The flashes of pink in the photograph below are two of my favourite accessories, and have been for almost two years now.
One is a pink tassel. Unlike most tassels, this one is really good quality. It is very full, soft and supple, and has not unravelled. There are a few little wisps of leather starting to show now but other than that it is in great shape. I clip it onto every bag I use.
The other is a pink scarf by Marlene Birger, the Danish designer behind Day Birger et Mikkelsen and By Malene Birger. I have always wanted something by Marlene Birger, but they were always a bit pricey for me.
One day in 2020 I was in town and noticed a pop-up outlet with everything at 70% off retail price. There was no name but the outlet carried mostly Scandinavian designers. The close were from the current season and one season previous. There were clothes and accessories for both men and women.
I bought the scarf and tassel, and when I received my receipt I saw that it was the airport retail company. I spoke to the manager and he said that it was stock from all the closed terminals at several airports in Sweden.
Stockholm’s Arlanda airport alone has five terminals. All five were closed briefly, when the pandemic firsst hit, after which terminal 5 (previously the international terminal) was opened with skeleton staff and services, and responsible for all flights – domestic and international. So all the shops, restaurants, bars in terminals 1 to 4 were closed with little to no notice. Terminal five closed almost all shops. This meant that the companies servicing the airport had huge amounts of stock that was going to waste. They could not have closing down sales because, well, it was an airport and people don’t just go there to shop. They just had to close from one hour to another. All the satellite business – car hire, parking, airport buses – was gone. With the duty free shops, once the season was over, they could never sell items at full price, even if the terminal re-opened again.
Things are slowly returning to normal, but when we went to Tenerife in January there were several shops that had closed completely, and all flights were still operating out of only one terminal.
It’s not something you think about generally, unless you fly a great deal, but airports are like small towns in a way, and they were totally hammered by the pandemic. Frankfurt Airport is Germany’s biggest employer, with almost 100 000 people working there under normal circumstances, in over 450 companies, government agencies etc.
A couple of years ago, I used to travel between Gothenburg and Stockholm a lot. I made a similar observation that at the downstair hub between the Central station and the Underground (T-centralen) it felt like a small town within the City. There are all kinds of shops, cafés and even a Coop. So going from one place to another, you really don’t need to visit Stockholm proper at all.