Furniture retailer Ikea is facing backlash on social media after a customer accused it of exhibiting racist behaviour towards his wife.
Nitin Sethi, a journalist, tweeted on August 28 that only his wife, who is from Manipur, was checked while leaving the Hyderabad store after shopping.
Sethi said the store's staff did not stop at that.
Racist treatment at @IKEAIndia store in Hyderabad. Only my wife, from Manipur got frisked for goods she bought. No one else before us. And then all supervisory staff came to defend the racism. Great show from an 'international store'. Cheers to another usual day. #racism.
— Nitin Sethi (@nit_set) August 28, 2022
"The person who checked my wife's shopping bags, even sniggered that we had bought everything, didn't even care to reply why we were singled out ," Sethi wrote. "And the supervisors said, 'yeah call police if you want, we will deal'".
Sethi's wife, Sunita Akoijam, asked why Ikea was endorsing such discriminatory behaviour.
I was one of the many who bought stuffs at @IKEAIndia Hyderabad today. but i was the only one whose purchased items were checked one by one. if this is not #racism then what is it? the senior staffs there were far from helpful. does @IKEA endorse such behavior? https://t.co/DAeYW6hP2E— akoijam sunita (@akoi_Jam) August 28, 2022
Twitter users expressed outrage over how the woman was treated. Among those who took note of the incident was Telangana minister KT Rama Rao.
"This is appalling and absolutely unacceptable @IKEAIndia," he tweeted. "Please ensure a proper apology is issued and more importantly educate, sensitise and train your staff to respect all your customers graciously. Hope you will make amends asap (as soon as possible)."
This is appalling and absolutely unacceptable @IKEAIndia
Please ensure a proper apology is issued & more importantly educate, sensitise & train your staff to respect all your customers graciously
Hope you will make amends asap https://t.co/l84GimoIrM— KTR (@KTRTRS) August 29, 2022
Others described the incident as shameful. "Come forward & apologise for your egregious conduct," one user said.
Under fire, Ikea said all customers who "self-checkout" undergo a final check before leaving the store.
"(This is) to ensure the billing is correct and customers do not face any problems regarding double charging, repeat scanning of products etc," the Ikea India account tweeted.
But other customers disputed this.
"That’s a LIE," a Twitter user named Meera Mohanty said. "I have shopped there more than once and my purchases were never checked. And if this is true your CCTV showed ,tell us how many others had their purchases verified thus."
That’s a LIE have shopped there more than once and my purchases were never checked. And if this is true your CCTV showed tell us how many others had their purchases verified thus.— Meera Mohanty (@meeramohanty) August 28, 2022
Ikea also became the target of users' anger for referring to the incident as an "inconvenience during mandatory billing protocol".
"Most rude and escapist explanation," one Twitter user said.Another wrote: "Such a lame explanation. Been to IKEA so many times and never saw or heard it happening."