Sweden has become the first country to launch its own phone number, allowing people from anywhere in the world to pick up the phone and be connected to a random Swede in a matter of seconds.
In its latest PR stunt, the country’s tourism board has recruited thousands of Swedish volunteers to answer phones day and night in order to talk to randomers from across the globe about anything and everything they like.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 17,000 calls had been placed to the number, and the world has chatted with Swedes for more than 31 days in total. That comes in at an average call time of just over two and a half minutes.
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When City A.M. tried to get in touch this afternoon, the lines were jammed. Either that or Swedes had come to realise that everybody in the world who wanted to talk to them were journalists.
Two voice messages in Swedish later (all part of the experience, presumably), we realised that at 6pm local time on a Friday, it might just be that everybody in Sweden has better things to do. The folk at the tourist board were only at their desks from 9am-4pm today, clocking off for an hour’s lunch at 11.30am as well, apparently. Six-hour days must be part of the Swedish appeal.
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“In 1766, Sweden became the first country in the world to introduce a constitutional law to abolish censorship. To honour this anniversary, Sweden is now the first country in the world to introduce its own phone number. Call today and get connected to a random Swede, anywhere in Sweden and talk about anything you want," The Swedish Tourist Association said.
Sounds like your cup of tea? Or just want to dispel some British stereotypes. Give it a try on a local number: 020 3808 9899. Though maybe not this evening.