【Unlocking Word Meanings】
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. predicament / prɪˈdɪk ə mənt / (n.) – a difficult situation or problem
Example: Unruly passengers have become quite a predicament for airplane staff.
2. stretch out / strɛtʃ aʊt / (phrasal v.) – to lie down in a comfortable position
Example: Tourists love to stretch out on the sand under the summer sun.
3. cozy / ˈkoʊ zi / (adj.) – comfortable
Example: The restaurant was so cozy that she refused to leave.
4. inconvenience / ˌɪn kənˈvin yəns / (v.) – to bother, annoy, or cause trouble to someone
Example: Noisy neighbors inconvenience us every night.
5. peculiar / pɪˈkyul yər / (adj.) – not normal
Example: Some people think that sleeping with the lights on is peculiar.
Read the text below.
Ikea’s stores in China are facing a unique predicament—customers habitually come to the furniture shop to rest on display beds.
Ikea, a Swedish furniture retailer founded in 1943, is among the world’s leading sellers of high-quality but affordable furniture. Ikea extended its services to China in 1998, and its Beijing stores are among the largest Ikea branches in the world. Huge numbers of people crowd the stores daily, with customers reaching as many as 30,000.
However, many customers in Beijing come to the store not to shop, but to stretch out on beds and sofas on display. Some of the customers also reportedly leave their children asleep on the beds while doing their shopping. Others also reportedly use the display table sets to eat or study.
Some customers said that they go to Ikea because they find the display furniture cozy. Ikea’s air-conditioned store is also a great way to beat the summer heat and relax in the midst of the busy Chinese capital.
While some customers enjoy the unlikely perks that Ikea offers, others, on the other hand, think that the deeds inconvenience people who wish to buy furniture.
Previous reports said that Ikea’s management decided to issue a nationwide ban on sleeping on display furniture but Ikea’s Beijing representative Margaret Ma denied it. She said that Ikea has always disallowed behavior that may cause trouble to other customers and that it was not a new rule.
The customers’ peculiar habits gained international attention two years ago because of social media. These habits still continue to this day, but Ikea’s China sales remain strong and is among the highest in the world.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
· Should Ikea allow the abovementioned behaviors? Why or why not?
· If you were part of Ikea’s staff and you witnessed these behaviors in the store, what would you do?
· Do you believe that people should try a product before buying it? Why or why not?
· In which situations will it be difficult to try a product before buying it? Enumerate.