While many people like to gripe about how expensive Sweden is, I haven't found that to be necessarily true. Sure, there aren't Walmart and Family Dollar stores littering the country, but this is the birthplace of IKEA and H&M. And yes, consumer goods are taxed a flat 25% tax which is calculated into the price you see, but I personally think this is good because it keeps consumerism in check, and we all know what happens when consumerism goes unchecked (U, cough cough, S). So far, I have discovered these five random purse punchers and no doubt many more surprises await me.
1. Dry cleaning, 350 kr (~$50)
Wow, when I paid this to dry clean a nice silk dress, I calculated in my head how many dresses I could have bought instead at H&M. (The answer: At least two.) I am definitely used to paying about a quarter of this at my fancy green dry cleaners in the States. But interestingly enough, most Swedes don't use dry cleaning because they wash and 'line dry' their clothes. Hmm, I don't know if I am brave enough to callously disregard the ominous 'DRY CLEAN ONLY' labels in my clothes, but desperate times may call for desperate measures.
2. Bowling, 390 kr (~$50)
This one really bowled me over, if you will. I am used to $5 bowling games in the US (don't forget to add about $2 for the chic footwear), so this one really hurt. In the States, that price would cover dinner, drinks, and bowling for four people. Plus, being on a bad date and having to pick up the tab (thanks, Sweden, for your damn gender equality) didn't help either. So with this experience under my belt, I think it's safe to say that I will not be bowling (or dating) again in Sweden any time soon.
3. Mixed drinks, 160 kr (~$20)
When imagining the prices of mixed drinks on a night out, think Miami but with people in head-to-toe black who haven't spent the last hour rubbing baby oil over their buff bodies. I was shocked that a rum and Coke was so expensive: It's rum, it's Coke. Perhaps it was the ice that was expensive?
4. Photocopy/print job, 400 kr (~$50)
This price point was particularly shocking. I visited the print shop below my apartment and they quoted me this outlandish price to print a few PDF pages from my jump drive. And no, it wasn't on gold leaf. They recommended I go up the street to another print shop, which quoted me 120 kr (~$15). Good, but not as good as the library, where I ended up printing out my nine-page document for next to nothing. Clearly, there is no 9¢/page Kinkos-equivalent in Sweden.
5. Hair cut, 359 kr (~$42)
In the States, I would alternate between high-quality salon haircuts and inexpensive trims at my local Supercuts (which were about $12). Not in Sweden. Not in Sweden.
It is worth noting that taxis can also be bizarrely high in Sweden, like the one time I was quoted 300 kr (~$35) to drive literally two blocks with my suitcase in Stockholm. (I walked that one; I was saving up for my dry cleaning.) Incomes, alcohol, and cars are also taxed particularly heavily here, but we knew that already, right?