Tight Ass Swedes

I would normally leave the whinings about Swedish ways to either Smek This! or to The Hairy Swede, but this time I just cannot help it as I’ve also experienced how the Swedes can really be such tight asses, as grandpa in the news below experienced.

It says, “Per-Eric, 77, was forced to show legitimation to be able to buy beer.”

And so it goes that grandpappy went to SystemBolaget (the state-owned store which has the monopoly to sell alcoholic beverages in Sweden) to buy himself a case of light beer. However when he was about to pay, the cashier asked him to provide a legitimation to prove that he is at least 20 years old. (Another weird rule: it is legal here to drink yourself silly in pubs and bars when you turn 18 but you need to wait until you’re 20 before you can buy your own booze in Systembolaget.) 

Of course, our grandpappy was furious and refused to be insulted like that! The store manager came but also wanted to see his ID card. So Per-Eric just left and fortunately found another Systembolaget branch where the personnels apparently have more common sense, as he was able to get his light beer without having to prove that he is not a minor.

What happened to me was in another state-owned establishment, Apoteket, which has the monopoly of selling pharmaceuticals in Sweden. One early morning I dropped by a nearby Apoteket to buy some paracetamol. I reckoned I was the only customer so I decided not to take this little piece of paper with a number (a queue slip). I found the merchandise right away and proceeded to the cashier.

No one was there but a pharmacist sitting in a nearby table, reading some morning paper. I’m sure she must have noticed me standing there waiting. After a while, I called out and politely asked in Swedish if I may pay. Somehow irritated (maybe because I interrupted her reading the cartoons section of the paper), she retorted back that I should have taken a queue slip first before going to the cashier. Then I said, but there’s no queue here. And she said, it doesn’t matter, that’s how we do it here. So I said, Ok, shall I take one then?  She didn’t reply back and just took my payment. I took my paracetamol, and as I went out of the store, I popped two tablets directly into my mouth as my headache suddenly got worse!

There’s a saying, “the law may be hard, but it is the law.” Yes I’m all for this. But sometimes when this strict following of what’s on the paper takes over someone’s head, I cannot help notice that common sense indeed is not so common at all.

Now, if you counter me by saying “So if your country is so good, why don’t you move back there.” Then, you just lost your case not only by showing that you have the argumentative capacity of a ten year old but also by proving the point that you are indeed a tight-ass for not being able to take some criticism.


Edit 11-01-2007.

As pointed out by Rakotozafy in the comments section, this incident happened in an ICA grocery store (grocery stores are allowed to sell alcohol beverages provided it does not exceed 3.5% v/v).

My sincere apologies to SystemBolaget for barking at the wrong tree in this one. (Though there are worse incidents in Systembolaget where adult people are refused alcohol just because they happened to be in the company of someone who cannot show proper legitimation. See this link (in Swedish).)

Thanks again, Rakotozafy!

About metromogli

MOGLi - A Brown in the Land of the Blues and Blondes
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16 Responses to Tight Ass Swedes

  1. kalikå says:

    Jag tycker att han skulle tagit det som en komplimang…..det var väl längesen hade behövde bevisa sin ålder sist!!! ;o)

  2. MOGLi says:

    @Kalikå: Hehehe…That’s right! Grandpappy should have just taken it as a compliment. I always get asked for my legitimation when I buy alcohol from Systembolaget and it always annoys my friend who never gets asked for his. LOL!

  3. Rakotozafy says:

    We have to be fair though: this incident didn’t happen in Systembolaget, but in an average ICA store. Which makes everything either worse or better, I haven’t decided yet.

  4. Anna says:

    LOL! Inget fel på att vara ett litet stearinljus heller ju 😛 Allt bra med dig?

  5. MOGLi says:

    @R: Thanks for pointing out the miss! Well, in my view it definitely made the whole incident much worse!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Oooh nooo! När “svenskt” innebär det här, skäms jag sssåååå över att vara svenne. Vill sticka mer huvudet i sanden och dö. Så fast i sina rutiner och “regler”. Fyrkantiga!

  7. Smek This! says:

    I heard about this yesterday from a Finnish friend. It has been published there also. I have learnt to have a legg with me here everywhere I go. If you leave it home once, that’s when some tight-ass will ask you. No doubt about it!

  8. bluepanjeet says:

    Mogs, such party poopers. I hate people who always go by the book religiously. there are always exemption to the rule. I wonder how you were ab;e to conform yourself there. Kung ako andyan, baka makulong ako sa sobra ko reklamador.discipline is good, but being stifled is already too much. Pero siguro di naman lahat ng swedes ay ganyan.Invited ka sa 100th post ko Einstein on nov. 4Pax Et Bonum Brother!

  9. kimberly says:

    im thrilled by their taking a number system here in sweden. i think its the best thing ever…NOT!!!!Somebody should of slapped her

  10. Liberty says:

    But the case of adults not being allowed to buy alocohol in the company of a teen/kid happens in other countries too.. happened to me in the US…I like the “when the going gets tough, the tough goes shopping” saying!! 🙂 I think that’s true for me, I mean, I bought sunglasses in the end of October 🙂

  11. crackgrrl says:

    I hate those slips. And I hate standing on line. I used to love it when those drunk homeless people outside of Systembolaget at Skanstull saved up on queue slips and sold them to people who figured they could do something better with their time. Of course, “some of us” never had to pay… LOL.

  12. Agnes says:

    Haha, sverige i ett nötskal 😛 Ibland är ju vissa saker bara för skratt retande

  13. shalimar says:

    mogli i have lived in norway for a very short while i understand this state controlled shops, but the thing about scandinavian countries law is law where i live in Athens you can get away with anythingoh am here in florida darn i was asked for my id at the bar, i was mistaken for 19 years old.thank you for dropping at my page.

  14. elly says:

    hey Mowgli, normally I agree, in many cases, Systembolaget’s rules suck. But I actually approve to the idea as such. At least I would have drunken loads more as a teenager if it had been easier to get alcohol. but then, I am a Swede…

  15. cheh says:

    hah! this is silly re: granny’s case here! Super exa pala jan sa Sweden.Germany is also known with their many laws but not with that extent pati lolo hingian ng ID hehehe Grabe lol

  16. MOGLI says:

    Thanks a lot to everyone who shared their thoughts about this matter. Your comments are indeed very well appreciated!

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