• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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

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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden climbs global competitiveness ranking
The good news also came with some caveats. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

The country moved up three places in the top ten of the latest edition of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index.

Furious elk mum attacks Swede, breaks his arm
You talkin' to me? Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

It came back and attacked him not once, but twice.

Report: Stockholm is at risk of a housing bubble
Apartments in Stockholm. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Stockholmers are the third most likely to experience a housing bubble in their city, according to an international ranking.

The Local List
Reverse culture shock: the troubles of leaving Sweden
Does it get more Swedish than this? Photo: Emelie Asplund/imagebank.sweden.se

Why is that stranger talking to me in the elevator?!

Police close Facebook thread after call for help derails
A file photo of police cars on Gotland not related to the article. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Gotland Police Facebook post asking the public for information about an unprovoked attack on two boys had to be closed because the comments section spiraled out of control.

US election
What Americans in Sweden think of Trump and Clinton
The Local spoke to Americans in Sweden after the first US presidential debate. Photo: David Goldman/AP/TT

The Local spoke to four US voters based in Sweden about who they are planning on voting for in the November election, and it looks like it's complicated.

Presented by Emirates Center for Strategic Studies
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
File photo: sanjitbakshi/Flickr

As Sweden prepares to take a seat on UN Security Council next year, Abu Dhabi-based scholar and author Dr. Jamal Sanad al-Suwaidi argues for a greater UN role to fight extremist ideologies like those that fuel Isis and other terror groups.

Video
Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Should a condom be sent into space? It's the burning question some Swedes have posed. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Craig Rubadoux/AP

'We can't be sure what alien sex organs look like.'

Mum gives birth on toilet after being told to take paracetamol
File photo of a baby not related to the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A woman has described how she was told to take a painkiller when she phoned a hospital in Ystad, southern Sweden, in pain. Just moments later she gave birth to a baby in the toilet.

Indians in Sweden told to be wary of travel document scam
File photo of a man using a phone not related to the story. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The Embassy of India in Stockholm has urged Indian citizens in Sweden to be wary of scammers who ask for money to fix fabricated errors in travel documents.

Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
Gallery
People-watching: September 9th-11th
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,961
jobs available