Monday, May 18, 2009

Buying Ecological in Sweden

I don’t buy ecological food. Or really any sort of ecological products. It’s not that I club baby seals in my spare time. Or even cut down entire rain forests to make a box of toothpicks. It’s just that I don’t notice any difference in taste or quality. But what it really comes down to is that I’m cheap. And buying ecological is not cheap. Sweden loves the environment though. And so they love ecological food.

Coop, a large grocery chain here in Sweden, plays up the ecological thing. They have a special ecological brand that they push. They have ad campaigns focusing on ecological goods. They even have special biodegradable bags (at least at some stores). There is a Coop near me and I’ve been shopping there lately because it is just so very close.

The other day I was in the store trying to feed myself for another week. I picked out the classic food stuff. Milk. Cereal. Bread. Meat. But I needed some fruits and veggies. And there they were. Black beans. I love black beans. They were cheap too. I love cheap. So I threw them in my basket without thinking too much.

I walked to the counter and paid. Because stealing is wrong. And obviously looked at my receipt as I walked out. I like to keep track of how much I spend every month. That’s when I noticed the little clover staring back at me.

Apparently, on every receipt, Coop prints a clover next to the ecological products you bought. Not only that, at the bottom they have a little summary. Again, the little clover shows up, this time right next to a total amount of money spent.

I managed to spend 26 SEK on my miljömärkta varor.

I’ll be honest, while I noticed the little clover picture, it didn’t exactly make me want to buy more ecological products. In fact, it just made me pay more attention to what percentage of my grocery trip was spent on ecological food. And when ecological food is as expensive as it is, that’s maybe not a good thing.

Welcome to Sweden. And ecological food.

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  1. "It’s just that I don’t notice any difference in taste or quality."
    I think you need to read up on what Eco food is. hehe

  2. unfortunately, I know way more about eco food than I really want to. and one argument tha tpeople often give is that the food tastes better and is of a better quality because of the growing methods.

  3. Well everyone says that their food tastes better and is of better quality, it's a handy argument for sales people as you cant disprove it.
    In reality Eco food is probably of poorer quality most of the time, for example an organic grown apple is probably smaller and doesn't look as perfect as an apple grown with chemicals.
    Ecological food has to do with the impact you make on the environment with the groceries you buy.

  4. It's really not about taste. It's how bad those freaking chemicals are for you. It adds up. Plus it is true those chemicals ruin the soil and stuff. Not to mention ecological animal products usually involve more humane treatment. And you can't say that doesn't matter. Sorry, I'm part hippie. I can't keep quiet at organic-ecological food bashing. I just don't get why the Swedes don't use the re-usable grocery bags.

  5. What I want to know is: what does it mean to be an 'ecological' product? Hoe do we know the product lives up to its claim? I don't trust this claim anymore than I trust and care about 'expiration dates.' How did I survive my childhood and youth without such things? We used to have a real 'ice box,' and my job was to empty the musty smelling water into the sink. What's more, I EAT THE SKINS OF POTATOES! There, now, how do I still stand up straight and think clearly. Feh!

  6. Ecological food is dangerous! It will lead both to obesity and starvation of the population of America! Stop it now! Take a look at this video and you will never buy ecological food again:

    Spread the message!

  7. The organic apples someone else mentioned...I swear they're small and mushy. Maybe Swedish eco apples are different than their disgusting American counterparts. I don't think stealing heinous organic apples is wrong. It's practically a public service to remove them from the grocery any means. (Whatever you do, don't eat them.) Otherwise, I agree. Stealing is wrong.

  8. I grew up eating organic and commercial things so in some ways I can see the best of both. Sure sometimes it costs more but it's nice to help out the small farms that are doing it right. I don't buy all organic though of course because of the cost.

  9. @Ron - You are so right. You grew up not having to worry about ecological b-c food used to be better. Only modern farming techniques, over-pasturization, and icredible amounts of preservatives have become common place this generation. And potato skins are where all the vitamins are. I would never throw away a skin. But some claims are crap.
    That is true. It sucks.

