{dials} "Bork, bork, bork, bork!"{click}
April 7, 2016 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Are you lonely? But your relatives just want to talk about that election, and your friends about their problems, and your work colleagues about your boss? Then dial The Swedish Number, get connected to a random Swede and talk about anything! (Call charges apply. A service provided by the Swedish Tourist Association.)
posted by Wordshore (48 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Nice try, it's April 7th folks. Not falling for it.


I wonder if this is free if I'm on wifi with my GoogleFi phone... nah, I'll skip it, my southern accent would be well nigh unintelligibly for them I bet.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:13 PM on April 7, 2016


Cute. Weird, but cute.
posted by happyroach at 12:20 PM on April 7, 2016


Why am I tempted by this? I hate taking to people.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:22 PM on April 7, 2016 [27 favorites]


God damn, Sweden is going to get so many prank calls...
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:25 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Swedish blue, kinda.
As if I hadn't enough Swedes to talk to or about.
posted by Namlit at 12:31 PM on April 7, 2016


Hallå? Ja, det är den här hunden.
posted by briank at 12:32 PM on April 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Somebody please call and relate what happens.
posted by amtho at 12:32 PM on April 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Somebody please call and relate what happens.

Oh please oh please oh please Cortex and Jessamyn, do this while recording the monthly podcast. Please!
posted by Wordshore at 12:34 PM on April 7, 2016 [36 favorites]


I want to both call this number and staff this number.
posted by bleep at 12:38 PM on April 7, 2016 [6 favorites]




Oh my country. First @sweden, now this! Your faith in the general public is staggering.

I hate taking calls, but I'm strangely tempted to play the stranger call roulette just to see what it's like. Very curious to see if anyone will report back from either end!
posted by harujion at 12:44 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


If the knowledge of Sweden that I've gleaned from Bergman films is anything to go by, those are gonna be some dark conversations.
posted by Bromius at 12:53 PM on April 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


If the knowledge of Swedish that I've gleaned from Tom Hanks films is anything to go by, those are gonna be some awkward conversations.
posted by pupsocket at 12:58 PM on April 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


I wonder if you get more interesting conversations if you wait until it's about 1am on a Friday night in Sweden before you call...
posted by 256 at 1:01 PM on April 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Shockwave Rider come to pass:
Precipice turns out to be a Utopian community of a few thousand people. The nearest comparison would be an agrarian, cottage industry community designed by William Morris. Precipice is also the home of "Hearing Aid", an anonymous telephone confession service accessible to anyone in the country. Hearing Aid is also known as the "Ten Nines", after the phone number used to call it: 999-999-9999. People call the service, a human operator answers, and they simply talk while the operator listens. Some rant, others seek sympathy, still others commit suicide while on the phone. Hearing Aid's promise is that nobody else, not even the government, will hear the call. The only response Hearing Aid gives to a caller is "Only I heard that, I hope it helped."
Cite.

Also, we seem to have killed the website.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:04 PM on April 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


I just did this. I spoke to a man walking his dog in Gothenburg. Very nice man.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:06 PM on April 7, 2016 [36 favorites]


dial-a-swede? do we really need instant gratification? whatever happened to being patient? if i want to talk to a swede, i can wait a day or two for their flight to arrive.
posted by indubitable at 1:08 PM on April 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


US number is 1-301-276-0600.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:11 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh. Swedes and the telephone. This so reminds me of my son.

So...
My ex, my kid's mother, at one moment in time had a part-time job as an organist in the rather picturesque old church of Brämhult . The minister was a sixty-ish somewhat pompous man who had seen it all, wasn't all that much into music, and found it totally ok. to call in his hymns and other musical demands at the last minute, to the organist's utter distress and stress. Often were the occasions when she summoned me, to help her writing her preludes.
Naturally, the kids didn't take long to pick up on the strife-y vibe going on between their mom and Åke, as he was called.

One day, nobody but kids and cat are at home when the telephone rings and Åke is there to ask some questions or whatnot.
So my little seven-year-old son picks up the phone, and, hearing who's there, spontaneously switches to a south-Swedish dialect (no idea where he picked that up), stubbornly maintaining that he is "Sven-Bertil" and has nothing to do with any organist or Brämhults kyrka or whatever--while his big sister rolls over the floor laughing in the background. As the story goes, he totally fooled the poor Åke who never was told the truth...
posted by Namlit at 1:12 PM on April 7, 2016 [19 favorites]


Also, we seem to have killed the website.

Those responsible have been sacked.
posted by The Bellman at 1:17 PM on April 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


Strangely, the first time I had web access decades ago, I began by looking at a few institutions I knew had "webpages": my hometown public library, big movie studios and whatnot. I then began searching for things I did not have any personal knowledge of. The most exotic thing I found that day decades ago was the Stockholm phone book. Here are the numbers of actual Swedish people! Up until that point if I wanted to find a number in another city in my own country I would have no way save to call directory assistance or to head to the main library where they had phone books from all over. But at my computer scree I could see phone numbers in Stockholm. The miracle of modern times.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:25 PM on April 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


Also, we seem to have killed the website.

Those responsible have been sacked.


