From Iceland — Sour grapes and stuff

Sour grapes and stuff

Published March 14, 2011

Sour grapes and stuff

Hi Grapevine,
sorry this is more of a rant about the Icelandic postal system – my record for an overseas item is 3 months… wonder if any readers can top that?
I lost an ebay order last year, the item was returned because it was a month before I came to collect it. I was away on tour at the time and the only days I was home were public holidays. Is it not reasonable to allow a little more time for collection? Or maybe a system where you can acknowledge the item and collect it in a time frame that suits you?
Now I have a remote control for my TV sitting in customs since last year and nobody thought to tell me. It was only when I wrote to the post office to find out what had happened to it. I can imagine the customs officers holding the TV remote at arms length saying, “this is for a foreinger, what can we do with it? Let’s just leave it and see what happens… if it is important he will claim it, if he doesn’t we will destroy it!!”
Now when I finally receive it I will probably have to pay the minimum import duty on the item which will be higher than the actual price of the object.
So, I pay $20 for an item which some company has taken the trouble to find the materials, assemble, quality control, post and packaging. Then I pay the same price to the Icelandic customs who do nothing except hold it!! Is it me, or is this a little unfair?
When is Iceland going to change to a fairer, more efficient import system? Or is this just to discourage foreign trading?
Best Underpants
Dear Tony,
You’re pretty much just preaching to the choir; the postal system here sucks, and everyone knows it. We think it’s probably due to them not having any competition. They think they can fuck with us all they like, and never have to feel sorry for it.
Well, they’re wrong. Dead wrong. See, what we here at the Grapevine like to do is send small pipe bombs on a timer filled with human faeces (preferably collected after a day or two of only eating at Metro) to Bárugata 41, and see how fast they deliver that shit with it stinking up the office, only for them to find out there is no Bárugata 41. It only goes up to 40.
We also like to send empty rolls of film around in packages that tick and have wires sticking out of them. When the postal service x-rays them, looking for bombs, we say that their x-rays destroyed our film, and demand our money back.
We send roughly eighty taxis to the homes of all the postal service supervisors every day, and anywhere between twenty and fifty pizzas, along with loan sharks, TV repairmen, Jehovah’s Witnesses and firemen, ensuring a near-constant level of traffic to their front doors, even in the middle of the night.
We often post packages with leaky containers of cat urine, and then release hundreds of stray cats into post offices and weld the doors shut with blowtorches. We like to watch and laugh as the pheromones in the urine drive the cats to mindless violence against all the postal workers who handled the packages.
While some might deem all this a tad excessive, we here at the Grapevine believe that a spirit of excellence needs to be maintained by our public servants, and if they choose to behave and perform their jobs at a quality level roughly equal to underfed baboons on dog sedatives, we will treat them accordingly.

Gargantuan “TAKK” for your editorial vision to feature short fiction about Iceland’s near-and-far future by Kristín Eiríksdóttir, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, Óttar Martin Norðfjörð, Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir, and Haukur Már Helgason. It’s important to me as a not-yet-fluent reader of Icelandic to have access to literary thinkers and writers in the country sharing work á ensku. Grapevine’s commission and publication supported texts of considerable insight, foresight, and innovation.
Meira, takk!
Love og ást,
Dear a.,
thank you! We were really proud of printing stories by these great writers, and hope to do more in the future. <3

Dear Grapevine,
I first want to thank you, before my speech turns sour. Thank you for excellent paper. I like your carefree attitude, not seemingly trying to please anyone. Like your wit, your choice of subjects. And the fact that if I have hard time understanding something that is going on in this society from the all the media, sea of information then you very often have nose for summing it up. So I go like “Ah, yes, ofcorse, bingo” and am more confident forming and standing by my opinion. Whether it is energy, Icesave, our immigrant polocy, self image, country folk, Facebook, psychology, etc. You seem so often be able to talk about matters in readable way. Don’t take your selves so seriously which is great. I love
reading everything your super team of music lovers write. And here my grape is turning sour. I read in your latest issue restaurant reviews and it was snappy as expected BUT giving Tapas Bar just three and a half Gs is unfair in my opinion. I go to restaurants a lot, especially now while up to my neck in work. I am directing a documentary film about vision traning and believe systems, wildly interesting, but another story.
In my experience Tapas Barinn never fails. The food is excelent as described so well in named review and what I really apreaciete is the service and atmosphere. Firstly the service mysteriously manages to be good always, in all the years I have gone there there has not been one fail step, I have never stepped out after a meal with mixed feelings, always happy with a warm, joyous feeling in my stomach. Like recently my prepaid visa card was burned, didn´t work, I had spend more than I thought. Has happend before and will happen again. I came for a quick meal at the end of my workday around ten o clock pm, kitchen open until eleven I think. And when I stood there really tired and the damn card didn´t work the waiters smiled and said “never mind, just come tomorrow”
It´s a secret I shall practice if/when I open cafe/restaurant that if something goes slightly off for the costumer or he/she has special needs then that is an opportunity to show in practice personal and warm service. As we know the buzz works wonders.
I would describe the service in Tapas; charming, helpful, warm, personal and caring. All in all outstanding. And secondly the atmosphere nourishes you as much as the food, nourishes your heart and soul. So dear couple of tired but talented reviewers next time go a bit later, not at 16:45, the place opens at 17:00 for god sake.
In the meantime I shall keep enjoying reading Grapevine and look forward to read about your second visit to Tapas Barinn, my all time favorite restaurant in Reykjavik and I give it four and a half G´s easy.
Gudmundur Jonas
Dear Gudmundur,
thank you so much for all of your kind words. They are most appreciated. It is the best praise we’ve ever had (you are probably exaggerating, though. That’s alright. We do it all the time)!!! Now, about that review. We are prone to agree with you on Tapas. It has rarely failed us. In fact, if you take a gander through our back issues, you can see that we have given them many raving reviews. However, we place full trust in our food reviewers’ assessment of any given place (otherwise we wouldn’t employ them), and if Catharine Fulton thought her experience at Tapas merited three and a half Gs, we don’t contest that (especially since she argues her point well).
A lot of our readers are only in Reykjavík for a short time, and will only dine at whatever establishment once. So it only seems rational to base restaurant reviews on how an establishment fares when a reviewer dines there, even if he or she knows they usually do a lot better. You know?
Anyway, it’s great to hear we are actively shaping your opinions (you zombie!). Takk!


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