A mayor in northern France has been forced to apologise after locals were told that Ikea would be creating 4,000 new jobs in their town – only to discover it was an April Fool’s joke.
Caroline Cayeux announced on Twitter and Facebook that the Swedish furniture giant would open a new superstore for Beauvais residents, bringing “dynamism and jobs”.
Many hailed her "great news" in a town whose unemployment rate, at 11 per cent, is above the national average.
Many more failed to see the funny side when the mayor confessed shortly afterwards that her message about job opportunities was in fact what the French call “un poisson d’avril” (April Fool’s).
Ms Cayeux regretted the "not very wise" joke, which went viral online.
She said that she was sorry that "the sense of humour was not shared by everyone”, and expressed hope that a new commercial development outside the town, population 54,000, would indeed bring 4,000 real jobs in the future.
Ms Cayeux said that she would have a go trying to woo Ikea but that it generally only set up around big cities.
However, many social media comments were not amused. “Gold medal for bad buzz. Respect,” wrote one.
“This is quite simply disgraceful coming from a person of your position to falsely offer even an ounce of hope to job seekers. Bravo!,” complained a second.
But not all took it the wrong way. “Thanks to your humour, everyone’s talking about Beauvais. Thank you Mrs Mayor,” wrote one shopkeeper.
Ms Cayeux, an avid social media user, confessed that the exercise was not a total success and promised: “We’ll do better next year.”
But one Twitter user said that the last laugh may yet be on the mayor, writing: "We will all vote for you in the next election… April Fool’s.”
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