A Summer Day in Beijing’s IKEA | Elephant Vlog

For those of you inside China's GFW, you can watch it here(腾讯视频) or here (Bilibili)


Ladies and gentlemen - drumroll please -  our first ever Vlog is finally here!

Gotta be honest with you - me and Yan have been planning to make videos for quite some time now. Over the past several months, we've been recording snippets of our lives with a camera, and learning how to turn those random clips into interesting, honest Vlogs. Finally, after a long period of exploration and hesitation (we are, in the end, so NOT camera person by nature...), our first video is officially outtttt!  (*drumroll again, please?*)


Now let's talk about the video.


Having not been to the Beijing IKEA for quite several years now, me and Yan went in this August with two missions in mind: 1) to purchase some cuddly cushions for Yan's new apartment, 2) to find out whether, as English medias have reported, Chinese people are REALY sleeping in IKEA.


The result?

We didn't find any cushion to our fancy, but we did stumble upon a lot of snoozing heads inside the store. Tons of people went in not to buy anything, but to lay down, to chill and to even picnic with their own snacks on displayed beds, sofas and chairs. 


We left IKEA that day feeling very complicated: on one hand, we felt deeply ashamed and angry by those peoples' disrespectfulness towards public space, on the other hand, part of us were also emphatic about their situations. It was, in the end, a brutally hot summer day; with so many children in vacation and so little space in their homes (we all know the situation of Beijing's houses don't we...), surely they needed a place to hang, somewhere bigger, cooler, and ideally even with free Wifi to kill the day. It wasn't the "right" thing to do, but what else could they do? That's the question that lingered in our minds for a very long time.


Anyways, we really hope you'd enjoy this tiny little Vlog, and share your thoughts & suggestions by commenting below. Me and Yan are still learning about this whole video thing, the shooting and editing might not be top-notched, but we have one clear, consistent goal in mind: to record real stories about today's China, starting from our own lives.


Thank you so much,




4 thoughts on “A Summer Day in Beijing’s IKEA | Elephant Vlog

  • October 19, 2017 at 6:49 am

    You guys are touching on something that I (and, I think, a lot of other people, but perhaps especially people coming to China from an outside perspective) think a lot about.

    On one hand, I feel like Chinese, in my experience, tend to be extremely polite in some situations and, seemingly, very inconsiderate (at least based on Western ideas of being considerate) in others.

    The differences seem largely based on context. In most interpersonal, direct interactions among people who are familiar with each other there tends to be a lot of consideration most of the time–you could say, among an ‘in-group’ of people that have some level of 关系, some level of relationship. In situations without any relationship–i.e., in public–consideration often seems, well, largely absent. This applies to things that many Westerners would consider basic respect for others and shared public spaces–littering, cutting in lines (or not lining up at all), pushing and shoving, lack of personal space, ignoring signs/rules/traffic laws, smoking pretty much everywhere, listening to loud movies/games/music without headphones in public, talking loudly in public, etc.

    I should say, this is based on my own experiences and the experiences of my friends and the people I talk to–I haven’t done any sort of formal or academic comparison of how often these kinds of behaviours can be observed in China as compared to, say, the U.S. or another country, and I also don’t want to imply that everyone in China is inconsiderate in public situations all the time–that’s definitely not true. But those kinds of behaviours do seem, from my experience, to be more common in China than in other places I’ve been too. It could be that there are inconsiderate people everywhere and China just has more people and a higher population density, so the inconsiderate behaviour seems more common while in reality the prevalence is the same when differences in population are accounted for. But, as with what you show in your video with people ignoring the announcement over the intercom at IKEA, there does seem to be a cultural aspect at play here, too; I don’t think it’s just a factor of population size and density, though I could be wrong about that.

    Still, the same people that might seem inconsiderate in public places or with people they don’t have relationship with, might seem very considerate in other situations where there is some level of personal relationship. There have been several times over the last three years that I’ve been in China where people I know and think of as polite, considerate people, do things in public places (like littering, cutting in line, etc.) that make me feel very confused–similar, I think, to what you guys describe feeling after your trip to IKEA.

  • November 22, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Brilliant girls. I’m really shocked to see how people behave in Ikea there. We go to Ikea a lot in the UK and we would be kicked out if we behaved like that. Keep on making the films.

  • December 4, 2017 at 6:30 am

    well there’s no such thing in Shanghai’s IKEA fyi lolll

  • January 16, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    Thanks for this IKEA vlog. I was living in Beijing shortly after the largest IKEA in Asia opened there in 2006. My girlfriend and I spent several lifetimes there and it was heartening in a way to see that little has changed. Things change so rapidly in today’s China, but it gave me some strange comfort that the people sleeping and eating on the furniture displays were still abundant. One interesting twist was the store’s delivery method. It wasn’t easy but there were unauthorized delivery guys hanging on the fringes of the exits who would allow you to ride with them as they delivered your goods for a bargained fee.

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