24\7? Forget it!


One of the things I’ve had to get used to living in Finland is that grocery stores actually CLOSE.  6pm on Saturdays. Closed on holidays.  I can always tell when there’s a holiday the next day because there are 20 times as many people at the grocery store, and they’re buying…milk and bread.  God, I wish I was kidding about that.  But there you go – it happens in Finland, too.  One time, I was behind a guy with nothing in his basket except 12 cartons of milk and 6 loaves of bread.  Hand to God.

The store closing for a day shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but I’ve learned not to trust the meat here in Finland more than a day.  I don’t buy meat until the day I’m going to use it, because if I buy it the day before, it tends to be…yucky.  So I have to do extra planning when there’s a holiday, maybe make a casserole the night before so we can have leftovers, or plan on frozen pizza.

Last weekend was Easter Weekend, and here in Finland, both Good Friday and Easter Monday are holidays.  Oh, and Easter Sunday, too, of course.  So three days of grocery store closures over the course of a 4 day weekend.  Luckily, we went out of town, so I didn’t have to do the Mass Pre-Holiday Grocery Trip.  However, I ran into a bit of an issue.  Stephen’s work sent out an email with the store hours, what would be closed, what would be open, and when.  According to this email, the stores would be open from 12-6 on Monday.  So, I figured we’d get home from our trip on Sunday evening, grab some take out, and I’d go grocery shopping on Monday.  No biggie.

Except (you knew that was coming, right?).  Except I drive to the grocery store and find it closed up tighter than…well, something closed up tightly.

There are a few gas stations that have a small grocery store inside, so I drove over to one of those (the one that was a little bit further away, because I knew it was bigger than the one closer to where I was).  I walk in, and find…the grocery part closed.  Oh, but there’s this other tiny little grocery on the other side of the gas station that’s open.  It’s probably about 20 feet long by 10 feet wide.  And there are about 25 people inside.  What options do I have?  None.  So I go in and see if I can figure out something for dinner.  Chicken.  Tortillas.  A quick mental inventory and I knew we still had some shredded cheese at home. Tacos it is.

So now I’ve got another issue, and that is, I won’t have the car again to go shopping until the weekend.  There’s only so much I can carry home with me while walking, and that does not include milk, soda, big cereal boxes, or (the most important item, as we were running out) toilet paper.  So this week ended up being one of those weeks where I visit the grocery store every day to get the stuff I would have otherwise gotten in one trip, and making Stephen stop on his way home to buy the bulky/heavy stuff.

Oh, I know, I need to quit my bitchin’.  The truth is, I like that stores close here.  I like that holidays are exactly that – holidays when no one has to work (except those in gas stations and kebab restaurants).  I like that there’s not “May Day Mania” and “Epiphany Extravaganza” sales.  It goes with the whole slower pace of life.

As long as I can plan for it… (whoever sent that erroneous information at Stephen’s work – I’ve got my evil eye on you.)

New in my zazzle store:  Took this great picture last week with my new zoom lens, on a morning when the trees were all frosty from the cold.  At the top of the picture is the Church of the Holy Cross in Old Town Rauma; colorful Finnish homes in the foreground.

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “24\7? Forget it!

  1. I had to get used to stores actually closing here, too. Our grocery store is open 7:30 am-8pm. They once tried to start opening at 8 am and there was practically a riot. ha. They are closed on major holidays, close early on some days, etc. But I don’t mind it. If I *really* need something, I can drive a few miles to the Ingles (24/7) but 99% of the time, I can make do without it until the next day. I do love that the employees get real time off, are paid real living wages, get health insurance, etc.

    Though…I don’t have to haul everything home with a few miles walk…so I definitely have it easier. And the meat/eggs/chicken is local and they get shipments in 4 times a week, so it’s always fresh. That’s nice, too.

    • Yeah, I have no idea what time the stores open. Just like I just found out recently that they close at 6 on Saturday – since I was never sure, I just made sure to go when I knew they would be open! (I figured I’d be safe after 9am and before 6pm most days…)

  2. bayta

    haha, yes, this is such a familiar story 🙂 Took me a while to stores actually being closed on Sundays and holidays when I moved back to Germany after many years living in the UK. I do agree with – it is kind of nice. But only when I don’t forget to plan ahead…

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