For several years now, here in Sweden, I’ve been seeing stores advertise for “Black Friday.” It’s not the chaos of the U.S., but more regular type sales. As far as I know, nothing opens early.
The reason that I and other Americans find Swedish “Black Friday” sales ridiculous is that there is no point behind them. In the U.S., the entire country has the day off on Thursday, which leads many to also have Friday off as well.
In Sweden, we obviously don’t have Thanksgiving, so this is a normal Monday – Friday work week. They might put up lights in the city this weekend, since it’s so dark, and most things naturally kick off around the first of Advent, which makes sense.
On Thanksgiving Thursday in the U.S., almost every business is closed. There are basically no stores open either, so everyone is crowded in a house with no options but to visit with their family. When Friday comes, people are thrilled to have an excuse to leave the house.
No one here in Sweden has a day off to shop this Friday. Not to mention that Swedish “sales” aren’t all that great. Currently at the grocery store, you can get two bags of shredded cheese for 30 SEK. What’s the price for one bag? 14.50 SEK.
Can we adopt other cultural traditions from the U.S. instead? Barbecues and snow-cone stands maybe? Real nachos with actual melted cheese?
I never read the context of these articles. I pretend they are direct questions posted to me and then I answer them. On to the next headline…
A family member posted a recipe today for a Pinapple pie. The recipe was listed as being “Johnny Cash’s Mother’s Recipe.”
Why would this make the pie any better? As far as I know, Johnny Cash’s mother was not a famous cook. Also, Johnny Cash did not always look the picture of great health or “fun” eating. Just saying.
My son had a good dentist appointment this week and the dentist gave him a new toothbrush when he left. He took it out of the wrapper and slowly ran his fingers up and down, over the top.
“This is so soft. It’s like when I touch your toothbrush. It’s soft under my fingers. My old toothbrush feels like straw.”
I realized I hadn’t replaced the kids’ toothbrushes in a while. I told my son that I didn’t know his toothbrush was so hard, and that he should remind me to replace it more often.
I gave him a hug and told him he could go on ahead of me to see if his neighborhood friend was home. As I watched him run down the sidewalk, I thought about how happy I was that he didn’t have to suffer through all the problems I had at his age with my teeth. What a healthy kid. He eats well, exercises and….
Wait a minute.
“Why are you touching my toothbrush?!”
Boy 1: Are you ok with guacamole on your tacos?
Boy 2: You don’t seem to understand the meaning of tacos. With tacos, you can add what you want – meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato…
Boy 1: Yeah, but would you eat guacamole?
Boy 2: I could do it if necessary, but I just don’t see the point.
“Well kids, they might be chips and they might be cobras. How about a nice apple instead?”
I’m actually on vacation for a few weeks, so this is a scheduled post, as are any appearing the next few weeks. To keep up the blog and entertain while I’m offline, I present “Hamburgers of Stockholm.”
We’ve had a burger revolution here in Stockholm over the past 5 years and I think it’s going quite well. When I first moved here, hamburgers were sad, wilted abominations not worth moving my jaws for. But after the mighty burger uprising, where Stockholmers protested and said, “No more boring hamburgers!” while marching in the streets spraying mustard and ketchup along their path, we finally received the first of what would become many QUALITY, TASTY burgers!
Sure, they all cost the equivalent of $10 or more, but it’s still cheaper than a plane ticket to Texas.
Sometimes I think I might have a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder, but then I remind myself that there’s nothing wrong with me except the fact that I keep certain commercials in my head. Let me explain:
There was a commercial running for a while here in Sweden for a coffee company reminding everyone that you should always have coffee on hand because you never know when someone might be dropping by. Example:
So now every time we’re out of hand soap, or there’s some food in the sink, or some crumbs left on the coffee table, all I can think of is, “What if the King stops by to visit?” “What if my favorite band happens to be staying in my apartment building and comes in to use the bathroom?” And then I have to make sure everything is clean. (Having coffee is actually never a problem in any Swedish home. EVERYONE has coffee always. It’s the law.)
