Today I am continuing my Canadian rebel yell to point out some of the things that are missing in Stockholm and a couple of things that Vancouver might be able to learn from the Swedes. Oh. And if you ever visit Sweden and find yourself wondering if all Swedes have puffy distorted lips and cheeks like chipmunks, you are just looking at a Snus user. More about that at the end of the post.
Things I Miss – AKA Great Business Opportunities (GBOs)
Take out delivery: Pizza, Chinese, Thai, anything!
This is mostly a complaint about my island, because I know that you can get Thai delivered in Sigtuna. I contemplated starting this service on Ekerö but there are not enough different kinds of take-out food for delivery.
Specific food choices:
- Real New York or Montreal bagels (not bread with a hole in it)
- Street food carts (it doesn’t have to just be hot dogs…)
Missing equipment and services:
- Slow cookers
I looked into having a slow cooker shipped to Sweden from another European country. (It is not possible.) Update Dec 6, 2012. I just saw a commercial on TV in Swedish for a slow cooker, so this has changed recently! See here.
- Oil changes for your car – convenient and cheap!!!! I can’t believe I miss Mr. Lube.
I suggested to C that he get his oil changed, thinking it would cost around the same as in Vancouver, 30 to 50 dollars (180 to 300 SEK). But no, they charged 150 dollars (1000 SEK) for an oil change! And the mechanic already had the car up for other work! Insane…
- Tow trucks. For cars.
OK this one is kinda in the middle. I am very used to seeing tow trucks in Vancouver, and everyone belongs to AAA or CAA and when you need help, that is who you call. But I have not, seriously, seen any tow trucks for cars, and when I broke down last winter, C just took out a strong rope and attached it to my car and we slowly drove to the mechanic shop. This would not work every time, but it got me thinking. We North Americans have been deluded into thinking we need to pay a fortune to get help from a professional!
Freaky Government Control or Things You Can do Here but Not There
At least you could not do these things in Vancouver 3 years ago. Maybe a couple of these have changed.
- Renew passports at the police station
- Sit back and relax. There is a centralized address database.
The post office or someone in an official capacity, reassigned my cottage to a new address. The landlord told me one address, but ever since then every official document has another address. I did not have to lift a finger to tell anyone except the pesky Canadian government who are not connected to the Swedish databases…
- You can submit your taxes by SMS message
- Female? Time for a mammogram or pap smear? No worries, you will receive a notification in the mail. It is all in that database.
- No banking fees to take out money from an ATM.
One last thing…
Snus is a little disgusting bag of spit that, I have to admit, is less disgusting than cigarettes, and certainly less invasive to the public. For some unknown reason, it is legal here in Sweden but not anywhere else in Europe. There is much controversy about this, as well as whether it is safe or not for the user. In my opinion, since there is no second hand smoke, it makes no sense that it is considered worse than cigarettes. It is also marginally less disgusting than chewing tobacco since you can keep it contained in the little spit bag.
And for those of you who read this far, or feel strongly enough about anything I said…please feel free to contribute ideas and comments to this list!