So in Sweden, as I have probably mentioned before, you can’t buy a bottle of plonk in the evening, or on a Sunday. And the only place at all you can get a bottle of plonk is between 10:15 and 10:37 at the state alcohol monopoly shop called Systembolaget.
You very often come across arguments from Systembolaget as to why they should retain the tight alcohol monopoly just the way it is. Most of the arguments have to do with the projected increase in alcohol-related deaths and violence if alcohol was more freely available (and suspiciously few have to do with how much money they would stand to lose if their monopoly was threatened).
More freely available? Come on – you can get beer at 3.5% in any shop, strong beer for 20:- (2 euro) in the right bars and pretty much everybody over the age of 12 knows the number to a gentlemen called “Big Kalle” or “Daddy Love” who will get you whatever you want, whenever you want it.
Restricting demand to popular things creates a black market, and more criminals, and more contact between ordinary people and those criminals. As well as this, is is quite a slap in the face to the Swedish public, as the state has officially decided that they can’t handle their booze.
So is this something in the Swedish character? That, if allowed, they will charge around the grocery store, swigging wine, making slobbering love to unattractive people and smashing car windows on the way home?
And if this IS the case (which I doubt) then let’s do like this – have wine and booze available in the grocery stores, but allow it to be sold only to foreigners. We can handle our drink, you see, while you poor Swedes need to be cushioned and protected from the evil liquor.
So I will be able to buy wine whenever I want, since I lack the Swedish gene which would make me an instant alcoholic as soon as I saw a bottle of wine in a shop after 7 in the evening. Sound like an idea?