Stockholm: Where have all the People Gone?

Posted on July 27, 2006


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by schlockholm – the stockholm blog 

I went to the mall this morning to pick up groceries. It was past ten and there wasn’t a person in sight except the kid at the checkout. It was brilliant.

One of my personal peeves is having to negotiate the parking lot at the mall. Täby Centrum, Solna Centrum, Farsta Centrum, Kista Galleri: I’ve witnessed more aggression in these parking lots than anywhere else in Sweden and that’s including outside Stureplan on a Friday night.

Put a Swede behind the wheel of a car, tell them to find a parking space and all the aggression they’ve been saving up spills over. Most of the time Swedes are a pretty calm people; polite, quietly friendly and sincere. Behind the wheel of a car, though, things change. They just don’t give a monkeys about cutting you up to GET THE LAST SPACE. It’s survival of the fittest.

There’s rarely any noise or abuse involved but there’s nothing friendly or courteous about Swedes in the car lot. No polite nodding, no congenial smiles. It’s a rare occasion that anyone will forego their right away. In fact, everyone seems to be convinced they have the right of way- no matter what the signs say. 

I have enough stress in my life. So I usually try and avoid the mall during peak hours: like Friday afternoons or entire Saturdays. It’s far better to zip in and out on a Sunday morning whilst most people are still struggling through the morning paper.

June and July are a particular luxury when it comes to having the mall to myself. That’s because the suburb where I live practically becomes a ghost town for the summer months. All my neighbours are away except the old man who lives next door and he’s waiting to move into an apartment at the end of the month. Despite the attractions of the country, it’s worth staying in the suburbs for the summer because you get the place to yourself.

Like this morning, for instance. It took me about ten minutes to zip into the supermarket and get away again. I probably saw three people including the whole time I was there. Bliss.

Photo Credit: Row