Are Norwegians Good at Serving Others?

Source: "The Social Guidebook to Norway"

Norwegians are very nice people

So nice that they may provide a justification

when doing nice things towards others


In Norwegian coffee shops

You order at the counter

And pick up your order at the counter when it is ready

If you decide to sit after ordering

The staff will yell when your coffee is ready

You need to stand up

Walk the two meters that separate you from the counter

And pick up your order



Serving others is not a significant part of the Norwegian culture

Maybe we can link this to Janteloven again

Following Janteloven no one is more important than others

Everyone is equal

Thus no one should get served by others

Unless they really need to

People do things themselves

Why should someone bring your coffee, when you can walk and pick it up yourself?


If you are handicapped or old

The staff may bring your order

They have a reason to

You are handicapped and old

They will make sure to justify their action

So that the people around understand why they showed such a high level of service

And since it may not be usually acceptable to show such high level of service

Even if you are very old and handicapped

They will try to hide it into something else


They want to be polite

By justifying the fact that they brought you the cup

They are making sure that you do not lose face in front of the other clients by being served


Source: "The Social Guidebook to Norway"


By Julien S. Bourrelle

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