Reflections from a Swedish supermarket queue



Standing in a queue, waiting to pay. In front of me, there’s a woman in her late thirties. She has a baby in a pushchair, she’s dressed in exercise gear and she has loads of food. Manically, she unpacks her trolley and unceremoniously dumps her items onto the belt. She sees me standing behind her and, as I only have three items, she generously offers for me to go before her. 

I admit I am surprised by this uncommon offer. But I graciously thank her and say no worries – I can wait. The supermarket is playing a favourite tune and I’m actually enjoying it, I tell her. 

‘It’s nice to hear somebody isn’t Saturday-stressed’ (lördagsstressad) she mutters bitterly back at me. 

‘Saturday-stressed’ is a term I’ve never heard, I never am and I certainly never intend to be.