    And the food does not look better. It usually is worse. Because the pestatcides-preservatives are meant to make the food seem better. It may be a firmer, shinier apple, but you are eating poison.

  10. i just know what you say my friend!
    i remember once i just shopped at ICA (i used to shop from coop) and found that the carrot price at coop was almost double then i noticed how much money i'd wasted!
    and really no different in taste,huge difference in money, though.
    i wonder if you can tell me how the production of ecological carrot or banana is different than the normal one! and in which way it saves the nature, coz obviously it doesn't save my money!

  11. P.S
    as the last word :
    i want my money back(supposed to be read loudly, at the top of your voice,preferly :)

  12. Only thing I buy ecological are my eggs. Because the ecological hens really do have a better life than the usual ones. It sure is more expensive, but I think I can afford it on at least one product.

  13. I am lucky that we have a Farmer's Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays and I try to shop there as much as I can. Ends up being cheaper than the supermarkets. I myself have never really been into the organic/biologique product ranges that they sell here. Food-wise I can't tell the difference and as far as cleaning/beauty products are concerned, they end up having more dodgy chemicals than the non-organic/biologique ones. Hairy, just eat healthy and don't have too many sweets:)

  14. Just one thing...if you like black beans, mix them with cooked white or brown rice, heat them up in a pan with a little bit of olive oil and crumble feta or manchego cheese on top once they are done! It is to die for! That was poor people food in El Salvador and I will still eat it on a regular basis. It is the taste of childhood for me. Mind you, so is Pytt i Panna.

  15. So all these stereotypes we hear about Sweden being progressive, very liberal, very open-minded and nice people... do you think they are really true after living in Sweden? Do you think the average Swede is much smarter than the average American? Just a couple of questions I had, thanks.

  16. @anonymous – I think you’re exactly right. It seems like its used because it is so subjective.

    Youre also right that the big argument is the environmental impact. But as I said, I’m cheap.

    @m8 – I suppose. Although, with the help of a biologist, I was told that a lot of those chemicals, if used properly, aren’t nearly as bad as some people might have you believe. That’s not saying they are good, but it’s the overuse and improper use that really does the damage.

    @Ron – in the US they have certain criteria. Some of them are legit. Others are just really really easy to meet. Even in Europe you see the same thing. Certain eco labels mean absolutely nothing. It’s all part of that green wave it seems.

    @Robban – the voice of reason once again. I love it.

    @E – mmmm… mushy apples.

    @anonymous – that’s fair enough. Especially at a farmers market for example.

    @m8 – or you could argue that they used even worse chemicals back then. Like ddt for example.

    @michael – its ridiculous isn’t it?

    @izi – I think that’s the way to do it really. To pick and choose. Decide what it is you value most and focuis on that. Because trying to buy everything organic would make you go broke. Or make me go broke at least.

    @Néstor – I think you nailed it. Eat healthy. Avoid too much candy. There are plenty of ways to live a healthy life. And Im loving the sounds of the black bean recipe. Ill have to give it a shot.

    @anonymous – in terms of being progressive and liberal, yeah the stereotypes are true. In terms of being open-minded and nice. Not really. Swedes are open-minded if you agree with them. If you don’t, then they don’t want to hear it. And Swedes, at least in Stockholm, aren’t exactly friendly at all.

    And in terms of being smarter. Definitely not. I would say most Americans are just as smart as most Swedes.

  17. in the terms of being friendly and social. i remember first i came here(stockholm).i was a bit excited you know a new country new people and...
    what still suprises me is that how swede are wierd in that matter that one day you're talking with each other and having a good time,just the day after they treat you if they hadn't seen you before.
    is it same in States?

  18. I got a feeling you were being sarcastic with your answer there? I hope it was just my imagination or maybe you accidentally hit the sarcasm-button on the keyboard while writing. Anyhow, apology accepted.

  19. @anon - Not smarter. Who said smarter? I think they are more worldy, that is true. But they are tiny. They kinda have to be. But progressive, yes. Not that I think all the progression is actually better. But they seem to have some cool values about free time and being able to be home with your children.

