Countries like Norway are in stark contrast to countries like Jamaica. Nordic countries have long made it clear to citizens that social provisions are costly. For much of their modern history, they levied heavy taxes to pay for these, and people generally accepted the wide range of benefits they could obtain. Countries like Jamaica levied taxes but showed little real benefits in exchange.
But, Norway, like many others, also saw the need for user fees, not general taxes, and these made sense for public and private goods and services.
So, I was only half shocked to find I needed to pay 20 krone (US$2.50) to relieve my bladder. I was more surprised that no payment options were off-limits–a chip and PIN card reader sat on the table manned by the loo-keeper.
I was even more surprised by her unmoving attitude to my suggestion that I could pee without paying. In her words, "Yes, you can pee in your pants, instead!" I looked for nearby trees. 😊
When costs are explicit, we tend to start counting and valuing what we do. A beer at 80 krone is good value? A hamburger at 190 krone?
Of course, I was ready to stock pile on peeing when I found I could go for free, in a restaurant. Oh, dear! That doesn't work.
I saw hordes of tourists lining up at Lillehammer to go for 10 krone a pop. They know value when they see it. 🤔
One lady couldn't figure out the turnstiles to get out, and looked ready to pay again for that.
But, once we know that it costs to get rid of waste, we can think of the input-output analysis. Drink for 80 (or up to 150; it's called IPA for a reason 😂), shed for 20.
Value for money?
Some wonder what you get for your spending a pee for a pee. Upkeep and maintenance? Soft lights and music? Nice paper? Friendly smiles? Tea and cake?
Is it enough to offer relief?
How much of the cost is covered?
In rules-abiding societies, people don't break rules often, even in distress. Sure, some late night revellers may jump the gate and heave many sighs of relief, but such offices are often closed in the evenings. That avoids such behaviour and those who may find 20 krone for a quiet night with hot and cold running water to be good value. (This problem was raised by a bar/restaurant in Oslo.)
In all this, it's intriguing if one's self control can be a function of budgetary needs.
I was amazed that, having seen the need to pay my need to pee receded, and I was able to hold out for another hour. Maybe, like many things we think are free we tend to want to use more of them than we need.
A penny for your thoughts. 🤔🙄