• Sweden's news in English

Swedish store 'sorry' for dousing beggar

Ann Törnkvist · 21 Mar 2014, 15:11

Published: 21 Mar 2014 14:55 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Mar 2014 15:11 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A Swedish passer-by witnessed the event and quickly wrote about his shock and outrage on social media. The post soon made the rounds online. 

The supermarket chain Hemköp on Friday said it had apologized in person to the woman in question.

"Hemköp in all ways wants to express regret that Vanessa Ileva was doused with water in connection to the store manager at Stigbergstorget washing the windows without paying due attention," a statement read.

The head of communications for the entire chain, which has 180 stores across Sweden, told The Local she made sure to have a translator with her so that she and Ileva would be able to communicate as well as possible.

"She was very grateful that I was there and that we apologized, but I also wanted to hear how she had experienced the event," Maria Nobel told The Local on Friday. 

Ileva, 28, who told local media she had worked in Spain before travelling to Sweden, yelped and started crying after the dousing, drawing attention from nearby florist Lillian Pekkari who walked over to comfort her. But the store manager showed up again, Pekkari told the Metro newspaper. 

"He came out again with a new bucket of water that he threw at the next window pane just as aggressively," she said. 

When news broke of the dousing last week, several hundred people assembled outside the Hemköp store demanding an answer. The store manager was threatened and has since gone on sick leave, Sveriges Radio reported.

Spokeswoman Maria Nobel declined to comment on how the furore had affected the store staff. 

"It's of course been stressful, but out of respect for them I don't want to comment further," she said. 

The story hit a raw nerve with Swedes, many of whom have mixed feelings about the surge of people asking for money on street corners.

Nobel added no further explanation to the conclusion of the internal review that the store manager had not shown "due consideration", but she said that Hemköp understood why the incident had sparked such attention.

"Maybe because it's a hot topic. We understand fully why it caused such commotion," she said. "It was serious what happened and we take it seriously."

Story continues below…

Also on Friday, the Metro newspaper reported that an Instagram account had been set up to photograph and register beggars in Stockholm, with the aim to highlight what "politicians don't give a s*** about".  And on Thursday, the Expressen newspaper also reported that a small Ica store in Fornåsa had put up a sign discouraging its shoppers to give money.

"Please! Don't give the beggars anything," the post read,

Local resident Sanna Käck at first didn't believe the news and headed off to the store to check that the reporter hadn't been fooled by a photo montage. Surely a company wouldn't tell its customers what to do, she thought.

"I couldn't believe it when I saw it (the sign) with my own eyes," Käck reported back to Expressen.

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available