  20. All progression is not better but 99% of it is. Progression leads to tolerance and logical thinking replacing intolerance and religious thinking. That's something, among other things, that the US, and many other countries, could learn from Sweden and some other countries. If the US was a bit more progressive then soldiers wouldn't be discharged from the army because they're gay, gay people wouldn't be legally prohibited from marrying each other, the evolution theory of Darwin wouldn't be rivaled by the Cristian story of creation masquerading as a scientific theory, criticizing the US wouldn't be such a big deal and nobody would ever say "God bless America" and most importantly we could have an American president who doesn't fit all the slanted, narrow views, of most Americans, what a president should be like, i.e. we could have a gay, atheist or Islamic president who doesn't have to claim that the US is the best and most free and democratic country in the world (which is bullshit, btw) in every god damn speech.

  21. Robban - You wrote "we could have an American president...." Are you an American? I know the world has to deal with the people we (Americans) put into power; however, the world doesn't have a right to choose our leadership or our principles for us. Americans elect officials based on their own beliefs. You seem to want an American president who doesn't express love and loyalty to America. I hope we never have an unpatriotic president.

    I know it hurts to be tolerant of theists, but we've got an awful lot of them here in the US. You'll find very few Americans who don't claim some belief in God. Even people who aren't particularly religious tend to like "God Bless America" - it's part of our heritage and reflective of the beliefs (Judeo-Christian) held by an overwhelming majority here.

    You seem to think Americans are pretty arrogant...what with our thinking we're the best and all that. :) Most of us do happen to be pretty patriotic, which is not to be confused with arrogance. We are well aware of our failings, but we love our country and want to do and be better. Not that we can ever agree on the right path to get there. But your vision for America in many ways isn't...well...very American...on a lot of levels. Your worldview really doesn't represent the prevailing thought here.

    P.S. Evolution is taught in schools here and there are only a few places where creation is taught at all...and even there it is typically taught as an alternative theory. I don't see how a little honest debate could be harmful to the intellect of our nation's youth. Aside from that, most Christian intellectuals believe in many aspects of evolutionary theory. And even most Christians don't like the idea of anything more than general creation theory being taught. As in..."one theory holds there was a creator who initiated the Big Bang" or some of the other predominant creation theories. Since most Americans claim belief in God to some degree, it seems appropriate to discuss the different ideas in the US.

    Also, gays aren't thrown out of the military for being gay. They're thrown out for talking about it...or, making a declaration, as it were. They're not allowed to talk about it and their leadership aren't allowed to ask. I'm part of the military and have gay active duty friends. The overwhelming consensus from both the gays & heterosexuals I know (and I know WAY more of both than most) is that they don't want to talk about it. They're fine with the policy as is. It's not an issue of tolerance so much as one of understanding the military subculture. The thinking is completely different and the factors involved in this particular career are unlike nearly any other.

  22. Listen, first of all, there are a lot of things I like about the US there are so many more things I dislike about the country. Now, you say you're aware of your shortcomings. Well, so is the rest of the world...

    Here a shortlist on the things I dislike (i.e. your shortcomings) most about the US (feel free to disagree): The religiousness of the place, the conservatism, the outdated views which follow with the forementioned, the over-patriotism, the ignorance (a stereotype I know... but check out the stats and I'll think you'll agree with that), the arrogance (ha, there it is, after all) and the intolerance which follow with the forementioned, the big corporations and the bed they share with the government and worst of all the foreign policy. I've got so much negative things to say about it I just wouldn't know where to start. But don't get me started on the foreign policy...

    Here's a shortlist of what I like most about the US (not that it's in any way relevant to the discussion): Hamburgers, a various selection of soft drinks, Seinfeld, The Daily Show, the development of a lot of technology, which is prevalent in most of our everyday lives, and a lot of scientific progressions.

