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Dutch IKEA store apologizes for asking customers without a mask to wear a yellow sticker instead

ikea yellow sticker at dutch store in delft

Dutch Twitter erupted at IKEA this weekend. As local newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reports, the local IKEA branch in the Dutch city of Delft was asking shoppers to wear a yellow sticker if they were unable or unwilling to wear a protective mask, for example for medical reasons. People on Twitter and social media sites quickly drew dark comparisons to World War II. 

Tweet translation: “IKEA in the Netherlands, where you have to wear a yellow star, er, sticker on your jacket
if you don’t want to/can’t wear a protective mask”.

It all started with a tweet in which an IKEA customer wrote that you can tell IKEA when you arrive that you are exempt from having to wear a mask. In that case, the customer was told, you need to put a yellow sticker on your jacket so that others can see that you have an exemption.

Translation: “At Ikea Delft you may report when entering if you have an exemption.
Then you have to put a YELLOW sticker (made by ikea) on your jacket
so others can see that you have an exemption.
Does anyone know whether this is the case at every Ikea?
Shame on you Ikea!”

Yellow sticker at IKEA

For many people, this whole incident has very distasteful connotations. For example Twitter user Elisheva:

Tweet translation: “Ikea has just reintroduced the Yellow Star: anyone who doesn’t want to wear a mask must visibly place the yellow sticker on their jacket. This comes in hard to digest, and I can[not] describe what I am feeling right now. #BoycotIkea”

According to another, the problem is not the color, but the fact that IKEA uses the stickers at all. 

IKEA response: regret and apology

Algemeen Dagblad contacted IKEA for a response, and the store now says that they regret the incident. β€œWe regret that the stickers have evoked negative associations among visitors. It was never our intention and we therefore also apologize,” said an IKEA spokesperson. “We are sorry that it was received so unhappily.”

The stickers were completely voluntary, the spokesperson said, and they were only used at this one location in Delft. IKEA immediately stopped using the stickers after the backlash on Twitter.

The IKEA branch in Delft had introduced these stickers on May 6, for the sake of “clarity,” according to IKEA. 

“The intention was only to make it clear to both employees and customers that a customer has a medical exemption from wearing a protective mask.”

The fact that the sticker was yellow is entirely due to the fact that it is one of the well-known IKEA colors. 

IKEA finds it very regrettable that the yellow stickers triggered negative emotions in many people, the spokesperson said.

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