Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Ive been off for a couple of weeks while I visited my folks in Oslo (my old man works for the Foreign Office). Had a great time just chillin and visiting a few museums. We didnt eat out much because its very expensive in Oslo and I would hazard a guess to say in the rest of Norway as well. Sales tax equates to about 25% (compared to 17.5% in the UK) so thats surely a part of it. Whilst on a trip to the local supermarket with my mum, we passed the Vinmonopolet which is the state off-license. Like the rest of the Scandanavian countries Norway operates a state controlled liquor monopoly. Folks can buy beer from the supermarkets but anything stronger must be bought through the Vinmonopolet. So me being me, we had a quick shuftie around. I must say that the selection was quite poor compared to what is on offer here in the UK. The range was heavily favoured to Europe, with a supermarket selection of Aussie and American wines (ie huge conglomerated brands - Hardys, Gallo, Lindemans, etc etc). The prices seemed quite steep, on a par with what I charge in the restaurant, so thats a reasonably steep price for a retail outlet. When you consider that being a monopoly they should have quite some purchase power I kind of found it really strange. I wonder if there is a reason the booze is so expensive, perhaps anyone from Norway might be able to answer.