While signing up for the laundry does get under my skin (see my last entry), I do have to respect the Swedish love of order and efficiency in other ways. Take yesterday for example. After getting out for my first bike ride of the year, I remembered that I really needed to have my gears checked as they weren’t shifting properly. And then I had a flat. So I went in to my local bike shop where they took my name and phone number and said they would send me an SMS when my bike was ready. That afternoon, the shop sent me the SMS together with my order number. It was that easy.
This efficiency carries over in other ways, too. There is a queue system in use for everything from the pharmacy and health clinic to the alcohol store and bank. Basically, you take a number when you walk in the door and wait your turn. It’s all very orderly. One time when I was in Helsinki, we were waiting in line for a taxi with friends outside a bar. When our taxi came up, someone else tried to take it from us – much to our disbelief and annoyance. I bet that would not have happened in orderly Sweden.
Incidentally, the SMS is also an example of how well technology works here. But my favorite example of that is the fact that for the last several years, Robert and I have filed our Swedish taxes via SMS. One year, we even filed from Australia. Now that’s efficient. And easy too.