    Now, to reply your comment about the "military subculture" of the US, let me first admit I don't know an awful lot about it. I know it's incredibly homophobic and chauvinistic. I think your defence of the "Don't ask, don't tell"-policy is very hypocritical. That's like saying you're allowed to be yourself as long as you don't show it or mention it. Ever. Basically it means you're NOT allowed to be gay. It's that kind of mentality which makes it so much harder for homosexuals. And the homophobic and chauvinst culture of the military does in no way justify that kind of mentality.

  23. Edit: And the homophobic and chauvinist nature of the military subculture does in no way justify that kind of mentality or policy.

    Addition: That's like justifying the Holocaust by saying "Well, you know it's the way the Nazi-culture worked. Being Jewish was frown upon" as if that makes it alright when it, in fact, makes it so much worse.

  24. Robban - You're so sweet. I dont't know how any American could be arrogant with you around...reminding us of our (oh so many) deficiencies.

    I won't make an argument for political corruption (whereby big corps or special interests or whomever are in bed with the government). Our government has been positively promiscuous my infinite chagrin. However, I think the free market (and lots of big corporations at that) are to thank for those few things you do like about America. I'm not saying we should take the good with the bad. It's certainly a problem we need to address...and I think there are a few people doing that, fighting the good fight. More than you might think.

    I'm sorry my response about the military sounded hypocritical. I was trying to briefly convey that the situation is more complex than simply being an issue of tolerance. Although I think your Nazi comparison goes too far. Gays are not persecuted (or brutally tortured/murdered) in the military, nor are women. A pretty large portion of the military can be homophobic, I'll give you that. However, many of the people I know are pretty tolerant and don't care. Yet...they don't want someone else's sexuality shoved down their throat either...regardless of orientation. Still, it is true that most people in the military do strongly oppose a change to the current policy. The idea behind it, however misguided, was to protect all parties involved. Maybe the "don't ask don't tell" policy isn't the best solution, but a better one hasn't been put forward yet. One that the military community can live with. The current policy is not optimal, so I'd agree it needs reworking. Still, it has to work for the people who have to live it. I think that's vital. It's interesting that this is one of your big issues's so far below the radar for most Americans (even gay Americans).

    I don't think chauvinism runs rampant in the military. Unfortunately less qualified females are often promoted over their more qualified male counterparts. All in the name of diversity - it's a widely acknowledged advantage, actually. It's disappointing. As a woman it annoys my sensibilities. I want the best person in the job and I don't want women to have to deal with that stigma (of "oh she got it because she's a woman"). Women are also allowed to fill billets that they - in good conscience - shouldn't be. More often than not, they're prohibited from filling such positions. Rightly so. Diversity and tolerance are more important than reason and sensibility sometimes, but that's ridiculous and it shouldn't be allowed to prevail. This sort of gets at what I'm trying to say. It's easy to dictate standards from the outside, but the right path is sometimes more difficult to find from the inside (where you see & understand the nuances more clearly). I'm not arguing for relativism or intolerance. Rather, an educated understanding of the complexities and a balanced perspective in light of those intracacies.

    Again, I have to write that I hope we never have a president you like. This person would probably not like the US much. I think patriotism is a good trait...a requirement in good leadership, in my opinion. I love my country and I'm not sorry if that offends you. It shouldn't offend you though.

  25. Oh...about those mushy apples. Apples are actually one of a handful of truly worthwhile fruits to buy organic (in the US anyway). Tests here have shown that regular apples are one of the fruits with more pesticide residues. I buy a fair amount of organic. I typically try to balance cost against benefit. I didn't drink the organic Kool Aid, but I think there are definitely some worthwhile elements to the movemement.

  26. i am curious Robbin, how much time you have spent in the US to have such strong opinions about us? And which part of the US you spent time to have such opinions. I do admit that some parts of the US are much more conservative and chauvinistic than others. maybe that is where you were, because we certainly are not all like that. Just, as i am sure not all swedes have the same ideas and opinions of politics etc..
    I agree with E, I hope we don't ever have a president that is not patriotic and loves our country. That would be VERY scary!