Not in Sweden. Those responsible say "how sad, that you're thinking so badly of us" and just go on with their stuff.
posted by Namlit at 1:46 PM on April 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


I called.

I had a very long, very nice conversation.

I'm grinning. That was really great. I wish more countries had this.
posted by Cozybee at 1:47 PM on April 7, 2016 [22 favorites]


Also, we seem to have killed the website.

You mean we Børk Börk Børked it.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:50 PM on April 7, 2016 [12 favorites]


Why am I tempted by this? I hate taking to people.

I know! I hate the phone, and I'm so so so so shy and awkward and inept when trying to converse with any stranger anywhere, but this seems like SUCH a delightful activity to do, if only I were a different person. Can someone who is good at this sort of thing call and tell whoever you speak with Hi from me, your introverted Swedish-American imaginary friend?
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:56 PM on April 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


RIght now it says 27% of calls are from the U.S. And 27% of calls are from Turkey.

"Hi. We hear some of you are reasonably cool about refugees ... . You doing anything oh say July 4th - July 18th?"
posted by feral_goldfish at 2:01 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is a great idea and I was very relieved to get to the part where it said the people on the other end had to sign up to be ambassadors. The language (a random Swede anywhere in Sweden) made me wonder if it was just robocalling the whole county. That would be not so great.

I might give it a go, but I can't mention it to my older relatives. The Norwegian heritage runs deep in half of my family and we don't like the Swedes for some reason I've never quite figured out.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 2:15 PM on April 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


Hearing Aid is also known as the "Ten Nines", after the phone number used to call it: 999-999-9999. People call the service, a human operator answers, and they simply talk while the operator listens

This is a genius idea.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:22 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Other rutabagas are available. I prefer the 900 number myself.
posted by marienbad at 2:38 PM on April 7, 2016


Oh please oh please oh please Cortex and Jessamyn, do this while recording the monthly podcast.

The BBC world service did this last night (my time). Afterwards they made it very clear that they'd asked permission to broadcast it.
posted by adept256 at 3:30 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


God damn, Sweden is going to get so many prank calls...

"Hello, do you have Queen Christina in a can?"
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:40 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Is it true that every Swede is given a guitar and joins a heavy metal band at age 13?"
posted by Existential Dread at 4:05 PM on April 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Is it true that every Swede is given a guitar and joins a heavy metal band at age 13?

It's not. Sweden does not place any genre constraints on the bands.

(The amount of (to name four styles off the top of my head) twee folk, chamber pop, gothic electropop and muscular bro-house coming out of Sweden (the third largest producer of recorded music, after the US and UK) will surely attest to that.)
posted by acb at 4:20 PM on April 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have a job in a public-facing call center.

You poor, dumb bastards. You don't know what you've done.
posted by Scattercat at 4:44 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Hello, is this Howlin' Pelle Almqvist? If not, can you pretend to be Howlin' Pelle?"
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:17 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hallå? Nej då, jag är ingen hund.
posted by Bella Donna at 6:03 PM on April 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Do you think they can help me assemble a MALM?
posted by schmod at 6:04 PM on April 7, 2016 [14 favorites]


Haha that Adweek article has great comments.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 6:08 PM on April 7, 2016


Swedish zero is best zero.
posted by ostranenie at 6:38 PM on April 7, 2016


I called. Had a wonderful conversation with a very nice lady. I asked about gay life in Sweden and she put her grandson on the phone! What a hoot!

Whatever that cost me, it was worth it.
posted by james33 at 3:28 AM on April 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


I reeeealllly want to do this!
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 3:48 AM on April 8, 2016


More results from conversations... (from NPR)
posted by wallawallasweet at 5:10 AM on April 8, 2016


It's not. Sweden does not place any genre constraints on the bands.

The metal numbers are a bit off, since everyone who does metal typically plays in eight metal bands.
posted by effbot at 5:53 AM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


This is likely above all a good thing for Sweden, because what we normally get is a variant of this:

"Is this Erik Johansson speaking?"

"Nääjnajoj, not really, this is Johan Eriksson."

"Ah, hej, this is Hans Petterson, I think I got the wrong number, sorry!"

etc.
posted by Namlit at 6:45 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Had a wonderful conversation with a very nice lady. I asked about gay life in Sweden and she put her grandson on the phone!

And kids, that's how I met your father.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


This news broke while I was visiting Sweden for the first time, which was a little odd.

You mean we Børk Börk Børked it.


[puts on Actually Hat] ACTUALLY, the ø is not a letter in Swedish.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:43 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


ACTUALLY, the ø is not a letter in Swedish.

[puts on Actually Actually Hat] Well, it is a valid letter in Swedish domain names and official Swedish documents (as part of the extended character set required to "represent personal, company, and place names" and write all Swedish minority languages, cf also SS 66 22 41 group 2).

But ok, it's not part of the usual A-Ö alphabet :-)
posted by effbot at 4:02 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


From local news: 63,000 calls have been placed this far, from 173 countries, and apparently the prime minister is now part of the rotation.

(some extreme right-wing videos under related at the moment, so be careful.)
posted by effbot at 2:36 AM on April 15, 2016


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