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Supermarket sleepover: Helsinki grocery invites customers to cool off Saturday night

After several weeks of scorching hot weather, a Helsinki grocery store has invited its customers to a chilled-out sleepover on Saturday.

Nainen tutkii hyllyä ruokakaupassa.
During hot weather some people linger in the cool temperatures of grocery stores just a little longer than normal. File photo. Image: Hanna Othman / Yle

Forecasters say that Finland's ongoing heat wave will take a break after the weekend, but it's still hot, causing sweaty, sleepless nights for many in the capital city.

But on Saturday some city residents will have a chance to sleep in the comfort of a grocery store's powerful air conditioning and refrigeration systems, because the K-Supermarket in Helsinki's Pohjois-Haaga neighbourhood has invited customers for a sleepover.

Shopkeeper Marika Lindfors said the idea was sparked by customer jokes.

"Customers have blurted out half-seriously how nice it would be to be able to sleep in our cool store. We've always strived to respond to customer feedback," she said.

"We've already received so many RSVPs from people saying they're coming that there won't be enough room for everyone. But we'll try to let in as many as possible," Lindfors continued.

Kati, who works at a home care centre, was assembling a salad at the supermarket's salad bar and said she thinks the grocery store sleepover is a wonderful idea.

"Here in Haaga there are many elderly people who are very hot and do not feel well. Now they'll have a chance to come cool off a bit. It's great, " Kati said.

Food safety agency OK's event

Citing instructions from city rescue officials, the store's Facebook page announced Thursday the sleepover will be limited to 100 guests. An earlier post announcing the event this week had more than 7,500 likes and was shared more than 1,700 times.

Lindfors said the practicalities of Saturday's event are still being figured out, but said questions about security and hygiene are settled.

She said items like fresh produce will be placed out of reach from the slumbering masses but other products will remain on their shelves during the event. If they get peckish during the event, slumber-party guests will be able to buy snacks, but beer sales will end promptly at 9:00 pm, per usual.

Food safety regulator Evira has green-lit the event, and now the store is discussing safety issues with rescue officials. A security guard will be onsite Saturday night, as well.

"We have an emergency plan in place and the exits are clearly marked. Before the event starts we'll go through the safety guidelines with guests so that everyone knows what to do in case something happens," Lindfors said, adding that she will also be spending Saturday night amidst the humming refrigerators, groceries and chilled-out customers.

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