New York City too expensive? Try a room at IKEA

NEW YORK, Jan 8 (Reuters Life!) - When furniture retailer IKEA promoted its latest U.S. sale by asking customers on its Web site if they are “ready to take advantage of us,” one customer took them up on the offer in a novel way.

Mark Malkoff, 31, moved into the IKEA store in Paramus, New Jersey, for a week while his New York City apartment is fumigated because his friends’ apartments were too small to accommodate him and hotels were too expensive.

His apartment was full of IKEA furniture, according to his Web site, so living in the store would be no different -- although none of the appliances work and he is using an employee bathroom.

“I’m their house guest, so they take care of me,” Malkoff said in a telephone interview from the store where he took up residence on Monday in a 700 square foot bedroom with the approval of the Swedish retailer.

“I don’t plan a career of sleeping in stores,” said Malkoff, who last year visited all 171 Starbucks stores in Manhattan in 24 hours and chronicled it on the Internet.

If customers want to come into his room, Malkoff said he makes them take their shoes off. He has received invitations to birthday parties and bar mitzvahs and on Monday night played “laser tag” with the security guards.

On Tuesday night Malkoff, whose wife decided to stay with relatives, is planning to throw a housewarming party. He plans to stay at the store until Saturday.

“People are constantly pointing at me, like I’m an orangutan at the zoo,” he said.

Reporting by Dan Wilchins; editing by Patricia Reaney