I was at the Chinese embassy this morning to get a visa for an upcoming trip. There was a long line as I walked in and automatically I walked up to the machine to take a number. It did not work. Even though people were standing right there by the number machine, no one told me that the machine was not working. As more people came in after me, each person would try the machine and then promptly get in line. Only once did someone tell a person that the machine was not working.
Somehow, this scenario is so very Swedish to me. Without fail, Swedes know that you have to take a number to be served, whether you are at the pharmacy, the food market or the tax authority. And almost without fail, no Swede is going to let you know that something is not working. They will let you figure that out for yourself.
If this was going on in the US, you can bet that everyone would be talking about that machine and how long the lines were. Here in Stockholm, I did not hear anyone complain.