There are many things that is different in Norway and that an Englishman (my husband) has to get used to living here. And after living in the UK myself for a number of years, I am also trying to understand and remember how it works… The Wine Monopoly…
To give you some background: In the UK you can easily buy a bottle of wine (or any other type of bottles) at any supermarket, cornerstore or bottleshop – and believe it or not – but you can do this at almost any time of day – any day of the year! (To a Norwegian this sounds too good to be true!)
Here in Norway there is only one shop (or rather one chain of shops) where you can buy wine and that takes a little bit of getting used to.
The opening hours are not always straight forward either, they close earlier than other shops, and some days they are closed! For instance they are closed on election days (as the government does not want to encourage us to drink before going to vote… The fact that we can buy the alcohol the day before and consume on the election day doesn’t seem to have crossed there minds)
They are also closed the Saturday before a Bank Holiday! This took us a little bit by surprise when we were having dinner guests on a Bank Holiday Monday – so we went to the WineMonopoly on the Saturday before – and it was closed!
You can buy beer in any local supermarket, but only up until 8pm on a weekday, 6pm on a Saturday … So if you are walking around a big supermarket in Norway in the evening, and wonder why all the beer is hidden under a big sheet you now know why! This is all to try to prevent us from consuming too much alcohol, and surely if you fancy buying a beer from a shop in the evening you obviously must have a problem?! (The fact that I can buy that same beer at 7am when the shop opens doesn’t seem to worry our government quite so much).
All though I find the concept of The Wine Monopoly it is actually a good shop – large selection of wine and other drinks, and the staff are very knowledgable and helpful (unlike some bottle-shops and supermarkets in the UK). But we don’t really go there much as the prices are horrendous and we normally stock up on alcohol in the duty free section at the airport like most sensible Norwegians do!
Photo credit to tobyotter. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.