A weekend in…
Tipping? The concept of tipping is practised very loosely in Norway. Most Norwegians never carry cash, and most restaurants, bars, taxis and cafés use card machines where you’re shown the full amount and get the chance to add however much you want. Most Norwegians round up the final price to the closest full number, so if a drink costs 77 NOK, you round it up to 80 NOK. For huge meals with several courses you may add a bit more, but food and drink are already expensive and wages are high, so tipping is just a way to show that you really appreciated the service and food. Some places include a service charge on the bill, so no extras need to be added unless you’ve ended up with lots of spare change that weighs you down. Tipping is a good way to get rid of coins, in a country where fewer and fewer places accept cash as payment.
Being loud? On the surface, Norwegians are quiet and reserved people, and unless alcohol is involved, people keep their voices respectfully quiet. You won’t often hear shouting or loud people on the streets or in shops or restaurants. However, when alcohol is involved, Norwegians tend to loosen up a bit and the volume rises, as well. Most areas, even in central Oslo, have residential spots, so be respectful when leaving bars or clubs as there will be people living nearby. The reservedness also includes talking to people you don’t know. Walking up to strangers to chat is unheard of, unless you need to ask for directions.
Being late? Don’t. Being late is seen as disrespectful, and if asked, most Norwegians will list people being late as their number-one pet peeve. If dinner starts at 5pm, be there at 5pm, not at 5.30pm, or the food may well be gone. Of course, accidents happen and every now and then being late can’t be helped, but if you know that you’re about to be late, let the rest of the group know. If notice is given, people are usually very forgiving. If you’re late to an appointment, call in advance and let them know; often they can rearrange to accommodate you. If no notice is given, there tends to be a ten-minute window before the appointment is cancelled, in which case you might still be charged.