COPENHAGEN: Expensive First Impression

Denmark is expensive, but there is universal health care and everyone is as happy as can be, so it’s okay. Not.

As a temporary resident of Denmark, I receive the health care benefits. Imagine that, “free” healthcare. However, until the moment I get sick and need a doctor, I will continue to wince at the prices.

First of all, going to the grocery store requires me to go to the mall, which happens to be the largest mall in Denmark. The mall is really not that big, but Bilka, the Walmart of Denmark, just happens to be situated in the rear.

Although it is similar to Walmart, you won’t be able to get a pack of 18 plastic hangers for a dollar here. Get ready to spend about 5 dollars on a pack of 10 and then feel even more defeated when your winter clothes are still living on the floor of your room.

Okay, maybe this isn’t the best comparison, but it’s clearly a soft spot. Although, I do wonder how Bilka treats their employees and where the products are made, but that may require some research in a language that I don’t comprehend.

Lets talk about soda. In the US I can get a 16 oz. soda for about a $1.50, if I am not mistaken. This is a picture I took at a convenience store called Elite Købmand. Faxe Kondi is basically a sweeter Sprite, but that’s beside the point… These sodas cost $3.54. I know I shouldn’t be drinking soda anyway, but who am I without Ginger Ale? The reasoning behind a $3.54 soda lies within Denmark having a nondeductible value added tax (VAT) of 25%. Woah. So that is what it’s like to live in a country with a high quality of life.

I guess hangers and soda are not particularly necessities, so lets talk about something that I actually need.

Over the weekend, my Cross Cultural Communication class went to Sweden for a study trip. With about 48 of us, it was easiest and cheapest to stay in hostels. I just so happened to be the unfortunate one to be the breakfast, lunch, and dinner of bed bugs.

After one night of trying not to scratch, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I went to a pharmacy and barely found anything. All I wanted was a cheap cream to take away the itch. Ideally I wanted a cooling cream because we all know that’s the best, but I was open to new products and prices. I was so happy to find the product on the far left considering it was a gel and has a cooling effect. However, the lack of a clearly labeled price gave me a false hope, as it is 99.95 Kroner. That means that small bottle is $17.75. Are my bug bites and sanity worth $17.75? Obviously not, considering I bought the one next to it because it was cheapest.

Although Denmark is expensive, it’s still the happiest country in the world. I hope I haven’t deterred you from ever visiting. I’ll blog about the awesome aspects of Denmark soon!