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Old 19.11.2006, 10:46
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Swiss Rudeness

The other day I went to the office canteen for lunch and was queueing up to pay for the usual bowl of gruel. The canteen operates subsidised meals for internal employees; externals and contractors pay a few francs more.

I was an contractor for a long time at my present employer and just got used to saying “Extern” at the checkout. So today, having got up at 5am to get to Zürich for work and not having had a lot of sleep over the weekend I had a momentary lapse and said “Extern” instead of “Intern”.

Before I could correct myself the woman at the checkout had rung up the “Extern” price - for which I did not have enough money in my pocket.
So I apologised profusely and explained I was an external for a long time and could she just delete and enter the intern price. The woman just got in a real huff and in usual Swiss fashion just started muttering that it wouldn’t be possible and couldn’t I just pay the external price.

I mentioned I didn’t have enough cash so reluctantly she rang up the internal price.

I really don’t understand what the big deal was - what is it about some Swiss that they have to jump on each and every minor transgression or slip a foreigner happens to make. I made an error but I apologised politely. I even smiled wished her a nice day at the end of her ludicrous performance.

Sometimes I wish I was back in England - preferably the North or the South West where people are just a little bit friendly and will cut you some slack now and again.
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Old 19.11.2006, 12:09
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Hi,

It reminds me of when I worked in Altstetten. I was decided to buy newspaper at the Kiosk at the railway station. For some reason I laughed and the woman behind the counter said in amazement "a customer who laughs". I asked if this was so unusual and she said yes. The whole conversation was in German but for me, sadly, it summed up Altstetten and Zurich.

I am not sure if it is a swiss thing, then again ni Basel probably the person who would be serving you would be French.

Martin
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Old 19.11.2006, 12:35
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

I come from the south east of the UK - quite a different feeling from up north, so I don't find the rudeness overly strange. Aslo I ahve a feeling that a lot of the "niceness" in the UK is very superficial - perhaps the difference....
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Old 19.11.2006, 23:27
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
The other day I went to the office canteen for lunch and was queueing up to pay for the usual bowl of gruel. The canteen operates subsidised meals for internal employees; externals and contractors pay a few francs more.

<snip snip>

Sometimes I wish I was back in England - preferably the North or the South West where people are just a little bit friendly and will cut you some slack now and again.
Hi

I believe most Swiss people are rules-based people and they will exercise whatever rules they know of when confronted with a decision.

The woman was not wrong. You are. (At least that is what she feels, knows and thinks)
She simply exercised her rules (given by her boss) and she uttered something "rude" on her own account. Swiss people like not to have to make their own personal decisions in professional environments. So you are "giving trouble" to her, in her limited authority areas.

You should be grateful she did change the charge in the end to "internal".
I do not mean to appear to agree with her, but this is how things work around here. If she knows you well enough, you can be sure things will be different.

HAT
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Old 20.11.2006, 07:48
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
I come from the south east of the UK - quite a different feeling from up north, so I don't find the rudeness overly strange. Aslo I ahve a feeling that a lot of the "niceness" in the UK is very superficial - perhaps the difference....
So does that mean the nastiness of the Swiss is also superficial?
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Old 20.11.2006, 08:06
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
The other day I went to the office canteen for lunch and was queueing up to pay for the usual bowl of gruel. The canteen operates subsidised meals for internal employees; externals and contractors pay a few francs more.
:
Sometimes I wish I was back in England - preferably the North or the South West where people are just a little bit friendly and will cut you some slack now and again.
Is this Swiss rudeness something you find reoccuring or just limited to a few examples? Perhaps it's the area I live in, but I've always found the Swiss to be wonderful and warm people on the personal level. I'm sure there have been exceptions, but this is no different than experiencing rudeness in my home country.

Are you certain the lady at the checkout was actually Swiss?

cheers, chris
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Old 20.11.2006, 08:13
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
Is this Swiss rudeness something you find reoccuring or just limited to a few examples? Perhaps it's the area I live in, but I've always found the Swiss to be wonderful and warm people on the personal level. I'm sure there have been exceptions, but this is no different than experiencing rudeness in my home country.

Are you certain the lady at the checkout was actually Swiss?

cheers, chris
Actually in Basel I find there to be fewer situations like this. It may just be a Zürich thing. You never know, she might have been having a bad day; or just frustrated.
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Old 20.11.2006, 08:23
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

I grew up in NY and many people always say that NYerks are rude and not very polite. I found them to be direct and at times aggressive much like many germans. The last 10 years before moving here I lived in San Francisco where the people are more relaxed, take life a little easier and do smile. When I first arrived here I heard horror stories from my expat friend living here about the rude Swiss. I don't deny that I have met some Swiss people that have not been the most helpful but overall my experiences have been good. We might come from cities where individuals smile and say good morning or g'day and try to go out of their way to assist, but we live here now and we need to learn to make the best of it and along the way we will discover that the Swiss can and do smile and behave politely too.
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Old 20.11.2006, 08:51
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

This is absolutely spot-on. She probably thinks: "You trangressed, and yet you complain ?"

dave

Quote:
Hi
I believe most Swiss people are rules-based people and they will exercise whatever rules they know of when confronted with a decision.

