Ikea Shoppers In Reading Furious After Taking Several Hours To Exit Its Car Park

'You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.'

Shoppers have claimed it was “easier to get out of Europe” than Reading’s newly opened Ikea store, with people waiting three-and-a-half hours to exit its multi-storey car park.

The flatpack furniture chain opened its doors for the first time in Berkshire last week with the most eager of shoppers camping outside for 27 hours for the chance to be the first to bag a bargain.

However, leaving the store, seemed almost as difficult as getting in with social media awash with pictures of frustrated shoppers grid locked in the store’s multi-level car park on Sunday.

Shoppers took several hours to get out of Ikea's carpark on the opening weekend of their new store in Reading
Shoppers took several hours to get out of Ikea's carpark on the opening weekend of their new store in Reading
Alan Diaz/AP

Ikea later closed its car park in a bid to help motorists already stuck in 26C heat, exit. Staff were also pictured delivering water bottles to those trapped in their cars.

Cameron Bell, 16, claims to have spent longer waiting to leave the car park than he did shopping.

He told the Evening Standard: “The checkouts in the shop were fine, but the car park was chaos.

It was easier to get out of Europe than the #IKEAReading carpark... @IKEAReading @IKEAUK

— Firthy (@firthy76) July 17, 2016

“We spent one hour in the store and two and a half and hours trying to get out of the car park. Others were around three-and-a-half hours.”

Lisa Rayment wrote on Facebook: “Great shopping experience but getting out if the car park is proving tricky. If we had been put on the ground floor, we would of been out by now. Bye bye sunny Sunday.”

James Stark added: “The shop took 70 minutes to go round but the car park was a joke!!!! At this rate we’re going to spend more time in the car park than the shop !!!! I shall never come again! Well, it took us over 1.45 to get out of the car park. I think its the last time I’ll be coming here.”

Johanna Heuren, IKEA Reading Store Manager confirmed to the Standard that there was a “delay with regards to customers” exiting the carpark, but said the number of visitors to the store was in line with previous opening weekends where “our traffic management plan worked efficiently as planned”.

Heuren thanked customers for their patience and said Ikea was investigating the cause of Sunday’s delays.

Police were called to help with the traffic problems.

Thames Valley Police told the BBC that officers: “Spoke with Ikea management and gave advice due to the impact on the local road network.

Adding: “Police have limited powers to direct traffic on the highway in the absence of an emergency or a traffic regulation order.”

Motorists had been warned to expect disruption and Ikea had put 40 “traffic guards” in place. It also spent £4m on new junctions and road widening to ease congestion.

West Berkshire Council reportedly also spent £900,000 on the junction from the A4, which leads into the store, to “ensure traffic flows as smoothly as possible”.

#ikeareading nothing has moved in 20 minutes #getyouracttogether pic.twitter.com/uGFSAGmLNr

— Special Agent 006 (@MingMong006) July 17, 2016

Car park floor 1, IKEA Reading .... Can we have water please. Also please put something on news/twitter warning people not to come here.

— Jessica Sarson (@jessicasarson) July 17, 2016

Just got back to our car after an hour at lunch. Queue has moved about 30 ft in that time. #ikeareading #ikeageddon pic.twitter.com/Ujb2Z6Wz1v

— Special Agent 006 (@MingMong006) July 17, 2016

#ikeareading should be renamed the Hotel California. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.......

— Special Agent 006 (@MingMong006) July 17, 2016

#ikeareading staff went to Sainsburys and bought trolley loads of water for drivers caught up in #ikeageddon pic.twitter.com/0crKpV3q35

— Special Agent 006 (@MingMong006) July 17, 2016

More water on the way #ikeareading #ikeageddon pic.twitter.com/xzXxZhOGET

— Special Agent 006 (@MingMong006) July 17, 2016

@MingMong006 Hi, The store is aware of this issue and are dealing with this as quick as they can-Leanne

— IKEA UK Support (@IKEAUKSupport) July 17, 2016

Prisoners of #IkeaReading for the last 1 1/2 hours. Way to go. pic.twitter.com/BaNYZycxiC

— Samuela Mazzitelli (@TravellingDays) July 17, 2016

#ikeareading I have escaped! Would ask about a refund for my Daim cake defrosting, but I'd have to visit the store again for it.

— Andrea S (@ToryCatLady) July 17, 2016

Bet the shoppers at #ikeareading tryin to leave the car park wish they could do this @getreading pic.twitter.com/73aeXGBzxn

— MotorVehicleMovers™ (@mvmoxford) July 17, 2016

Shocking scenes in the IKEA carpark this afternoon https://t.co/s2zDt7NN0U

— Get Reading (@getreading) July 17, 2016

But not everyone was sympathetic to the shoppers car park plight.

Only a lunatic would go to any #Ikea ever on a weekend! "BBC News - Reading Ikea: Four-hour car park delays https://t.co/FjtGr3dYjE"

— Adriana Wright (@AdrianaVWright) July 18, 2016

People moaning about being stuck for four hours in the car park at #ikeareading should be thankful they weren't stuck inside for four hours

— Marc Lawton (@russabbot) July 18, 2016

@LisaRees5000 @jessicasarson a true nightmare; forget Orlando, Baton Rouge or Turkey - horrible scenes at IKEA. #CompoClaimer

— Beetle Juice (@beetle666juice) July 18, 2016

You'd have thought IKEA was no longer a novelty in the UK, but apparently not! https://t.co/yv5m3xHT5N

— Graham Soult (@soult) July 18, 2016

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