April Fools Day may be an international celebration of tricks and general tomfoolery, but a good prank takes a certain amount of finesse. Spraying shaving cream on the hand of a sleeping person and tickling their face? Classic! Putting clear plastic wrap over a toilet bowl? Very disgusting, but also, what a hoot! Telling the residents of a small northern French town that an Ikea is being built there and will bring 4,000 new jobs? Maybe not such a good idea!
Yet on Sunday, Caroline Cayeux, the mayor of a French town called Beauvais, did just that. She announced the arrival of an Ikea store, something that would provide ample employment opportunities for the area, where joblessness is reportedly high.
Unfortunately this announcement was just an April Fools Day joke! Haha, get it? Hours after posting the initial joke, Cayeux followed up with an explanation that Ikea was not in fact setting up shop in Beauvais, and mentioned that her team had only reached out to Ikea about opening a store. Ikea seems to have told them that they were only opening up locations in metropolitan locations.
Caeyeux told French media that she regretted the joke, insisting that she posted the prank in order to attract Ikea’s attention and deeming it an error in communication. In a Facebook post, Cayeux said she didn’t mean to jokingly give people looking for work false hope because she had too much respect for them, before going on to describe all the employment opportunities she had secured, and mentioning that a new development outside Beauvais (presumably where the imaginary Ikea would be located) was indeed set to bring in 4,000 jobs.
Nothing says April Fools like dangling the prospect of gainful employment in front of your constituents!