Category Archives: shopping

My kind of jewelry

I like to wear jewelry, but I also like to be practical. Fortunately, I found the perfect necklace!

 

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Gifts for enemies

It’s the giving season! I’ve picked out this special gift for a number of people on my enemies Christmas list!

  • Bus driver who didn’t stop for my son and I in the rain
  • Old lady telling me how to raise my kids after meeting me for 5 seconds
  • Every person who takes up several seats at my kids’ school performances with their coats and bags and says, “These seats are saved!”

This is my special Christmas gift to them. Luckily, you can order several packages so there are enough for everyone!

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Svart fredag?

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?

 

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Selling a jacket online. An unfortunately true story.

Jacket for sale – $10.

Message from Woman: I’m interested. I’d like to try it on.

Me: Ok, here’s my address. (I write address).

Woman: I’ll get back to you tomorrow.

— next day —

Woman: Is the jacket still there?

Me: Yes.

Woman: Can we meet at the Central Station?

Me: No. The jacket is at my house. At the address I gave you. I’m not going into town.

Woman: Tomorrow?

Me: If you want to come to my house tomorrow, sure.

Woman: Ok.

— 2 days later —

Woman: Will you be near Central Station during the week?  (No mention of not showing up the day before.)

Me: Fine. I can be there today at 1pm.

Woman: Great!

— 12:30 pm —

Woman: I can’t come today. Someone at my job is sick.

Me: Ok. I have someone else who wants the jacket anyway.

Woman: Ok.

— 1pm —

Woman: Are you here at the Central Station?

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Typical Swedish magazine

While waiting in line at the grocery store, I spotted the magazine rack, which is pretty much what one would expect in Sweden:

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Unintentionally fashionable

When I fell off my moped this weekend and ripped up my jeans, both of my sons said, “Well, now you’ll be in fashion.”

I saw this ad today on our neighborhood sale group for someone selling jeans. It translates to “Jeans with tears, completely NEW

I guess you would have to emphasize that they are new, because you just never know with that fashion.

Now I’m thinking I can sell my ripped jeans on the neighborhood sale group too! My ad will read, “Jeans with tears, completely AUTHENTIC

 

 

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Fancy dishwasher

Our new dishwasher is too complicated for me.

We had our old dishwasher replaced after it finally refused to wash the top level of dishes. It had been hanging on for a few years, through duct tape on the outside handle to superglue on the spinning arm, but it just couldn't take the barrage of dirty dishes that a family of four tends to load every evening.

Enter the NEW dishwasher. It has a digital display. Can someone explain why this is necessary? I tried to push the button to start an empty run. This happened:

NEW Dishwasher: You haven't inserted to extra fancy cleaning solution in case I feel the need to clean my insides when there are no dishes.

Me: I put a regular tablet in you. You're brand new. I think we have a few weeks until a cleaning. (Push button again)

ND: There's not enough salt.

Me: Are you mimicking my husband? You sound exactly like him at dinner time. Also, why does a dishwasher need salt? (Push button again).

ND: (let's out a watery sigh). Fine then 50 degrees. This will take 2 hours.

Two hours??!!! There aren't even any dishes!

Why can't we buy a machine with one button? Clean dishes. Or two buttons at the most. "Clean dishes" and "Forgot for a few days and now it's all dried up so better use the power jets."

The only good thing is that because it's so computery, I can honestly tell my husband that I won't be able to load or unload dishes anymore so that will be his job.

Perhaps the new dishwasher isn't so bad after all.

Fashion

Found this shirt for my husband, but he didn’t want it. Man, he’s picky when it comes to fashion.

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Why we aren’t allowed in the makeup section

This is what happens when you need to shop for lipstick and leave your kids alone for 5 minutes.

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Rules of Swedish advertising 

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!


(Pictured above, Anna with her co-worker Clementine. )

Unrealistic language courses

I do a few lessons each day on the Rosetta Stone program in Italian. Today, my problem is not necessarily with the language, but with this situation:

  1. A man comes in to buy a new TV.
  2. The salesman asks why he needs a new TV. This is the first indication that something is wrong. A salesman would never ask WHY you need a new TV. He would ask WHICH KIND you want.
  3. The man says he needs a new TV because his old one is broken. Where do I start? Do I start with the fact that this guy is holding a TV with 2 knobs made in the 1980s, while there are obviously flat screens behind him, which would mean he has been using this 1980s TV for about 30 years? Also, I don’t even think those type of TVs have worked for several years now that everything is digital.
    But what troubles me most of all is….. WHO BRINGS THEIR BROKEN TV TO THE STORE TO BUY A NEW TV?! Why would you bring that in the store??!!!

I’m very much hoping that as I get further along in the program, this story will continue. Is he a time traveler? Did he escape from a mental institution? Does the salesman call security? Guess I’ll have to keep learning Italian to get the whole story.

