Friday, December 27, 2013

a couple of little rants about the rubbish service culture in denmark

christmas is over and we're in the liminal space, waiting for the year to end and the new one to begin. i went to bed with wet hair and woke up with what my mother would call a fright wig. and somehow, it's all making me feel rather ranty.

rant #1: post danmark

in the week before christmas, i received a ransom letter from post danmark, saying they were holding a christmas package hostage until i (as receiver of a package i had not yet seen) sent more information about the contents. they assigned the package a number and said it contained, "støvler, tæj, mm" from the USA and that it weighed 4 kilos. they did not say who sent it, nor was i able, even after asking google translate for help, to figure out what "tæj" was. so, i guessed that it was the christmas parcel from my sister and that they boots were the doc martens she got sabin for her present. so, i asked her for the receipt and sent it dutifully (pun intended) to post danmark.

i heard nothing. and more nothing. for a week.

so today i called and asked how it was going. they claimed to have sent me a letter (probably via post danmark, so its chances of reaching me are slim) saying i hadn't provided documentation for the other items - the mystery "tæj" and the equally mysterious "mm," which is the danish equivalent of "etc." since i am the receiver of the package, i have not yet seen the items which are in it, therefore, it's hard for me to document them unless you specify what the hell they are. why isn't this just common sense for post danmark?

the nice lady on the phone today could see that this was a problem. so she took my number and they are supposed to get back to me today. meanwhile, their own limit of 14 days is quickly passing and even tho' i've been in touch (twice now, once in writing and once on the phone), they will likely send the package back to my sister before it's all finished. and then she can resend it and we can start all over again.

oh, the joys of customer service in denmark.

rant #2: bus #214, licence plate TD 92845, tide bus company, driving for sydtrafik in denmark

a few days before school was out, it was a dark and foggy morning. i was right behind the bus as i dropped sabin off at school. he was in quite a hurry and gunned it away down the little side street by the school. there were two small boys on their bicycles, wobbily making their way out to the big street, where they waited to cross. the bus was right beside them and wanted to turn right. there was quite a lot of traffic and, i may have mentioned, it was very foggy and still very dark. so the boys were cautiously waiting to be sure they could cross the road with their bicycles. well, mr. important bus driver decided to help them in their decision to cross the road by beginning to honk his big, giant bus horn at them. they were wobbly and unsure anyway and the honk nearly scared them off their bikes. it did, however, also scare them into action, and he saved the 30 extra seconds it would have taken to wait for them to cross on their initiative, but decided to try to make it up for it by gunning it and roaring off down the street.

i was so taken aback, that i noted the license number of the bus and came home and wrote to tide, the company running those buses, asking them to tell their driver to be a little kinder to children in traffic near a school. they wrote back telling me that since i wasn't involved, they were going to ignore my message.

yup. danish service culture at its best.

rant #3: the hunt for the christmas turkey

danes eat pork roast and duck for christmas. turkey is unusual, but not impossible to source. most grocery stores have a frozen bird in their freezer case. ten days before christmas, i checked my local store and found their frozen turkeys were the size of large chickens (4200 grams was the largest - that's about 8 pounds). so i went over to the butcher counter and asked if they could get me a larger bird. the guy dismissed me with a snort, rolling his eyes at me, saying if i wanted a turkey, i should have ordered it 3 months ago. very helpful and service-minded. (that was the sarcasm font, by the way.) and way to go, super brugsen in give (i've got more examples of your lack of service mindedness, but i'll save them for another post).

so i began checking all of the other grocery stores and butchers in my area, driving to several other towns in the process. all to no avail, there were no turkeys of reasonable size available, frozen or fresh. then a friend sent me a link to a butcher in vejle (why didn't i think of that), which claimed to have a turkey that would serve 10 people left. i called them and asked if it was true. they said they had one bird left and mentioned to me that it was already stuffed with a mixture of minced pork and cream, but it was a fresh turkey, not horrendously expensive (at 440 kroner/$80) and i was desperate, so i ordered it.

and on christmas, i took it out and put it in the pan, thinking it looked a little strange, but i chalked that up to the pork stuffing and put it in the oven. while it was cooking, it smelled much more like pork than turkey, but i could live with that. then, the weirdest thing happened. i asked my sister-in-law, who is a trained butcher, to do the honors and carve it. and she discovered that except for legs and wings, it had been completely deboned! a boneless turkey for christmas. i find it a little funny that the butcher didn't think to mention that little fact to me. and how can i make soup now with no turkey carcass?

that said, it was delicious and moist. i had been a little worried that since it was stuffed, i couldn't brine it and make it tender, but the pork did the trick as well. and that pork stuffing was also delicious. and without the bones, it was much easier to slice, but i still find it rather weird and won't be repeating it.

and now, i feel amazingly better, having gotten that out of my system. thank you for reading!


j. wilson said...

yikes! i've never had the opportunity to see the flip-side of counter-cultures. in L.A. i was always astounded at what i perceived as rudeness when interacting w people of other cultures. i thought i would just have to adapt and accept but then i wondered why doesn't anyone else adapt (kindness)? i have Danish, Swedish, and Lithuanian roots. My old Bulgarian landlord and his girlfriend would go on an on about how kind the Danes were...hee-hee...they were though, Bulgarian...i'm rambling but i always thought it was interesting that in the U.S. for the most part, people of outside cultures would treat americans fairly rudely in general unless they "knew" you. I always error on the side of kindness go in SLO has me at once loving the kindness but icking out over the general homogeneousness. ramble ramble. your post on the post has me cracking up and frustrated for you at the same time. sigh.

Sammi said...

this is a rather late comment, seeing as i remember commenting on it on facebook. this is definitely not a crown, you can't stuff a crown, and rightly strange.