  27. making a Sverige_States community in the comment page, i guess if you guys really wanna know and understand each other better ,it's a good idea to make a blog or sth, then we all come and visit it(an empty promise)

  28. @robban - the progression I refered to that I didn't like was the fact that women are supposed to feel badly about being female. Yes. Because to be a man is better. I say that because of the rediculous level of sameness here (Sweden). At a party last weekend I was the only female in any color other than tan. And only one in a frilly skirt. One girl even said, "We just don't dress in pink and little skirts. You can wear a skirt, but better not to look that girlish." I find that so sad. Becuase I LOVE that I can wear sparkly sandals and cute stuff as a female. But the attitude here is to be embarassed about girliness. That is NOT feminism. I feel MUCH better about being a woman at home. Sorry. But it is the truth. At home I can have a great job and still be female; we can have both. I feel I must become a butch, nuetral-gendered person to fit in here sometimes. Seriously, there is a lack of individuality which is so beautiful and I miss dearly.
    And patriotism is something Swedes lack. It is found throughout the world and I love seeing it. It's like everyone here are just emotionless, expressionless drones. I don't call that progression. I call that a lack of what makes people, well, people.
    And why should we elect an Islamic president? That does not fit the interests of the country. Simple. We shouldn't be forced to do dumb stuff like that to prove we arn't racist.

    But yes, Swedes have some great shit on America. Like less crap about harrassing gays. And less corporate-gov't lovers.

  29. Aww...m8surf...come back to America...we'll wear fabulous, girly shoes and go have us some cosmos together. ;)

  30. Robban - Kudos to you for speaking your mind mate...I know it doesn't make you the most popular but I am glad that you do and I am also glad that we all live in places where we can do so.

  31. @ E - I'd love to. Eventually, maybe. But I'm a refugee of love in Sweden which is stronger than my missing far ;-)

  32. @Michael – I’ve described the Swedes as being very friendly when you ask them for directions. Less friendly when you ask them to be your friend.

    @Robban – come on now, I am never sarcastic. Ever.

    @m8 – agreed.

    @Robban – we’ve had these discussions plenty of times on the blog here but I had to point out a couple of things. The gay marriage thing and the theory of evolution.

    In terms of gay marriage, plenty of states are legalizing gay marriage. Something Sweden just recently did. Plenty of other states allow civil unions, something Sweden has also done. So while there are people who don’t want it, that doesn’t mean the entire country is like that.

    And then the evolution thing. I grew up in a very conservative city in Colorado. And I never learned any sort of creationism. It wasn’t even mentioned in passing. Many places don’t even mention it. Evolution is the theory that is taught in school. So again, just because there are people who are vocal about their beliefs, doesn’t mean the country is like that.

    So now, I’m going to take my leave as the debate goes on between you, E, and I think m8 and Néstor even jumps in there. Enjoy.

  33. so hairy, are u Swede or ..?

  34. I claim American but I have dual citizenship.

  35. you didn't get it right my friend or maybe you did!
    it was a kinda joke!
    you said Swedes are frienndly to give you the directions but not as much friedly when you wanna them to be your friend, and that was what i was about to know by "are you swede or ..."
    now you don't need to answer it!
    please tell me some places that usualy North Americans get together since people have been telling me i sound like them i gonna prove myself that's wrong!
    or maybe i go there to eavesdrop hehe

  36. As usual, you choose to misunderstand me. I don't have the time or energy to explain my comment in detail but let me just comment the idea of the American people being ABLE TO (never said SHOULD, m8surf. Btw, why were you so mean in your comment? Just because we're emotionless drones doesn't mean we don't have emotions! God!) elect "a gay, atheist or Islamic president who doesn't have to claim that the US is the best and most free and democratic country in the world (which is bullshit, btw) in every god damn speech".

    Why does that thought scare you so much? Think about it. Could it be because of intolerance? Personally, I don't care about the sexual preferences, religious believes or the amount of "patriotism" of the leader of my country. I trust him/her not to mix such personal things with his/her political decisions. Apparently you can't and don't want to trust your president to do that, which I think is kind of sad. And unfair to the people who doesn't fit the mainstream ideal of an American president. Everyone can be a president in the US? Hardly...

