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Old 11.11.2012, 10:46
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Swiss inflexibility

Yes, yes, I know. I've lived here long enough to know that rules are rules and that it's unreasonable to expect them to be bent. But still, sometimes it really sticks in your throat.

I wanted to drop off a watch for repair yesterday -- it just needed a new battery, and I didn't expect them to do the job while I waited. I assumed that shops would be open until 17:30, but sure enough, I turned up at the stroke of 17:00 to discover that jewellers, unlike other shops, all seem to close at 17:00 on a Saturday.

The shopkeeper was just walking towards the door as I was entering. She actually pushed it closed on me, threw the lock, and announced "Geschlossen."

"But I just wanted to drop something off..." I cried, in vain. "Geschlossen!" came again the reply.

So I headed over to Cafe des Arts for a drink. It was mostly empty, with four or five other tables enjoying their drinks. My wife fancied a coffee. "Coffee unavailable after 17:00" it said on the menu. I glanced at my watch -- it was 17:07.

Asked the waiter, as it wasn't busy, if they could perhaps stretch to making a coffee. "No," was the reply, "it's too late."

So we settled for a beer and a Coke.

And I left a Swiss-sized tip.

When in Rome, and all that.
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Old 11.11.2012, 11:03
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

I'm Swiss and I absolutely agree with you!!

Some Swiss shops/restaurant owners here are spoiled and it seems they don't need customers - I sometimes wish a short but strong recession in my own country ...

Have a nice sunday...
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Old 11.11.2012, 11:03
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

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Asked the waiter, as it wasn't busy, if they could perhaps stretch to making a coffee. "No," was the reply, "it's too late."

So we settled for a beer and a Coke.

And I left a Swiss-sized tip.

When in Rome, and all that.
i dont understand tipping when standard or poor service is given.
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Old 11.11.2012, 11:06
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

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i dont understand tipping when standard or poor service is given.
I think a swiss sized tip is a big round number.
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Old 11.11.2012, 11:07
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

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i dont understand tipping when standard or poor service is given.
Shouldn't feel the need to tip anyway. It's not something that you do in Switzerland. At least that's always been my understanding.
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Old 11.11.2012, 11:10
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

May be the shopkeeper was planning a date or had to take a train ...... the swiss plans their life to a minute.

For restaurants I do not understand as well, I have went through similar situation couple of times. But most of time its because kitchen was closed ...... and can only order drinks or desserts. But never heard of coffee not being allowed!!
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Old 11.11.2012, 11:15
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

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I glanced at my watch -- it was 17:07
Your watch needed a new battery. Probably the time was inaccurate and it was already something like 21:34
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Old 11.11.2012, 11:21
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

Try entering my local Migros with just a few minutes to go before closing. The normally very helpful and friendly staff do a complete 180 personality transformation and then some!

Once, when I was at the check-out with circa 5 minutes till closing time, the shutters started coming down very fast and I thought I'd have to make a run for it without finishing the transaction and hurl myself underneath before total lock-down!

Last edited by ximix; 11.11.2012 at 13:13. Reason: wording fix
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Old 11.11.2012, 11:28
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

We were once in a restaurant when a German who had been quarreling with the waiter over something, stood up and announced. (in German)

"You Swiss are as flexible as concrete"

Quite funny...
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Old 11.11.2012, 11:36
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

And then there's our local GP who doesn't mind working off hours when he's got no other plans.

Here's a transcript of my conversation with him last Thursday morning at 8.15.

Ring ring
Dr: Hello. This Dr. H's office. How can I help you?
Me: Hello. I'm not sure if I might have the beginnings of pneumonia.
Dr: why don't you come by in 15 minutes and I'll have a look
Me: it's your day off today, isn't it? I can see another doctor if you'd like.
Dr: No, no. I often work on Thursday mornings even though the staff is off.

