We are taught as youngsters that if we don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. I am about to break that rule by mentioning some things I did not like while living here in Finland. I will be leaving the country for good early next week. This is a followup to my post about the things I did like.
Before mentioning these things, let me add a disclaimer. Every country has their list of social ills. One of my former colleagues reminded me of that today when he mentioned that one of the things on my list is worse in my own country. He is right. By and large, compared to other nations, Finland is a nice place to live. But here are some of my personal pet peeves about the place:
Public drunkenness — Winos are generally not aggressive here, but they are a nuisance. It is difficult to ride public transportation when your part of the bus stinks of alchohol. Plus, when people get drunk they are loud, something very uncommon in Finland. The peace and quiet of the night is broken by sounds of a shrieking boozer at times.
Bullies, brats, and punks — I blame the parents for this one. In my own opinion, while Finnish parents love their kids many of them have forsaken the responsibility for disciplining them or have depended on the schools to do it for them.
Dogs — I have nothing against man’s best friend. In fact, we have talked about getting one at times. But I suppose my problem isn’t with the animal really. Again, I blame the human who is supposed to be controlling them. Generally dogs are well behaved in Finland, and that is to the credit of their owners. But the humans also let their dogs produce their droppings in some very aggravating places. There is nothing more irritating than walking out into fresh-fallen snow, only to have the ambience ruined by yellow or brown smears on or near the walk way.
Poor management — I have worked in two different organizations over the years and both of them had higher ups who created havoc among their employees. As a result, the morale stunk in both places. Thankfully, my colleagues always made it pleasant to work in these places otherwise. (There goes my next job reference!)
Poor customer service — Many Finns act like they are doing the customer a favor when they are asked for help. Or, they don’t help at all. Just today I was in an office where the employee seemed annoyed that the work I had asked them to do might involve a little extra trouble (at least from their point of view).
I will stop here. I still have family and friends in Finland. And most of them would admit to these ills in their country. But I could understand why the natives would take offense at a foreigner criticizing their c0untry. I don’t like it when foreigners do it when they visit my country either.
I intend to sum up my experience in Finland in one last post before I leave. I’ll make up to anyone who might be offended in that piece.