French Mayor Faces Backlash After Revealing Ikea Announcement Was A Prank

Nearly every single prank is a terrible idea. For a prank to work, it relies on either trust or hope – the power level of the prank being exactly proportionate to the level of trust or hope that the victim has in either you or what you are proposing. In executing that prank, you must completely destroy that trust or hope. You can only prank someone if they truly believe that you would not lie to them, or if they really, really want to believe the thing of which you are trying to convince them.

When the residents of Beauvais, France were told by their mayor that their modest town would be getting an Ikea, they had no reason to believe that their mayor would lie to them. When said mayor said that the arrival of that Ikea would introduce 4,000 jobs to the area, they wanted it so badly to be true. It was, of course, not true. It was an April Fool’s prank.

Mayor of Beauvais Caroline Cayeux was forced quite quickly forced to retract and subsequently apologise for the post, with the BBC reporting that she told French media that “the sense of humour was not shared by everyone“.

Having grown up in a town with roughly the same population as Beauvais, I can only imagine the ecstatic joy that would have swept the town at even the slight suggestion that an Ikea would soon be settling within our city limits (you have no idea, the town had fireworks when we got a Big W), so I can somewhat sympathise with the concerned and angered citizens of Beauvais.

Fun fact: a fun thing I learnt while writing this is that ‘April Fool’s’ in French is poisson d’avril, which, if you did French in high school, you will immediately recognise as ‘Fish of April’. What an incredible language.