  37. @Robban - Well I think you are often equally if not more mean in your comments. As well that is my opinion of how the socialized system makes me feel and makes the people look in Sweden. It is simply the impression the culture and people leave. That is fair for me to admit on here I think. I guess this whole sameness which is supposed to be progression doesn't seem so to me.

    We just got a black president. When has Sweden done similarly? Never. All company execs and political leaders are Swedes. Immigrants drive taxi's and run pizza shops. It is not even legal here to get a circumcision at a public hospital on a boy even though that is Jewish and Islamic religion. I know, I know that doesn't make Americans angels for electing Obama, but look at how quickly we have progressed. Not too long ago there was still segregation. Electing a black man is a big, progessive step towards tolerance in just a couple generations. And why the hell does it mean I am intolerant not to elect an islamic president? I don't care if we had one. But that is a small minority of our population and statistically it is unlikely to happen. I don't think we should seek out an islamic president to prove something. If it happens, then fine. Obama was born Islamic, but later converted. People are not as un-fair about that stuff as you want to imagine. It's not like Europe fills itself with gay and Islamic leaders either. But by the way the mayor of the town I lived in before moving to Swe was gay. And it was in a southern state.

    And it is hypocritical to talk about not liking the US because it is religous, conservative, patriotic. Basically because it is different. Don't you talk of tolerance? Yet when that equals cultural difference you don't want it. Do you know how much more conservative the Islmic religion tends to be? You want them in politics but you don't want conservativism. Pick an opinon. Either you want everyone modern, liberal, thinking like Swedes, or you will allow some groups-countries to have a different lifestyle. To be more religous and conservative if that suits their desires. Tolerance means realizing that diff.people of diff.backgrounds won't operate how you want them too.

  38. Robban - the American people can elect whomever they please. I think we should elect the best individual for the position - rather than being forced to prove how tolerant and diversity-loving we are by selecting someone who may not represent the majority and may do a lousy job. You see, that's how democracy works. The masses select a representative. This is one of the reasons you may not see certain minorities in leadership here. Because they represent the interests of the minority and the leaders of our nation are meant to - in as much as possible - represent everyone.

    Most Americans recognize that a person's politics will be educated by life experience & beliefs. If you want to predict how someone will act, look at their past. I don't trust my leaders to compartmentalize their personal beliefs & political decisions. Human beings are certainly more integrated than that and I feel anyone who pretends not to be isn't being very honest. If my leader tells me his/her political decisions are completely separate from personal beliefs (or life experience or lifestyle), then my thought is going to be that this is someone lacking integrity.

  39. Also, you should remember that the people in the US have not been there long, many not more than a couple of generations. The Americans are immigrants, settlers who struggled and fought hard, moving accross the world to find a better life for themselves. Hard-earned things in life bring about a lot more pride and defensiveness. The Americans were not just born in a place where they always were. So it is much different than being Swedish born in Sweden. Most Americans know the story of all of their grandparents or further back. How they came, why they came, how their lives were better. It is a big part of our culture to be so proud of this new country that our ancestors worked so hard to give us.

    Additionally maybe Sweden's lack of emotion, love, devoition...patriotism towards their own country kind of coincides with my feeling that they lack emotion in genearal? That's not to be mean. I'm just saying there is a definite lack of fire and excitement in many aspects of the Swedish persona. Fine with me if they want to be that way. But don't tell me I can't be more passionate about everything in my life. Including my heritage, my people, my family, my history, and my country. I think it's only natural.

  40. And maybe the American's lack of common sense and knowledge coincides with their vicious over-patriotism and their unabiltity to admit that the US is the best and most free and democratic country in the world!

    I never said you SHOULD elect an Islamic president and I never said I wanted you to. You're putting words in my mouth. I said I wanted you to be ABLE TO do so. Obama's Muslim-background has definitely been a burden for him. Why? it's so intolerant.

