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For men who have a short retail attention span, an IKEA in suburban Sydney, Australia, has come up with a solution. The store set up a playroom for men with free hotdogs, pinball, foosball, video games and non-stop sports on TV.

Manland, as it was dubbed, was designed to keep husbands and boyfriends happily engaged while their companions shop. The playroom was temporary; it was installed for Father’s Day in Australia, which takes place in September. Still, the idea of providing men with a diversion from shopping -- and women a chance to shop unfettered from price, time and taste analysis by a significant other -- has given rise to plenty of opinions.

“Manland is the perfect solution for both the blokes who find shopping a chore and the ladies who are forced to drag their partners around,” says Jude Leon, IKEA Australia public relations manager.

Though the company endured some jabs from critics who objected to the stereotype that men are put off by shopping -- and worse, that they are willing to be relegated to separate quarters, a la IKEA’s kid’s area -- Mike Yost, founder of, thinks it’s a fine idea.

“They may have determined that women probably do the shopping better without a guy tagging along, whispering in her ear every two minutes: ‘We can’t afford that, we don’t need that, are you done yet?’”

Toronto retail consultant Joanne Thomas Yaccato, president of the Yaccato Group, also supports the concept. “IKEA is probably the only retailer on the planet that could get away with [creating a playroom for men],” she says. “They have the most amazing, quirky, irreverent sense of humor in a corporation.”