Swedens Ticket System

Those of you who have been to Sweden have probably come across The Ticket System. In Sweden people love to have order, things have to run smoothly and efficiently, but this sometimes create more chaos and trouble. In every shop you enter in Sweden, it does not matter if it is an electrical store to a jewelry store you have to take a ticket before you are going to be served. Just like in the local RTA you have to press a button and get a ticket that prints out. Kind of ironic that Sweden is crazy about the environment and the amount of paper that these things waste? But never mind, knowing Sweden it is probably some organic type of paper that has been specially designed to be instantly recycled and reused. So anyway this ticket system is something that can catch you off guard when you first arrive into the country.

My first experience with this was when I was in a bussen (bus) terminal in Stockholm. I was trying to organize to catch a bus from Stockholm to Göteborg that day, I was kind of in a rush because I was not sure how long it would take to get there or when the last bus was actually going to leave. The first counter that I walked up to no one was being served there were only people standing towards the outside some distance away from the person that was dealing with the tickets. I walk up to the man at the counter thinking that everything is okay, but this was not the case. Now the Swedish people are not ones to get hostile and they usually try and avoid any type of confrontation but man if you fuck with there ticket system its WWIII! One dude starting yelling something in Swedish while the rest joined in on this barrage of abuse! I had know idea wtf was going on so finally the man at the counter told me that I had to take a ticket from the machine that was over the other side of the room and wait until my number came up on the screen. So finally I managed to find out what was going on, the number that was called was 413 and i was 430, so I just sat down and waited. After waiting for 15mins my number was finally called and it was now okay for me to approach the counter. "I would like to book one ticket to Göteborg please", I said. The man replied "sorry this is not the right counter, you will have to go over to the other counter and book it through them". Fuck sake, this could have been solved if I was allowed to approach the counter and ask a question before the 10 crazy Swedes unleashed there abuse upon me. So I picked up my bag and walk over to the other counter, same deal here although there was no one waiting at this counter, I looked over, around, up and down, no one was there no need to take a ticket right? I walk up to the counter and ask the same question again, the man replies "Sorry you have to take a ticket!". I was like what the hell is this no one is even here, but again I went with the flow pressed the stupid button for the ticket, stood there, the guy pressed his little button, "bing!" and then he called my number and I was allowed to approach the counter? Talk about control, no rules or regulations can be broken, especially when it comes down to the ticket system!

I should probably give you a little information about getting around in Sweden. Coaches are usually the cheapest way to travel all throughout Sweden, and even Scandinavia. Swebus is a coach line that travels all over Sweden and also to Denmark and Norway. You will be paying half as much for these bus rides than say the train. But be warned if you do not like having to sit on a bus for 8-10 hours in some cases, then I would not recommend this way of travel. In my experience most of the time Swebus has been really good, they even have free wifi on the coaches so you can just hook into the Internet. They also come with your own power plug, saves you trying to conserve battery. Just a little piece of advice, sit near the front or the middle of the bus, don't make the mistake of sitting around the back, because on a 8 hour trip to Copenhagen from Stockholm they last thing you want to smell is the wafting stench of someone's urine for the whole journey.

If you are wanting to get around quicker then SJ is the train system you should take. Takes half the time compared to the bus but you will be paying around double for the train, to avoid high fees try and book ahead of time, you will get quite a discount in price. Click the links provided to fine out more about the prices and destinations. 

What is interesting though is this whole idea about conditioning, when you live in a place for a while you start to just go with what other people are doing and conform to the rules and regulations of the country. Now Sweden is very controlled there is policy and system for everything. But there was one instance when I really shocked myself and I knew that I had been in this country for far too long! Same deal applies as before, I was waiting in a tourist information center a few weeks ago to find out where I could find a travel agent in the shopping center. I had done the right thing and taken a ticket and was just casually waiting around for my number to be called. Just before my number was going to be called some dude comes out of nowhere are starts to walk over to the counter, I was like WHAT! HE DOES NOT HAVE A FU*$ING TICKET! HE CAN'T TAKE MY POSITION! HE CAN'T CUT IN LINE! I starting walking over to give him a piece of my mind when the lady at the counter just called out my number and ignored the man, I bumped him aside and proceeded with my question. Afterward it hit me that I had turned into one of those crazy swedes, I was getting abusive over the ticket system...? I knew from that moment on I had been in Sweden for far too long!

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