On the West Coast of Sweden, workers at an IKEA store stumbled on a coronavirus-fighting treasure trove: 50,000 unused face masks to donate to a local hospital, according to a report by Reuters.
The masks were purchased during the bird flu epidemic and then never used. Johan Andersson is the location’s logistics chief and it was his team that found the masks. Having read that hospitals were facing a shortage of masks, Andersson contacted Sweden’s largest hospital, Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, to see if they wanted the masks.
“They were over the moon and said ‘what! Wow! Just come!’ he said. “The masks didn’t fit into my car so I had to use a company van and then load it up to the roof. It was jam-packed.”
Management at the store agreed to donate the masks right away.
“It feels great, in these times, when you read about so much unpleasantness with corona[virus] and all that, that we can show some solidarity. [I] think it’s important to do that,” he said. “We’re just happy to have been able to contribute something.”
There were 1,167 confirmed coronavirus cases in Sweden as of Tuesday (March 17), and seven people have died so far. The country’s healthcare system, like every other system in the world, is in danger of being overwhelmed by an explosion of cases.
IKEA has always tried to do things a little differently, and in February it announced that in Dubai it was going to allow customers to pay with their “time.”
The store launched a campaign that allows customers to show their Google Maps timeline to a worker when checking out to show how long it took to drive to the store.
“Before the birth of this campaign, we realized two things: time is precious today, and many loyal IKEA customers spend a significant chunk of it visiting our locations, which are sometimes away from the city center,” said an IKEA spokesperson. “We think it’s only right to reward our customers’ efforts by repaying them for the time spent reaching us. It’s our way of helping the Dubai community make the most of every minute.”