Ikea: Gypsy haters?
Are you a traveller? Chances are, you won't be going to an Ikea store anytime soon after it was reported that 'your kind' aren't welcome. Astonishing, huh?
And this is exactly what Luke Massey found out when he paid a visit to the Valley Park outlet in South London. Arriving at the store with his girlfriend and mother in a camper van, one security guard challenged them, asking if they were Gypsies and, if they were, they wouldn't be allowed on-site.
Ikea is saying that they're not being prejudice, but rather, that they're protecting their business interests. Luke Massey said: "We were just aghast and my partner said 'What? Are you serious?' We argued with him there for about a minute before he said 'OK go on', it was like he was convinced we weren't gipsy so we could go on. I know this kind a camper van is slightly unusual, but it is not exclusively used by the travelling community."
The guard in question was caught on tape and said: "A lot of them are coming in similar cars. If you had said yes, I wouldn't have let you into the premises," adding: "We are stopping them because they are coming in and taking things of our loyal customers, that is why I'm here in the car park."
Massey added: "Even if they have had problems with travellers using their electricity supply or parking there at night it doesn't justify the racial profiling of customers at the front door. It is not acceptable, I'm disgusted."
Garry Deakin, the Ikea store manager at Croydon, defended the stance, saying: "Over recent months the travelling community in the Croydon area have been attempting to access the customer car park to set up their mobile homes. (It) not only has an impact on our customers' shopping experience, but also poses a health and safety risk due to the build up of human and animal waste."
"After discussions with both the local traveller liaison officer and Croydon Council, Ikea Croydon implemented preventative procedures to secure the car park, including a security officer to patrol the entry to the car park to prevent the mobile homes entering the car park."
What do you think?