Buying Stamps in Sweden

The Swedish post office has gone through quite a change these past few years. First they dropped Saturday deliveries, so you only get mail Mo-Fr. Then they closed all the post offices. If you get a package or need a stamp you do down to your friendly Konsum and take care of it there. Or rather, you wait in line for someone to figure out what to do.

We hit Konsum at rush hour, just before the bus back to the old folks home was to leave. Long lines everywhere, and no one manning the post office line. Finally a young girl shows up, looking maybe 15. She takes the notice from the guy in front of us in line, looks at it, looks around, finds nothing, calls for help. A guy shows up, makes a big show of knowing what he is doing, looks around, doesn't find it. An older woman comes, shows them where the packages are, explains what to do, and leaves. The two try and figure out how to print a reciept. Another woman shows up, shows them how to do this. Then they have to take money, have no change, have to get change from the next cashier, and finally, they give the guy his change and his package, and it's our turn.

In Germany a letter to Sweden is local mail, but Sweden still resists the EU and insists that Germany is a foreign country. Local mail goes for 5,50 SEK (no, they don't have the Euro, they insist on using their lovely krona) and foreign for 10 SEK. I think this is a conspiricy to take money from tourists. I have 2 letters and want 12 stamps in 3 blocks of 4 with special stamps. This is not understood, so we do the letters first. Then I ask for blocks of stamps. She looks at all of the blocks, the young guy looks at all of the blocks, the second lady comes back and looks at all of the blocks, and finally finds one - with angels on it. Oh well, I could use some angelic hope, so I request 3 blocks.

The girl wants to give me some special stamps with PRIORITARE on it (this means: take 10 days to deliver to foreign country by sending first to Stockholm by way of Kiruna, then to Copenhagen, from there to Frankfurt/Main and then to Berlin, possibly by carrier pigeon). I tell her that this is not necessary. She insists, you need these on foreign letters. I reach over the counter, grab one of the blocks not yet paid for and open it up - yup, just as always, there are stickers for this already in the blocks..... She finally figures out what I owe, gives me my change and the stamps, and the next person in a now very long line is up for a shot.

We will soon be having this in Germany, I'm afraid, what with saving money and 1-Euro-jobs. Sigh. Time for a private postal service - oh wait, we already have that in Germany!

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