Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday in Stockholm

What I don't like about Stockholm is Saturday.

I had to work today. I went to my workplace, and left by 5:30 pm. I needed to buy a loaf of bread at Gateau. Bread is in general not very good in Stockholm, and outside the city center there are essentially no bakery. It's impossible to walk a bit in your neighborhood to buy a tasty loaf. Gateau's grand blanc is one of my few favorite loaves. But I have to visit Gallerian, a shopping center at the heart of Stockholm.

By the time I arrived, it was past 6 pm. Two girls were busy closing down the shop. I saw three leftover grand blanc loaves in the showcase. But they just told me, "We are closed."

If you live in Stockholm, working on Saturday just makes you feel more miserable.

Small-sized retail stores close at 4 pm. The state alcohol monopoly seller Systembolaget even closes at 3 pm (to discourage alcohol consumption). Even the department stores NK and PUB close at 6 pm. As far as I know, the shop opens until the latest is Ã…hlens City, which closes at 7 pm. What's worse, those small-sized stores (including my favorite Japanese food stores) and, of course, Systembolaget close all day on Sunday. If you need to do shopping, you have to do it on Saturday by waking up early in the morning.

This is one example of why the harder you work, the harder your life gets in Stockholm. Working too hard on weekdays makes Saturday the only day for shopping, but if you work too hard, you don't want to wake up early on Saturday, do you? If you work hard over weekdays, you don't have time to plan ahead whether to shop on Saturday. When you realize you need to buy something on Saturday, it's pretty much too late.

What's worse, it's likely that you have to do laundry over the weekend in a pre-booked time slot (see this entry on doing laundry in Sweden), because booking the laundry room in the evening on a weekday is pretty much impossible and you can't do laundry in the morning or afternoon on a weekday if you work hard.

So I've stopped working on Saturday since long before. Today was an exception, and that reminded me of how stressful life in Stockholm can be for a person in American or East Asian style.

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