A new campaign from Sweden encourages what would normally be regarded as "douche bag" behavior on public transport: taking up seats with bags. But these days, it's all for social distancing purposes.
Agency Forsman & Bodenfors in Gothenburg has created free tote bags to be handed out to passengers of Västtrafik, the area's public transportation system. The "No Douche Bag" comes in a striped pattern designed to resemble barricade tape. It's emblazoned with the words, “I’d love to sit next to you, just not right now.”
The first edition of 1,000 tote bags will be distributed for free at the Central Station in Gothenburg, Sweden, today (Sept. 30) and If the interest is high, Västtrafik will produce more.
"Usually, bags on the seat are certainly not something we promote," said Lars Backström, CEO at Västtrafik, in a statement. "But during a pandemic, it’s actually an act of consideration. This simple reminder is another way of encouraging individuals to take personal responsibility, which is fundamental in the Swedish strategy."
Sweden, remember, was one of the only European countries that did not mandate a lockdown on its citizens during the pandemic.
Backström added that the idea also speaks to Swedes' reticent nature. "If you’re on the bus or the tram and feel worried about people being too close, it’s sometimes hard to tell a fellow passenger to take a step back, not least for us reserved Swedes," he added.