Paying For The Loo In Sweden

Like the majority of Europe you need to pay when using the bathroom, which I feel is a little rough. However with this being the case, I have come across three bathroom scenarios that everyone will experience at one time or another in Sweden.

1. Plan before you leave home

Planning is essential for many things in Sweden, most of this is in relation to the changing weather conditions, although it also applies to using the bathroom. With running the risk of busting to use the loo in public and not having a cent to pay for it, you will find yourself using the bathroom at least twice before stepping out door. Regardless of feeling the urge, it almost becomes automatic. Once you have experienced the situation of scouring the streets with a full bladder trying to find the closest bathroom only to find that you can't get in because you need a five SEK coin, thirty seconds away from peeing yourself, you learn to go before leaving anyones home!

2. If i'm paying, I want to get my money's worth!

If you pay for something you want to get value for money. I'm happy to pay a dollar to use a bathroom that is clean and well maintained. You usually find these in the larger department stores in Sweden such as NK and Ahlens. This also applies when you're in a cafe or restaurant, if you pay for coffee or food you're entitled to use the bathrooms. Just a piece of advice, some places in Sweden print the bathroom code on the receipt so hold onto it just in case. Regardless of whether I feel the urge, I will always use the bathroom in a cafe or restaurant before exiting, just like the other nine million Swedes.

3. Pay? Screw that! I'm going to beat the system!

The third and final option is to rely of winging it and hope for the best. There is satisfaction in getting things for free and a clean bathroom at no cost is I must say, satisfying in many ways. Your best bet would be pubs, no one is really monitoring who is going into the toilet, although it does depend on the pub. Crowed bars are usually the best, avoid quite places off the main streets. I have walked into a few bars in which I have been immediately approached by bar staff asking if I would like a drink or a meal, too ashamed to admit I only came in here to use the toilet and bugger off, I painfully purchase a drink. That toilet break just cost me ten dollars.

The other option is to go to Burger King or McDonald's, they usually have one or two bathrooms that will be occupied on arrival, this you can use to your advantage. Once the person comes out grab the door before it closes and presto free toilet right? Well it again depends, as whoever designed these bathroom did think ahead. You can get yourself into the situation where halfway through whatever you're doing the lights will automatically shut off. Awkward! Worst of all, without paying, the doors don't lock. Combine both and you have a total fucking disaster. Picture yourself on the toilet in the pitch black dark only to have the door flung open by a bunch of teenagers. All I was thinking was I should have paid the damn dollar!

Personally I am against the need to pay for a natural bodily function. It's on the same level as paying for tap water in a restaurant! There is a fourth scenario which I didn't touch on, that being the pee in public approach. When all else fails many Swedes will  drop their dacks and let it out. I was sitting in the park the other day and saw four girls make their way to the edge of the park and each took a squat. They did happen to choose a very appropriate time just as I was starting lunch, lucky my chosen drink was not apple juice.