Securing a Mega-Store's Opening

New Sacramento Ikea store pushes the limits of opening day security and safety coordination

In 2003, Ikea's suburban Philadelphia store in Conshohocken, Pa., created mile-long traffic jams. Ikea tried to help on its Web site by pointing customers to alternate routes through neighborhoods, prompting angry residents to complain to local officials about the traffic surge on their streets.

And last November, shoppers headed for a 3-day-old Ikea in Stoughton, Mass., backed up Friday afternoon freeway traffic for more than five miles. State police shut down one gummed-up offramp because of safety concerns.

Parking at the West Sacramento Ikea was no easy chore Friday but there have yet to be any major traffic backups - although today could be the busiest day yet, officials said.

While there have been no traffic jams or arrests, there has been some action.

Friday afternoon officers unlocked a car after two children - a 2-and 3-year-old - worked together to lock Mom's keys in the car. After the younger child, who was playing with the keys while sitting in the car seat, locked the doors, the 3-year-old closed the door.

Luckily the trunk was open, allowing an officer to crawl through and open the door.

Customers on Friday, unaware Sweden-based Ikea was picking up the tab, said the security seemed excessive.

"There are just tons of security here. The entire police force seems to be here from at least three counties," said Davis resident Caron Dunn.

Trey Pitsenberger of Garden Valley escaped without buying anything other than a plate of salmon. He was, however, impressed with the police presence.

"There seems to be an awful lot, maybe overkill," said Pitsenberger, "You don't expect riots unless some crazy Swedes come by."