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  • Writer's pictureHannah Telluselle

How can I help you?

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

One of the biggest differences that I perceive between the cultures in Sweden and in the United States, is how we ask and receive help. In United States, one usually doesn't have to ask, either at all, or as much. This is true not only inside stores, where a clerk comes up to you and ask how he or she can help, but also in society at large. I become approached all the time by strangers in the United States, whether offering me directions or asking me out. This in turn, makes my disposition and response a lot more different from when I'm in Sweden.

In Sweden, it's different. Here you basically have to ask to be allowed to pay for your items! This creates a sense of unwelcome nagging, of being bothersome, for me. A sense of isolation. I like the freedom of being able to browse around a store, since I usually know what I'm looking for, but where are the clerks when I need them? And what does this reflect about us as a society? To me, that we are unwilling to help, at least for real. That one should be ashamed for asking, and simply keep to oneself, while in the United States being offered, opens up a conversation, and thus connecting. It's like holding a door! Do you understand why I don't feel well in Sweden?

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