When a new fad hits a country of 330,000 people, especially when about half of those people live in a single metropolitan area, you can expect it to catch on quickly and fade almost at the same rate. This year was no exception.
Costco Fever: Everyone had something to be happy about when Costco’s impending arrival was announced. Consumers were ready for low prices, and the company has a reputation of treating its workers well. The only people who weren’t so excited were Iceland’s retail giants, who have enjoyed a virtual monopoly in this country for many years now. While Costco enjoyed an initial spurt of fair repute—it was even selling bottles of water for less than what the recycling centre pays you for plastic bottles—it wasn’t long before prices reached levels comparable to just about any other retail outlet in Iceland. Ah well.
H&M Fever: It’s hard to tell what helped this retail outlet more—the anticipation, or the criticism that their products are mostly made in sweatshops. Whichever it was, it wasn’t long before the bloom was off this rose. It’s still here, but you won’t have a hard time making your way through the crowd.
Sous Vide: What do footbaths, Soda Stream dispensers and sous vide cookers all have in common? They all fit perfectly in the back of your closet, gathering dust. Sous vide distinguishes itself as being particularly useless: all the pleasure of waiting for hours for something to finish cooking, with the added pleasure of having to vacuum pack the food first. Bon appetit!
Fidget Spinners: Granted, this craze is not specific to Iceland, but it was heavily marketed here. In particular, it was plugged with the possibly insulting caveat that the autistic and those with ADHD would really have fun playing with these gadgets that amount to basically a glorified paperweight. You can now find fidget spinners being sold out of giant boxes at any given corner store for about 400 ISK a pop, give or take.
Snapchat Cleaners: This is the most inexplicable craze of 2017, bar none. Perhaps it was the weird combination of a social media platform best known for sending nudes to strangers and watching someone scrub a bathtub, but the Snapchat Cleaners became minor celebrities in their own right. One of them, Sólrún Diego, even published a book that outsold more established Icelandic authors, and no one was more surprised than she was.