Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wanna Know Who's Got The Lamest Job In Sweden?

First, let's just all get over the fact that I used a version of "lame" in my title.  I grew up with Saved By The Bell and 90210.  Are we good, are we ok? Can we move forward?

Now then....

The person with the lamest job in Sweden is...

The girl or guy who collects 5 SEK from people so they can go to the bathroom.  That's right, they not only do the majority of places take 5 SEK (equivalent to about $0.71), some places even have a special little window (imagine a bank teller behind a glass door), where some poor soul will collect your change and then unlock the bathroom door.  This is by far, one of the dumbest things I have ever seen....ever.

Recently, I took a train from Borås, Sweden back home to Göteborg, Sweden after a job interview.  I decided to take the entire afternoon to go shopping at Nordstan (largest shopping center in Göteborg/Gothenburg).  I had to go to the restroom, so I follow the bathroom signs only to find myself in a long line..not for the bathroom, oh no, that would be way to simple.  I had to first wait in line to pay this girl (maybe 17 years old or so) a damn 5 SEK so I could then wait in another line to use the restroom.  How ridiculous is this? More importantly, how embarassing is it for this girl to have this job?

I can just imagine the conversation she has when she meets up with her friend.

Friend: Hey, what are you up to these days?
Girl With Lame Job: Oh, things are great!  I spend 8 hours a day collecting dirty coins from people so they can go to the bathroom.
Friend: That's lame.
Girl With Lame Job: Don't tell anyone from school, alright?

One possible rationale I've heard for this ridiculousness is that it helps deter the "wrong kind of crowd" and possible drug users away from the restrooms. When I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia, I noticed many bathrooms had black lights to help detur drug-users from coming in just to shoot-up.  I bet the black lights work a whole lot better than charging $0.71.   Another explanation is that it helps keep the bathrooms cleaner since less people are using them--Ok, I'll give you that one!

I have to say, this policy just pisses me off.  I remember early on this Summer, recently after moving to Sweden, I went shopping with my four year old and my mother in law.  After spending around $150.00 at the grocery store, my daughter decides to tell us she has to go the bathroom....and no she can't wait 10 minutes until we get home.  In fact, she needs to go to the bathroom right then.  So, I have to dig around in my purse to see if I can find this 5 SEK coin. Nope, I don't have one.  So, I track down my mother in law, who luckily has this coin, so that I can take my 4 year old who's about to pee in her pants to the bathroom.  I'll just go ahead and repeat, that I was a customer at this grocery store who just spent a decent amount of money. Do they really need my 5 SEK coin so badly, they are OK, with angering me so much that I don't want to shop there anymore? Hmm, let' see, should I take her 5 SEK one time, or get her $150.00 weekly? Tough one!

Whoever made up this policy surely has never had to potty-train a toddler before, because they would know, when a kid's gotta go, a kid's gotta go.

I've only witnessed a couple of smart manuevers by Swedes to get out of this stupid policy.
1.  A group of 5 girls pile into the bathroom on that one 5 SEK coin.
2. At McDonald's I noticed that people, when feeling generous, will just hold the door open for the next person in the line so they don't have to pay.

That's my rant!
STORE OWNERS: Let people use your friggin' bathrooms! Keep your customers happy, and they will come back!
POOR GIRL COLLECTING COINS SO PEOPLE CAN GO POTTY: Go get a new job. Do anything but what you are doing now.

Alright people, what's the lamest job you have heard of?  Dumb policy you want to rant about? Please leave your comments below.


photo credit Suat Eman

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