So it’s not my fault I’ve become obsessive about cleaning. It’s T.V.
My son recently got back from a school trip to Tallinn, Estonia where his class visited another school. A nice parent took pictures (because in 4 days my son only took one), and he included a photo of the school cafeteria lunch.
My husband thought I was a weirdo for saying that. He said, “They didn’t serve you on plates at your school?”
I said, “No, it was always rectangle plastic trays and usually rectangle food.”
Estonia, I am impressed!
Here in Sweden, advertising rules are fairly strict. No advertising to children. No cigarette or alcoholic beverage ads on tv. And no false claims, such as “Dr.Pepper is the best drink in the world!” They also took L’Oreal to court for claiming one of their products removed wrinkles, since that’s not actually possible.
I realize this is strict, but other things are more open than you would think. However, some people tend the stretch the definition of false advertising and I can only imagine how many complaints the agency maintaining these rules receives.
One such complaint was in the opinion section of the local “Metro” paper on Friday. A woman complained that a milk company had violated false advertising laws in their tv commercial because the woman in the commercial walks around a farm with the cows and says, “These are my co-workers.”
The complainer then went on to state that in no way could those cows be employees because they don’t get vacation time, pay or holidays off. Therefore the commercial should be removed from the air.
I don’t think there are any plans for that but her letter certainly made my day.
Employee benefits for cows!
Why does every news story I click have to have a video automatically start playing with the report? I just want to read what happened and move on! I don’t want or need to see the video and I always have to take the time to hit the pause button.
Today was a great example of why video news is awful – some of them run commercials before the story. I give you the screenshot of what I saw when I clicked on this story about an attempted kidnapping.
I always knew there was something messed up about Jack.
My husband and I are soon leaving on a long weekend trip to Portugal. I was able to pack for the trip 3 months ago as the temperatures between Lisbon and Stockholm differ 25 degrees. That’s Celsius of course. After 17 years of turning my brain away from Fahrenheit, I’m too tired to switch back again. Google it.
In preparing for this trip, I realized that I know nothing about Portugal except for the dangerous ‘Portuguese Man o’ War’ jellyfish, which apparently doesn’t have much to do with Portugal except that the shape looks like an old 1800s Portuguese war ship. I guess you learn something every day, though what I needed to learn was something about Portugal.
At this point, I’ve researched castles, churches, restaurants, local food, customs, etc. My husband prefers to go with the flow and research nothing, except possibly a restaurant or two. I think our traveling styles probably compliment each other. I like to know that I’m not missing anything by researching carefully before leaving. My husband likes to simply discover things he didn’t know about, which must work out great for him since I lead us to places where things are actually interesting.
When asking him if he knew what kind of food the Portuguese like to eat, he replied, ‘I know they drink wine, so we’re good.’
He doesn’t care much for seafood though, so unless the wine can take away fish taste, he might end up a bit hungry. Luckily his amazing wife, me, has done plenty of tapas, steak and pasta research. I should totally start a travel agency.
Heads up. My kids have been singing this since November. Apparently it’s getting even bigger. Warning: Extremely stupid…. but extremely catchy.
I guess what I’m trying to say is you’ve been warned. Embrace it or buy some noise-cancelling headphones.
Who do you think Sophisticated Beet Man is bringing this Christmas greeting to? If it’s Demure Carrot Woman, then he’s out of luck because she’s spending Christmas with Distinguished Onion Fellow.
We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and celebrations start with lunch at noon.
Christmas food in Sweden is ham, pickled herring, meatballs, potatoes with anchovies, small sausages and dry crisp bread.
We also drink Julmust, which is a soda is sold only around Christmas time. (Then again at Easter under the name Påskmust). I say it tastes a little like Dr. Pepper.
And of course we can’t forget glögg, which is Christmas spiced wine, served with raisins and almonds at the bottom. I would look up the traditions and meaning behind glögg, but after having a cup, I am now too sleepy to bother.