Swedish Language Blog

Varor Du Brukar Köpa? Posted by on Oct 16, 2008 in Culture

I’ve been down with flu for quite some time now, and needless to say, I got bored. So bored in fact, that I actually started to read the stuff that the Ica supermarket chain sends us in the mail. Yeah, I was THAT bored. But I’m glad I read it, because now I’m thinking whether or not I should actually email Ica and tell them they’re about 15 years too late to claim to be “first in the world.”

But let’s start from the beginning. Ica runs a few different kinds of supermarkets, all with the word “Ica” in their names. You have a regular Ica, Ica Maxi and Ica Kvantum.

Ica Maxi is the largest store they have. And just so that every nimwit knows it’s large, they call it “maxi,” which for me always brings sanitary pads to mind. Don’t you think Ica Maxi would be a great name for a maxi pads brand? You’d have your Always, your Libresse, and your Ica. Sadly, it isn’t so. It’s just a supermarket. And just how big is it? Think of a midget Walmart and you have your average Ica Maxi store.

They sell everything, from toilet brushes to school supplies to frozen foods. And their prices are OK. At least in our town. But you can get even better deals if you use their loyalty store card. If you spend 2500 SEK in one month, you receive a coupon for 25 SEK. Isn’t that great? No, I know, not really. But hey, I’ll take what I can get. And because to get this coupon you need to swipe your card every time you buy something, the company knows exactly what you’re buying and where.

Once a month you get your Ica Buffé magazine, along with a selection of discount coupons and your “big” coupon for 25 SEK (could be 50 SEK if you manage to spend 5 thousand a month).

And this month, this is what Ica had to say:

“Lägre pris på varor Du brukar köpa!
Vi på ICA år först i världen att testa personliga erbjudanden till alla våra stamkunder. Vi kallar det “Mina varor.”

Which means:
“Lower prices on items you regularly buy!
We at Ica are first in the world to test personal offers to all our regular customers. We call it “my products.”

Which is indeed very sweet, but totally incorrect. “First in the world”? In their dreams, maybe, yeah. Shoprite in the US (and I think A&P too) offered a similar scheme back in the mid-90s.

And why is it that they say “varor du brukar köpa”? I haven’t bought any of this stuff in the last year! My suspicion is, they look for a thing you bought maybe once, because they know you’re not likely to buy it again, and so they give you a discount on it.

I much preferred the previous coupon version, where they randomly picked sale items and they were on sale for everybody. At least that way I was open to trying new things, because a girl just can’t resist it if it’s on sale, right?

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  1. Curt:

    Yeah, I got it too 🙂 I wonder if there´s some cultural habit in Sweden to know best, be first etc. ? I suspect we´ve been fenced in too long… Just a little hard-drawn, but anyway: It´s just a few years since we got more than 2 TV-channels. There´s still only 2 morning- & 2 evening- nationwide daily newspapers…

    Keep bloggin´


  2. ceci:

    hehehe so it occurs all over the world!!! i am sure, they pick out what you had only a time hehehe marketing!
    nice weekend, and i hope not so cold! and good you are better nu

  3. ceci:

    and curt, a great blogg you have, with a lot of information, thanks for share it!

  4. David from Oregon:

    I got very sick with the flu once a long time ago – the “russka snuva”. Is it common for people to get flu immunization shots in Sweden?

  5. Peter Miller:

    I have to start writng christmas letters to relatives in Sweden.

    I have started my second level in Swedish and wanted to write the letter this year all in swedish!

    What is proper way to start and end letters to close relatives other that Hej or mvh?

    In English we usually start the letter by saying:

    Dear Anna Karin

    Dear Mom

    Dear Eva Marie and family

    When ending a letter we usually just say:

    Thinking of you this Christmas

    Love from Peter and Diane


    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

    How would you say the above correctly in Swedish?