Museum Mail: The Norwegian Wine Surplus

I received this message from a reader in Norway:

Thank you for your list of good April Fool jokes.

I think the best jokes are where you get people to do something stupid, but still rather harmless. My personal favourite is from my home country, where there is a state "Wine Monopoly" — the only place you can buy wine and liquor. You find a wine monopoly in most cities, several in the larger ones.

One year in the late 1940ies, one of the major newspapers announced that the wine monopoly had surplus stock of red wine, but lack of empty bottles. Customers were asked to bring buckets and would then get red wine for free or very cheap. Lack of bottles sounded absolutely reasonable just after the second world war, so when the wine monopoly opened at 10 am, there were long queues outside some places. People who read about the splendid offer in the paper on the bus or tram on their way to work, quickly went to hardware stores to buy themselves a bucket and line up.

Amusingly, many people realised that it was a hoax either when in the queues or on their way to the wine monopoly, and then — embarrased — just left the bucket somewhere along the streets or in a corner. So in the afternoon, you could find buckets everywhere around many towns.

That's a good one, and I'd never heard of it before. Unfortunately the language barrier makes it difficult for me to find out any more details about this, such as the exact date when it happened. But perhaps someone out there knows more details!

April Fools Day

Posted on Wed Apr 03, 2013


Hey, I read Norwegian and I can confirm that the hoax newspaper article is real(the fact that it was printed, that is)

It can be read here

And in Aftenposten's official archives:

It is printed on the front page of the morning edition of Aftenposten, April 1, 1950.

It's hard to verify the reaction to the hoax (people leaving buckets in the streets), though there are lots of testimonials from people who are still alive today.
Posted by Magnus  in  Glasgow  on  Fri Apr 05, 2013  at  03:39 PM
My grandfather told me about this, and an addition to the story was that on 1,st of april 1950 a man came a bit late to work, and all the other coworkers have already read the paper and found out that it was an april fools joke, but they convinced the man who came late to work, that he should buy som buckets and go down to the Wine monoploly, and get som free wine. He was convinced and rushed out to buy buckets, and went to the Wine monopoly store to get som free wine. There he was informed by the store manager that this was a april fools day joke. The man was dissapointed at first, but the he got an idea. He bought many winebottles, and opened them an poured the into the buckets, and went back to work and told everybody that he got free wine in the buckest from the Wine monopoly. The coworkers didnt beleive him at first, but after a taste of real wine they were convinced, and everybody went out to buy bucket and pick up free wine at the Wine monopoly. Haha, the man who was fooled first got the last laugh.
Posted by Another Norwegian  in  Norway  on  Fri Jun 21, 2013  at  02:55 PM
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