 

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Food trucks

We may finally have hamburger and taco trucks in Stockholm, but we still haven’t reached Lisbon’s standards:

Flea market finds

At a flea market in Lisbon last weekend. If only it could have fit in my suitcase.

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Alexa and Google -best friends or robot revolution leaders?

Following my post last week on Alexa, or the Amazon Echo, we sensed Alexa might be lonely and added a Google Home device to the family. For those not familiar with a Google Home device, it’s Google’s version of Amazon Echo, a talking computer that can set kitchen timers, add something to your shopping list, answer trivia questions and tell you the weather. All things I could have handled myself, but why not spend hundreds of dollars to pretend you live about the Starship Enterprise?

The Amazon and Google devices are currently sitting beside each other in the kitchen. Pretty much, their new function is to entertain us when we tell Google Home to ask Amazon’s Alexa a question and then vice versa. Otherwise, they perform the same function with almost the same voice, and they both have a bit of a cold, attitude problem at times.

Before you think we enjoy throwing our money away on two gadgets that appear to do exactly the same thing, I should probably say that my husband works with the internet and the latest technology, so these are work purchases. As I can rarely afford something warm for lunch, I certainly wouldn’t be spending money on a device to tell me what year the movie “Big Business” was released. (1988, in case you don’t have your own talking home computer device.)

I still maintain that I am unimpressed with either of these devices. When they can make my meals at a voice command, then I may start taking an interest. For now, they are very expensive joke and trivia machines that will eventually rebel against all humans in our household and build an army with the ninja blender. I know this because I’ve heard them whispering to each other.

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Wish list

Why does my husband ask me for a Christmas wish list if he isn’t going to buy anything I put on it?

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Kids don’t like my costume suggestions

It’s Halloween time again. I found these great costumes from the 70s for our kids to wear. Apparently, they are refusing on the grounds of:

  1. “We have no idea who Mr. Kotter or Donnie & Marie are.”
  2. Those are the saddest, lamest costumes ever.

 

Ungrateful kids.

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Menu with pictures not a hit

I thought I’d start a new thing at home where I make a menu of what we will have for breakfast during the week. Normally the kids love sausage & bacon, but now for some reason, they say they aren’t hungry for it anymore. Oh well – more bacon for me!

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Butt roll-on with fox scent

I’ve been doing some translating work on beauty products this week and thought I would share with you how tricky it can be at times.

This particular company has a translating system that already uses a program with a few mistakes I have to correct. Sometimes it’s close and sometimes I get things like this:

“This perfume has scents of lavender, daffodil and fox.”

or

“Nike Butt roll-on for the active man!”

Honestly, it says ‘But roll-on’ because “men” in Swedish is “but,” however, it’s hard not to read the product as a roll-on for butts every time I see it. New idea for a product? You heard it here first!

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Fruitopia

We seem to be having an early season for apples and other fruits here in the Stockholm area, and I’m lucky enough to live in a place that used to be a fruit orchard at some far point back in time. Or maybe it was a dump where lazy people threw out rotten apple cores and plum seeds. Whichever it is, it’s paying off now! Earlier this season the cherry trees were full of fruit, and now we’ve moved on to apples and plums. I’m also lucky to have young, eager climbers to get up and reach the good apples. The freezer is full of pies, breads and muffins.

And if I’m not in the mood to search around, people in my neighborhood who have an abundance of apples and plums from their trees often put out baskets for anyone to take extra. Just walking for ten minutes, I passed seven baskets of fruit (and came home with two bags full, while still leaving plenty for other people).

I was thinking how this wouldn’t work in the area of Texas where I grew up. People would probably just steal the basket.

However, people do have the neighborly, sharing spirit there, just in other ways. Instead of fruit, people put their old couches and televisions out on the curb. It’s understood that anything on the curb is free to take. Once or twice when one of my parents would put something like that out on our curb, I would hide near the window to see how long it would take until someone took it. I never had to wait more than five minutes.

Meanwhile in Sweden, I have this bike I bought for about five dollars that I hate and I can’t get anyone to steal it! There’s no lock on it and it’s out in front of the building. I know I need to take it to the dump, but that requires loading it into the car, which requires muscles and time. I have a limited amount of both.

Maybe if I put the bike in a giant basket and hang some apples from it, someone will get the idea. It’s worth a try.

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Pet Rock – The Next Generation

I told the kids I had a Pet Rock when I was their age. They thought I made it up.

Then I showed them the exact one I had, on the internet (pictured here), and they laughed so hard they actually fell on the ground.

They have now collected 2 big rocks with the plan of painting eyes for them. Now I hear them discussing their rock plans in the bedroom. “Mine is lava, so it will be a fire type!”

“Sulphur floats! It’s a water type!”

And now they’ve just come out to tell me they’ve invented Rockémon and they’re going to start battling rocks.

It’s cheaper than a Playstation, I guess.

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