Category Archives: Shopping

Elisa equals to afternoon of queuing

Yesterday I returned to the office after holidays. More about the feelings on the Post-holiday blues blog…

Anyway, after writing this post the amazing thing was that the return wasn’t that bad at all. The moment I stepped in the door of our office I remembered that I actually liked my job and my colleagues! Rather simple.

Also there was no caos or stress awaiting me, only suntanned colleagues and a relaxed atmosphere. So, today it was a lot easier to ride the bike to work in the morning.

Although my old anxiety remains, the one that tells that one these days I have to try something of my own… but till that day, and The Big Idea of what I actually want to do, my work is just fine.

However, the only setback at the office was that my work mobile phone (Nokia Lumia 800) had died during the vacation. No sign of life. This meant afternoon of queuing at Elisashopit in the centre of Helsinki. Elisa is one of the two big tele operators in Finland (the other one being Sonera).

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I spent about an hour waiting for my turn, with lots of other people. This wasn’t the first time I was doing this in my life, and it’s equally bad when you try to call to Sonera/Elisa customer service. The waiting times are amazingly long! Once again I asked myself the eternal question: why?

This problem has been going on for years so it’s kind of a national joke already. Everyone knows that the service is very very slow.

So would it be a completely unrealistic idea to hire at least one more person for every shop to serve the customers? This would surely make the customer satisfaction rates go up and in the end everyone would be happier – especially the poor customer service staff who have to listen to all the complaints.

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Home Alone. How to Make Yourself Happy?

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This is how my poor phone looked like this morning…

At 6am this morning I became widowed by football for a week, as my boyfriend headed for Gdansk, Poland, to follow the European Championships.

Mostly for sleeping badly, I’ve been tired all day and the first thing I did when I arrived at the office was to throw my iPhone to the floor so that the front glass broke.

And that was only the start. As the hours passed, my bad mood got worse. My boss seemed a bit negative to my ideas and I had only boring things on my to-do list. I felt so frustrated that I even surfed the web in search of The Perfect Job waiting for me. Well, I found nothing but still: it always makes me feel a bit better to realize that there are other jobs out there and I won’t be stuck in this office for the rest of my life. Well, hopefully not in any office. But still, I get very impatient when I get the urge to move on and feeling that my capacities are getting wasted in what I do.

Anyway, in the end breaking my mobile phone turned out to be the best thing of today. It gave me an excuse to leave the office early and take the metro till Itäkeskus, a big shopping centre and a suburb around it in Eastern Helsinki. My friends told me that there I’d find the fastest and cheapest place for repairing iPhones, iTapsa. And it truly was an excellent experience! My bad mood was wiped away when I stepped in a little room in a “hotel of offices” where this young guy smiled at me and said encouragingly: “it will take only half an hour”. As an extra, I got a new yellow cover for my phone. Pretty.

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Itäkeskus – a multicultural and a bit rusty shopping centre in Eastern Helsinki. Worth a visit, definitely. Credit: Wikipedia.

After that I checked out the shopping centre. I hardly ever go there as I live in the centre – It’s amazing how fast one gets stuck in the same quarters. Well, Itäkeskus, “Itis,” is a multicultural place full of life and people from all corners – like a mini-visit abroad.

This afternoon I also went running, as the weather was perfect – finally! Normally I can only run for 30 mins but today I run around for an hour! I felt proud when resting a moment by the sea in the new suburb Jätkäsaari. For now it’s a huge construction site – and I love it! I have a special feeling for abandoned wastelands… do idea why, maybe they make me feel free.

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Jätkäsaari under construction. I love to run around here at the construction site by the sea. Credit: Helsingin Sanomat.

After the run I went to the sauna of our building, alone. It felt so relaxing and I threw a lot of water to the hot stones enjoying the almost +100C.

A glass of wine after the sauna culminated the evening. And now… I’m watching football! Spain against Ireland, and Spain shall win. I was begged to check out the match and try to spot my boyfriend and his friends in the audience… an impossible task.

Well, what I learned today was that a good trick to enlighten any bad day is to do something completely new and unexpected. Even a small thing. Like taking the metro / bus to a new suburb and wonder around among strangers.

