Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Do Swedes shower less than Americans?

OK, so I realize that the answer to the above question is 'No' or at least I am willing to make one of my usual broad assumptions that the answer is still 'No'. But I am trying to find a reason why the shampoo and conditioner bottles in this country are so miniscule.

In the past, I admit, shampoo has been something I stocked up on at Costco, because it was cheaper and a lot more convenient to fly back with 1 or 2 giant bottles of shampoo. And then we ended up bringing shampoo back for Swedish family members, because if you think it is rough for a family of two, imagine a family of 5, with three teenage girls, trying to keep everyone in shampoo for a week. That's a lot of little tiny bottles of shampoo.

But ever since the luggage restrictions have gotten stricter, shampoo and peanut butter were the easiest sacrifices to make. So, this weekend I found myself trying to find a decent size bottle of shampoo and it was a great big fail. I bypassed the grocery store and pharmacy and even tried Overskottsbolaget – but no. The largest I could find was still 8 oz of shampoo.

Even if I skip the Costco bottle and just go to CVS the average bottle of American shampoo is often double as big as the average Swedish one. The Costco bottle is 5 times as big.

I don't look at the price tags too much anymore (just too depressing) so I'd gladly pay more for a larger bottle, so I don't have to frantically try to get the bottom dregs of shampoo out of the bottle on such a frequent basis.

Come to think of it, this happens a lot with packaging of random household goods that families tend to need a lot of. And bigger packaging would be a hell of a lot more convenient. I'm not talking giant muffins here (tho that would be nice, too) I am talking larger cartons of milk – that would be great for families, too.

In Swedish they have a saying about something being an 'i-land problem' or a 'first world problem.' I do recognize that this very much falls into that category.  


  1. I don't wash my hair that often, so I haven't really noticed this. I mean, I know they are smaller than you can get in the US, but we just don't need much shampoo here even though we all have long hair. But you are def right about the milk!

  2. Everything is bigger in the US. Roads, trees, muffins, apples, onions, people ;) - the list could go for a loooooong time, but I'll stop. Anyway, of course the shampoo and conditioner bottles are bigger! Have almost forgotten what they look like in Sweden.

  3. You can get big 500ml bottles of shampoo in Willys. Think they're by some "celeb" hairdresser. Franck Provost, if memory serves me right.

  4. I live in Canada and now part time in Sweden. Most packages in the US are large, but the content very diluted with water, air, or other filler. In particular, this is the case with laundry detergent, windshield washer fluid, shampoo, instant coffee. Don't assume that twice the size will last twice as long. Americans like large packages that require a big SUV to haul all the filler home.