    I never compared the US to Europe, so stop using those kind of "Europe isn't much better"-comments as arguments. It's not a competition so stop being so freakin defensive. There are definitely bad things about Sweden as well and I'd be glad to discuss them but I never said anything in these comments about Sweden or Europe being better than the US. I was simply pointing out what I see as very negative things about the US. if I was trying to make Europe or Sweden look better than the US I could easily have done so. I could have mentioned that Sweden according to the democracy index is the most democratic country in the world and the US is only in the 18th spot. There's so many more comparisons like that, based on surveys, stats and facts I could have made to the favor of Europe and Sweden. But I didn't.

    Btw, M8surf, seriously get yourself a sense of humor.

    "Btw, why were you so mean in your comment? Just because we're emotionless drones doesn't mean we don't have emotions! God!"

    Do you think that's a serious comment? Then I feel sad for you.

  41. @R - You are a tough cookie Mr. Roban. Maybe your humor is not always so easily understood on here.

    And you see, as you mention you do think Swe and Eur can easily be shown to be better than the US. Just because you didn't say it outright in your previous argument doesn't mean I didn't pick up on that.

    Your talk of intolerance irritated me becuase I know there is not better tolerance or diversity in Swe-Eur. And it is a comparison between the two places. Becuase it just doesn't make any sense to bash one country (America) for a lack of tolerance when it really isn't better anywhere else in the world. You must feel America is dropping the ball on tolerance compared to somewhere else. Mixed-race people are currently the fastest growing group in the US. You can't even say Merry Christmas in stores becuse too many Muslims and Jews felt it was unfair to them. I just think is not accurate to say America is an intolerant place to non-Christian whites.

    Why attack one country for the same problems seen in most countries of the West? That was what I thought to be unfair. Not the fact that you had some complaints about the US. It was the quality of the complaints. Religiousness? Come on. That is culture. Honestly, why is that a problem if you accept differences in people's culture?

  42. @Michael – ahh.. gotcha. Im a bit slow sometimes. A lot of native English speakers hang out at the irish pubs around sodermalm and gamla stan. That’s probably your best bet for finding a bunch of Americans and Canadians.

    @Robban, m8, and E – interesting discussion. I wanted to pick up on something Robban said about it not being a competition and people being defensive. Because I have been accused of this before. And it isn’t so much that it’s a competition, but that with so many people constantly pointing out flaws after a while your initial reaction become to fight back. To be defensive. It’s a shame, because Robban is absolutely right… it isn’t a competition, but when so many people focus on the negatives and pint them out, it is hard to not stand up for yourself. Your country. Your home.

  43. Fair enough, Hairy. But you also need to understand that we (i.e. the rest of the world) criticize the US more often than other countries. You're currently the only superpower in the world for God's sake!

  44. thats true. and understandable. but Im still going to continue to defend the US to an extent when it is criticized.

  45. As is your right but remember you also have the right to criticize it.

  46. @Robban - good point. and one which I will remember.

  47. oh god, eco food!
    even if some of it is cheaper than other non-eco food, i tend to sway away from eco food, maybe its because they are forcing it on me, where ever i go its " ECO THIS ECO THAT" but it just makes me not want it more.
    im ALL for helping the environment honestly, i think their recycling system is great here, be-it, tedious, but sufficient.
    maybe its the little rebel inside me that just needs to throw a small candy wrapper on the floor every few months and feel okay about it....

  48. the eco thing is very much forced on people here in sweden. sometimes thats good, and sometimes its just exhausting.

  49. What is the cost of two types of fruits, two kinds of vegetables, and two types of drinks in sweden?

  50. Milk: 16.98 SEK for 2 liters
    Apple Juice: 18.98 SEK for 1 liter

    Bananas: 16.90 SEK for 1 kilo
    Clementines: 17.90 SEK for 1 kilo

    Red Bell Pepper: 27.90 SEK for 1 kilo
    Red Onion: 9.90 SEK for 1 kilo

    on December 12, 2009.