Another well-known trick is to do some physical exercise. The third one is to enjoy a glass of good red wine and the fourth… of course the sauna. All this really works. Now I’m smiling, even if this morning I felt like crying for all the frustration and my broken phone.

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Our tiny Urban Agriculture project makes me happy, too – our basilica growing on the window. The photo is a bit old, today the plants are a lot bigger!

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… and our amazing orchideas make me smile daily! They’ve been blooming for months already and it’s a little miracle for the little care we offer them…

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Crazy Days in Helsinki

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The entrance of Stockmann in Helsinki. Thousands of people coming and going. Credit: Suomen Kuvalehti.

Today it started – “Hullut päivät”, The Crazy Days in Helsinki. The streets are filled with people carrying yellow plastic bags with ghost images and people ask you whether you have already been “there”. Some announce that they hate it and would never go there (even if most of them have been there many times and will keep on doing it).

All this started as a marketing trick of a big traditional Helsinki department store, Stockmann. The first Crazy Days was organised in 1986, and nowadays it’s held twice a year for 5 days.

The event works so well, because there’s a clever psychological catch. Normally, Stockmann is considered quite expensive and posh, so during these 5 days “anyone” has the chance to feel a bit special and buy products that would normally be too expensive.

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Typical Hullut päivät bags, Helsinki. Credit: Yle.

Today I worked from my dear home office day and stayed in pyjama till early afternoon. Despite this, I really was working quite hard… In the afternoon I had to get dressed and go to my boxing lesson. And after jumping around and kicking the sack for an hour, my boyfriend called – from Hullut Päivät. So there I went. I have some strange, perversive love with this event. I hate the rush and people pushing you around but there’s something mysterious that draws me to Crazy Days…

Balloons and stuff. Buying is so much fun...

Maybe it’s the tradition. I remember Hullut päivät from my childhood, all the typical sweets and products that they still sell – only during these five days. It’s a carnaval! People queuing at 7am for getting cheap flight to Peking, London, Mexico City… whatever happens to be in the offer. They really sell everything from food, electronics, books and clothes to cars, boats, jacuzzis and trips to China. New items are revealed every day, so you never know what you might be able to buy. Well, even if you read it all in the catalogue.

In the end we spent a couple of hours wandering and looking at things. My boyfriend bought three CDs and I tried to find some cosmetics. But I’m becoming more selective – or stronger perhaps, as in the end I noticed that I really didn’t need anything. Well, till we found a tomato plant that we definitely wanted for our home! Probably we’ll have to back to Crazy Days before Sunday, as in the end we got too tired and confused and forgot to buy the thing…

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Flea markets make you happy. Why?

You can find kirpputoris’ (flea market, also literally) all over Helsinki. There are tiny ones put up among friends in someone’s livingroom and huge ones organised in old warehouses and such.  There are the daily self-service ones and the ones that attract hundreds of people to sell their extra stuff in a big hall early in the morning.

Valtterin kirpputori is such a place. A couple of times I’ve been selling there with my friend. We woke up at six, packed our sandwiches with all the stuff we hoped to sell and joined the crowd. Valtteri takes place mostly in weekends in an old warehouse in the neighbourhood of Vallila. The atmosphere is special.

I love kirpputoris. Why?

  • For me, kirpputori brings out a special solidarity among people. We are all there, together exchanging: one’s trash is another one’s treasure.
  • Buying gets personal. You chat with the person from who you are buying a thing and hear the history of the item. Today I bought a blouser and found out that the owner had bought it from Paris and it’s been dear to her. Nice.
  • It’s ecological, so you feel better buying, or “giving a new life to an item”.
  • You save money and find things and cool clothes that you never would at H&M etc. Kirpputoris’ got popular in Finland during the recession in 1990s. Today my boyfriend bought 11 good CDs for 6 euros.
  • All kinds of people go there: snobbish ladies and poor students, immigrants and even children (with a little help for the parents.)
  • It feels so good to get rid of things! I just packed 3 big sacks of clothes for kirpputori. And it’s a special feeling to meet the person who will be the next happy owner of your jeans, book, toaster, mug…
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