This is just an instant of a thriving national habit, you know. And I’m an avid fan of this: in China, it’s totally ok to get your take-away sandwich/cake/yoghurt and eat it at any other catering establishment. You would never get angry looks from the waiters if you were nibbling your burger in a mega-fully-packed Starbucks (and, Dios, Shanghai has the crowds), even if you were not sipping their coffee, nor would be kicked out for just bogarting a table, studying, reading, sleeping for hours or occupied two tables for only the two of you, either. The whole thing has a kind of Mediterranean/teenage don’t give a damn who cares/no sweat/world peace feeling to it; no one bothers whatsoever. Live your life, dude. Go away and let me relax whatnot. The flip side is of course when you want to sit down, holding and then gradually start shaking a tray of heavy nourishment and you while clearly see some free spots and the waiters refuse to ask those lingering punks to move their butts.
Funnily enough, though (and being such a rare story it made it to some papers) Ikea actually ran into some dilemma a few months ago, when they realized the real customers couldn’t sit down in the restaurant because most tables were occupied for the long hours buy regular elderly groups who go every day for the free coffee and treat the space as a sort of club house. So, I guess that’d marked the rubber threshold of the universal Tai-chill-out attitude of caterers here.
Ooh, just popped in my mind – as far as I remember, the Ikeas I’ve been to in Europe there are some machines that show us, through a scientific-looking glass display box, brainwashed loyal brandshippers how much strain you can put on certain pieces of furniture, like sitting down on an armchair or open a drawer etc. Bueno, here these things would be kind of redundant, see my point?
Beauty-sleepers never look back!