Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Every City Is Different - Scandinavian Country

I always like to get a feel for what each city is doing in terms of its economy.  You can pretty much tell a town by the way it looks.   Coming up through the southwest we found some pretty run down places.  Same thing in Canada and Weyburn was a good example, Walmart and other big box or supermaket stores seems to be a bellwether in local economies. 

This morning I went for a walk that ended with a stroll through the Walmart.   It was early and easy to find employees in a good mood since many had just started their shift.   They all seem to like what they are doing and admit they won't get rich but that they are satisfied with the pay.   Who wouldn't be.  At the entrance to the store is a sign-up table for employment.   Cashiers $12.40, unloaders $13.40, floor clerks $12.20, and overnight stockers $14.20.   The Williston Walmart just two hours away is looking for cashiers at $17.25 an hour.   Truly amazing.  Walmart gets a bad rap at least in most of the world for being slave drivers and low-wage payers.

I noticed that prices overall are down about 35% if not more on most food items compared to our trip through the first three provinces of Canada.  Two cashiers say they can tell who is a Canadian shopper; someone who fills up on dairy products especially cheeses.  I guess it all comes out in the wash.  You get what you pay for and if you make more things cost more.   Canada looks nicer and the U.S. looks dumpier the further south you go.

A quick breakfast made with ciabbata bread, swiss cheese and an egg.  

We went on a tour of the Scandanavian Heritage Park.   It was a great tour given by Minot volunteers and a couple of those donated items to the Heritage House.   An original log cabin built in 1774 was disassembled and shipped here from Norway.   A cool log cabin complete with a fireplace stove and two bedrooms.   

There is also a Scandinavian church on the grounds and it is used for weddings and baptisms.  

The Heritage House is an original house built in Minot and moved to its current location after the great flood of 1969.  It was owned by a Scandinavian family who had it moved, continued to live in it until a few years ago.  One of the daughters is still living and is in her 90s.   It is all original including the wallpaper.   A retired couple gave us a tour of the house and they were fascinating people.   They shared stories of growing up in the Minot farming community.   They must be in their mid to late 80s.

We took a stroll through the old downtown section and found a beauty school.  They couldn't do much for me in terms of beauty, they said it was too late but did give me a good haircut.  The girl who did my hair is finishing her studies in the next month.  She has been studying for two years and will now fulfill the 1000 hour apprenticeship commitment before opening her own hair salon.  Very nice people, good instructors who checked their work and a great price.  

Today was TCBY waffle cone Wednesday.   We popped in for an ice cream and that was our lunch.  Still not sure what we will have for dinner.   There are lots of thrift stores here on the main drag so we took a peek in each one of them.  Weird for a small town but we found them to all be very expensive.   We picked up a couple of new cocktail glasses.   We have lost two on this trip.  One fell and the other I gripped to hard and it broke.  Good thing I'm cutting back on the weight training!

The weather turned to @!#$ today but there is promise of sunshine and warm weather tomorrow.  We may stay another day or move on east.   Only tomorrow will tell.


  1. My grocery shopping expert tells me that if you shop at Fry's or Basha's in Arizona the prices are not significantly different than at our Canadian stores, however Walmart seems to be able to knockdown the price of groceries significantly. One thing we did find out much to our chagrin is that when you cross back into Canada from the States you are only supposed to bring $20.00 worth of dairy along with you for each person. Dairy is one of the few things that appears to be exempt from NAFTA I guess.

  2. We find fruit and veggies to be priced about the same in Canada and the U.S., but it's dairy...eggs and milk...that are far more expensive in Canada. A gallon of milk runs between $4.50 and $6.50, and you're lucky of you can get a dozen eggs on sale for $2.49. Meat and chicken are also cheaper in the U.S.

  3. Chris, you should have let me know that you needed a haircut, I could have done it for you here when you were visiting at no charge.

    1. Thanks Ruth. I was going to ask you and then time flew by and before I knew it we were down the road!

  4. Seattle just mandated a $15 per hour minimum wage for all businesses in the city. It will be interesting to see what happens there. Will all the businesses that said they could not afford to operate cut and run? I doubt it.

  5. Always fun exploring new places a, talking to local people.
    We do find things much less expensive the best deals for us is fuel, alcohol, chicken and dairy. Lowers our budget significantly.

  6. Say.... maybe you should try lutefisk while you're there ;-)