Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday, January 16th, 2006:
Buying rounds in Sweden

What I think:

It's quite uncommon in Sweden for people to go to pubs with their friends and buy rounds. Most people buy their own drinks. And if you offer to buy them a drink, they'll often look confused, and sometimes even refuse. This would mean that they'd have to buy you a drink back (mustn't be in debt with friends). Sometimes, if they do accept your offer, they don't always buy one back. I think they're sometimes in too much shock to consider returning the favour.

One of the most annoying things about this is that, when a group of four or five people come in to a pub together, instead of one person getting the drinks, you have a whole gang of people queuing at the bar giving separate orders. This is a royal pain.

I was out with my friend Johnny one night, and these two girls came in, ordered separately, and both paid with cards. And the place in question charges five kronor for orders under a certain amount. So not only did these girls waste others' time, but they also paid more for their already over-priced drinks.

I can understand it when you're in a group of six or more people (if you're with a crowd who are unlikely to drink that much), but smaller groups should see that it makes more sense to buy their drinks in rounds. It's less annoying to other punters (US/CAN: customers), it can be cheaper, it promotes comraderie - and it's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.

(I would give you today's news headlines, but I've got to be somewhere at 18:40, and there's no way I'm going to be late.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a Stockholm Syndrome article about this on The Local a while ago, with roughly the same conclusions. I was a bit surprised to read it, though, as although I have seen the whole each-person-pays-for-one-drink-with-a-credit-card thing, I've also had one person buy everyone in the party (seven people) a stor stark and a jug of shots as soon as we got into the place and before anyone could protest.

Personally, I've had mixed success buying people (i.e. friends) drinks. Overall, I'm not sure where I stand on the matter. On one hand, you certainly drink a lot more than you planned if others are buying; but on the other hand, it's a nice gesture.

I'd say it's just one of the quirks of Swedish life that you have to accept, for better or worse.

6:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The queuing up to buy separate drinks does my brain in totally. It's just entirely against the whole concept of a pub which is to relax with friends.

The other thing is quite often Swedish bars insist that you must check your coat in as you enter. What's all that about.


Andrew Robertson

8:50 pm  
Blogger Adolf R said...

Back home, one of the most serious cardinal sins is to quibble over a bill in a restaurant. In the restaurant or pub, one person offers to pay for everyone and then we all either reimburse that person in the car park, or take charge of the bill on the next occasion- be it lunch or dinner- and this even includes those who meet up for lunch occasionally but work in different companies or parts of town. If not, then we always specify separate bills when giving our orders, and even then, we sometimes end up paying together, for simplicity's sake.

On one of the first occasions that I went to an after work gathering with colleagues in Sweden, the waitress presented us with a joint bill. The total was no more than about 407,00 kr this was in 2000). There were 7 of us, three foreigners and 4 Swedes. The Swedes grabbed the bill and immediately began to ask who had ordered what and to calculate how much each person had to pay. I observed, to my consternation and eternal embarassment that one of them had pulled out a pouch filled with coins (5 kr and 1 kr) and begun to count out the money. This annoyed me so much that I exclaimed, "Oh, I'll pay the bill!" There was a shocked silence. Then the two other foreigners, who had also been ill at ease at the display, nodded, and one of them said, "oh, thanks, I'll pay you back when we get to the office." Not that it would have mattered at that point anyway. The Swedes put up a hefty objection, but I insisted. And then endeavoured to avoid ending up in a similar situation in the future, i.e., going out to dinner with quibblers. Funnily enough, I have been out with older Swedes and they do not seem to suffer from this affliction, :).

4:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a swede living in Gothenburg, and me and everyone I know always do the rounds thing. It's not always a good thing though when one guy drinks a lot faster than you, so you end up with 1 or 2 additional beers before you've finished your first. =)

4:27 pm  
Blogger Ranjit Edward said...

This is one of those things that make the swedes strange. The other night a few friends and I were out drinking. I walked to the bar to order more and paid the outstand bill of the evening. Obviously they saw me do it and were shocked out of their pants!! I explained to them that it was no big deal. Yes, the whole concept of comraderie and being in one accord it lost the way they do it here. Now these guys keep calling me and asking me when we are going out again. Just to make sure they buy me back all the drinks I spent on. Have been telling them, there is no need for that, still they do not see my point! Wasted efforts!

9:52 am  

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