to intervene to stop a game of hide and seek involving thousands of people at an IKEA store in Glasgow on Aug. 31.

Officers responded to reports of random people showing up at the store and concealing themselves in cupboards, fridges, and beds.

According to LADbible, more than 2,000 people had confirmed their attendance and a further 10,000 confirmed they were “interested” in an unofficial Facebook event that has since been taken down.

However, some of the participants reportedly posted comments in the discussion section, claiming police were turning away anyone who only appeared to be interested in playing hide and seek.

“People are stopping everyone who ‘looks like they are here for a game of hide and seek,'” Lewis Phillips commented, according to The Scotsman.

The paper reported the organizers had planned for the game to start about 3 p.m. local time and did not appear to seek prior permission from the store management.

“To the person who said they phoned the store, this event is not organized by IKEA and they now won’t let people in,” one Facebook user commented.

Police confirmed with The Scotsman that five officers were sent to the business and stayed until closing time at 8 p.m. The store also called in more security personnel.

The store’s management defended the move, explaining there were safety concerns with allowing thousands of people to play.

“The safety of our customers and co-workers is always our highest priority,” IKEA Glasgow Store Manager Rob Cooper told LADbible. “While we appreciate playing games in one of our stores may be appealing to some, we do not allow this kind of activity to take place to ensure we are offering a safe environment and relaxed shopping experience for our customers.”

Hide and seek lovers have occasionally been spotted at IKEA’s larger warehouses across continental Europe either hiding in fridges, under beds, or even in large blue shopping bags, according to The Scotsman.

The unusual fad is believed to have begun at an IKEA store in Belgium during 2014, before it spread to the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, where more than 32,000 people registered their attendance for a game in Eindhoven.

The organizer behind the Belgium game explained the store is an ideal location for hide and seek because it resembles an “extremely large living room.”

“Sometimes it’s fun just to do some childish things,” the organizer told The Scotsman. “We played hide and seek the whole day. It was really exhausting but so much fun.”

IKEA’s head office admits it is “hard to control” such mass events.

“We need to make sure people are safe in our stores and that’s hard to do if we don’t even know where they are,” an IKEA spokesperson said, according to the paper.