15 minutes later, I was at the office and he xrayed me and took my blood. He told me it's just a bad cold with bronchitis, gave me some medicine and made a follow-up appointment for next week.

Try doing that in other countries.
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Old 11.11.2012, 12:02
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

Ha ha, amazing. But I think you were just not lucky, there are many shops with a nice service.
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Old 11.11.2012, 12:05
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

I, too, have been here long enough to know better - but I still feel your pain, VI.

Yet I've also been here long enough to have developed the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. ( ) Since shopkeepers here clearly neither need nor want me as a customer, I simply shop in other countries.

This way, the shopkeeper is not bothered by pesky customers with unrealistic expectations - and I save a bucket while being served with a smile. Win-win.
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Old 11.11.2012, 12:12
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

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And then there's our local GP who doesn't mind working off hours when he's got no other plans.
Where oh where does this paragon practice - and is he taking on new patients?
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Old 11.11.2012, 12:26
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

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I think a swiss sized tip is a big round number.

i had to ask as i see loads of people on a daily basis tipping for the most basic service as if it was the US
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Old 11.11.2012, 12:39
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

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Where oh where does this paragon practice - and is he taking on new patients?
He's retiring next year.
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Old 11.11.2012, 13:00
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

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Yes, yes, I know. I've lived here long enough to know that rules are rules and that it's unreasonable to expect them to be bent. But still, sometimes it really sticks in your throat.

I wanted to drop off a watch for repair yesterday -- it just needed a new battery, and I didn't expect them to do the job while I waited. I assumed that shops would be open until 17:30, but sure enough, I turned up at the stroke of 17:00 to discover that jewellers, unlike other shops, all seem to close at 17:00 on a Saturday.

The shopkeeper was just walking towards the door as I was entering. She actually pushed it closed on me, threw the lock, and announced "Geschlossen."

"But I just wanted to drop something off..." I cried, in vain. "Geschlossen!" came again the reply.
She could have been more polite, however I imagine she has a family she wants to get home to. Work has creeped into personal time a fair bit in other countries, if she stayed the few minutes passed 1700 to help you out, someone else might pop by at 1710 expecting her to stay until 1720 to help them out.

While I don't live in Switzerland, I live in a city were about %10-15 of the population were born in Central Europe and know of this "inflexibility"; I find this inflexibility (within some reason) somewhat relaxing.
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Old 11.11.2012, 13:20
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

no coffee after 5???? weird
anyways I have had to do that every night at last call. go around the whole bar and announce last call....yet people would come as we started cleaning. the issue was that if you sold one more drink someone else would see it etc etc every time . Was the most dreaded part of the night as they get quit aggressive..... Same with food, we stop at 8 and if someone asks at 8.05 we refuse because otherwise you have 20 more people who seen it and demand it also
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Old 11.11.2012, 13:20
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

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He's retiring next year.
Ah, the looming crisis in SZ - around here many of the GPs who retired in the last few years have been replaced with part-time docs. Whose Praxis opening times are... inflexible. (To get back on topic. )
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Old 11.11.2012, 13:24
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

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Shouldn't feel the need to tip anyway. It's not something that you do in Switzerland. At least that's always been my understanding.

You are very wrong on that unfortunately.
90% of the Swiss tip. (mostly just rounding up the amount and then add 1 chf) foreigners are the ones not tipping (tourists mostly)
Nothing like the american tipping but we would easily get an extra 100chf a night on good nights
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Old 11.11.2012, 13:34
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Re: Swiss inflexibility

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You are very wrong on that unfortunately.
90% of the Swiss tip. (mostly just rounding up the amount and then add 1 chf) foreigners are the ones not tipping (tourists mostly)
Nothing like the american tipping but we would easily get an extra 100chf a night on good nights
I was told (could be untrue) that they had a referendum in Switzerland on tipping, and the voters decided that tipping wasn't supposed to happen, and all prices were raised accordingly.

Is there any evidence of this actually happening?
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