PETALING JAYA, April 7 — Twitter users were baffled when photos of Singaporeans flocking to Ikea made the rounds on social media recently.
A new wave of panic buying broke out on the island last weekend after the government announced a month-long shutdown of non-essential services starting April 7 to contain the Covid-19 spread.
Social media users weren’t exactly sure what must-have items shoppers could possibly be stocking up on at the furniture outlet.
The photos taken at Ikea Alexandra on April 4 show crowds of people forming a snaking queue to enter the warehouse.
A few of them even brought young children along with them for the shopping trip.
One Twitter user theorised that many young couples had procrastinated with furnishing their new house and were scrambling to make it cosy in time for the shutdown.
Another said that people may have been rushing to get their hands on desks in preparation for working from home.
this was the scene outside Ikea SG today. what could the emergency be? meatballs? it’s not like Ikea sells coffins (which this crowd may well need soon).
100am donki+ntuc were like end of the world.
massive queues outside nespresso and bubble tea shops too. #firstworldproblems pic.twitter.com/4NQ59fFeKs
— Edward C. Yong ن (@infernoxv) April 4, 2020
Twitter user @boboiscrazy posted about a similar incident that took place at Ikea Tampines the previous weekend, with waiting times to enter the outlet stretching up to one hour.
Ikea Tampines need to queue one hour pic.twitter.com/EP93YzYbxU
— H U I B O (@boboiscrazy) March 28, 2020
Ikea was so overwhelmed by the crowds on Saturday that they publicly urged Singaporeans not to visit them during peak hours on Sunday and to maintain social distancing measures.
The Ikea shoppers have since been harshly criticised on social media for going out to buy what is deemed as non-essential goods.
SGAG intern Pamela Lee made a video in Singlish calling out her fellow citizens for not heeding the government’s instructions to stay home and asked if the people queueing up outside Ikea had “no furniture” in their houses.
Former nominated member of parliament Calvin Cheng said that the Ikea incident showed him that Singaporeans “do not deserve time to prepare” for the shutdown.
Rants about CB (Circuit Breaking) Singaporeans pic.twitter.com/ssFkWToVbG
— SGAG (@SGAG_SG) April 6, 2020
“What’s so urgent that cannot wait a month? Next time maybe we should announce overnight closure.
“For those who are arguing that there may be essential items like desks for working from home, I have one piece of advice: If you see a crowd, turn back.
“Nothing is more essential than your life,” Cheng wrote on Facebook.