Wednesday, November 24, 2004

'How to survive the Systembolaget'

Ever been hopped up on God juice? Nick has. While I chomped on a Prince cig and stayed close to my roots, my comrade-in-arms passed up on a snoot of the 27 year old scotch and headed straight for the holy water. True to form, he brought the swank Ardbeg Room down at 60:- a mug... savoring every last crown no doubt.

If you've ever been anywhere in Sweden after 5 p.m., you know my plight - and you know my kind. Once that damn System Bolaget closes, silent hoards aimlessly wander the streets looking for a cheap means to drown their sorrows. Unlike Ontario where the LCBO is regularly open until 10pm, the Swedish government booze shop keeps bankers hours and charge double... all the while oozing of that famous Swedish 'efficiency'. "Want a four pack of domestic? That's 70:- shitface." That's if you can even find the place.

The name itself should make boozers tremble. It is the 'system' after all and it's ready to use all that word entails to rid the land of the drink. It's strategic socio-political plan to monopolize alcohol and yet never actually open is a smart one indeed. Still it's nice to see that - like back home - the government is profiting from my addiction and depositing the cash into the general fund. When it comes time for the liver transplant and the connection to the iron lung, I - along with many Swedes - will be satisfied in knowing that not a dime more is owed to the man.

I can't wait to get back!

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