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Wednesday's papers: Lost property, petrol price jumps and permanent jobs

The price of petrol can be reliably expected to rise every Wednesday.

A petrol pump
It might be best to wait a few days to fill up the tank, rather than buying petrol on a Wednesday. Image: Juha Kivioja / Yle
Yle News

Helsingin Sanomat has a deep dive into the workings of the Lost Property Service, Finland's largest provider of lost property services.

The company has come under repeated scrutiny for the charges it imposes on those looking for their mislaid items. HS says that in 2017 a customer in Lappeenranta was charged more than 70 euros for a phone call that lasted under a minute and the 24 minutes of waiting time before it was answered.

The office has been forced to close its outlets in the Helsinki region for a month until 11 October, after regulators found the charges it imposed were too steep.

HS has looked into the business and found that it is not very profitable despite its repeated run-ins with authorities over the cost of calls to check if an item was found, and the costs it imposes to reunite owners with their property.

The lost-and-found industry in Finland is dominated by this one firm, which has taken contracts from several of the biggest players in Finnish transport.

HS reports that in 2012 it received 60,000 euros from HSL, Helsinki's regional transport body, for looking after and returning lost items. HS reports that the current deal, which runs until 2026, involves no payment at all, with any profit for the firm coming from the charges it levies on the unfortunate owners of items that end up in its offices.

The company first denied it signed any 'zero payment' contracts, and when asked specifically about the HSL deal said it would not comment on individual agreements.

Fuel fluctuations

Iltalehti has an old favourite midweek story: changes in petrol prices through the week. Every Wednesday the cost of fuel rises, sometimes by as much as 30 cents a litre.

That can make a huge difference if you need to fill the tank. IL says that some social media campaigns suggest this is down to illegal collusion between petrol companies, but when the firms themselves are asked, they deny they're to blame.

Instead they pass the buck to hauliers. The trucking outfits that actually deliver fossil fuels do, for whatever reason, increase their prices on a Wednesday.

This is, according to IL, probably down to something known as the Edgeworth price cycle. Firms are not illegally communicating their plans to raise or lower prices, but instead they follow each other. In Norway a 'price leader' usually takes the first step, but in Finland a similar figure has not yet been identified.

Whatever the theory behind the prices, the result is the same: it's best not to visit petrol stations on Wednesdays unless you have to.

Permanent jobs in Tampere

Tampere daily Aamulehti has valuable information for jobseekers, with a story detailing the sectors where there's a shortage of workers according to the number of permanent vacancies currently open in the Pirkanmaa region.

The paper reports that the top three occupations with a shortfall of qualified applicants are practical nursing, office cleaning and medical nursing. After that come several jobs in construction, along with telesales.

Unfortunately many of the open positions require specific knowledge of certain sub-sectors, so they will likely remain difficult to fill.

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