The woman was not wrong. You are. (At least that is what she feels, knows and thinks)
She simply exercised her rules (given by her boss) and she uttered something "rude" on her own account. Swiss people like not to have to make their own personal decisions in professional environments. So you are "giving trouble" to her, in her limited authority areas.
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Old 20.11.2006, 11:06
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
Is this Swiss rudeness something you find reoccuring or just limited to a few examples? Perhaps it's the area I live in, but I've always found the Swiss to be wonderful and warm people on the personal level. I'm sure there have been exceptions, but this is no different than experiencing rudeness in my home country.

Are you certain the lady at the checkout was actually Swiss?

cheers, chris
Huh? The Swiss? Warm and friendly? Since when? I've lived here for aeons and they are just about anything but warm and friendly. My experiences of them pretty much mirror the cafeteria scene and on a reoccuring basis. It's not a one off sort of thing. Granted, that isn't to say that they are all like that, but I really do now appreciate the "superficial" friendliness of Americans when I visit home.
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Old 20.11.2006, 23:48
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
Huh? The Swiss? Warm and friendly? Since when? I've lived here for aeons and they are just about anything but warm and friendly. My experiences of them pretty much mirror the cafeteria scene and on a reoccuring basis. It's not a one off sort of thing. Granted, that isn't to say that they are all like that, but I really do now appreciate the "superficial" friendliness of Americans when I visit home.
Well i spose superficial may do it for you. Give me a genuine grunt anyday as apposed to the dysneyland chant "thankyou for shopping buying your coffee shite" eyes all over the place i get in the states. Anyway when i get my German together i usually get what i want or need as long as the shop provides it.
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Old 21.11.2006, 07:44
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
Well i spose superficial may do it for you. Give me a genuine grunt anyday as apposed to the dysneyland chant "thankyou for shopping buying your coffee shite" eyes all over the place i get in the states. Anyway when i get my German together i usually get what i want or need as long as the shop provides it.
So next time I'll just tell the woman to <Anglo Saxon phrase involving sex and travel> - just so I'm not being superficially friendly.
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Old 21.11.2006, 08:46
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
So next time I'll just tell the woman to <Anglo Saxon phrase involving sex and travel> - just so I'm not being superficially friendly.
Good idea!

Seriously though, that's pretty much the crux for me. Life is hard enough without people going around being awful to each other just because they are having a bad day or just hate the world in general. Being friendly makes you feel better and makes other people feel better, or at least not worse. Grumpiness spreads just as fast. Besides, I think people often use the "superficial" excuse so they don't have to make an effort themselves.

Having said that, I know they do overdo it in the US sometimes and that can be annoying too. Whatever happened to proportion?
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Old 21.11.2006, 11:43
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
Well i spose superficial may do it for you. Give me a genuine grunt anyday as apposed to the dysneyland chant "thankyou for shopping buying your coffee shite" eyes all over the place i get in the states. Anyway when i get my German together i usually get what i want or need as long as the shop provides it.
Yeah I really get a warm feeling when I'm genuinely greeted (gruezi) at every opportunity . To be honest this is just as false to me as the "have a nice day" reaction. It is a totally automatic response that has been drilled in to them from an early age and is about as genuine as a seven franc note.

My opnion is that the Swiss are incredibly rude and often use the regulations to support their rudeness. They also appear to take a great deal of pleasure in being this way. I've never known another group of people to actively go out of their way to be unhelpful whilst at the same time making you feel guilty for the situation.
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Old 21.11.2006, 13:41
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
, but I really do now appreciate the "superficial" friendliness of Americans when I visit home.
I'm looking forward to going home to Canada and hearing at least ONE "excuse me" or "pardon me" when someone literally PLOWS into me b/c
a. they are just rude
b. they're expecting me to move
c. too busy looking at their friggin cell phones instead of where they are walking.

seriously, maybe it's me, but I get stepped on, pushed, shoved and never once have I heard a "excuse me/pardon/sorry about that!"
instead, glares.

(and I'm not easily pushed around!)

Canada! please mail some politeness over here so I can start spreading it.
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Old 21.11.2006, 14:06
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

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I'm looking forward to going home to Canada and hearing at least ONE "excuse me" or "pardon me" .
I wouldn't say this..
I just think that it really depends on that where you live...like anywhere else in Europe
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Old 21.11.2006, 14:14
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

sorry, I don't understand what you're NOT saying?

?

you wouldn't say what? It's been MY experience here that nobody ever says excuse me..whereas back home where I am FROM...it's something I hear multiple times during the day.
that's all I was saying.
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Old 21.11.2006, 14:30
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
sorry, I don't understand what you're NOT saying?

?

you wouldn't say what? It's been MY experience here that nobody ever says excuse me..whereas back home where I am FROM...it's something I hear multiple times during the day.
that's all I was saying.
... misunderstanding..I didn't mean where you are originally from. Just wanted to say that there are differences among those who live in cities and those who don't. That is why I wouldn't say SWISS in general are rude, u know. Because there where I live in CH are people polite too much and when I was in Zuri I didn't have any bad experience at any time there.
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Old 21.11.2006, 15:12
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Quote:
I'm looking forward to going home to Canada and hearing at least ONE "excuse me" or "pardon me" when someone literally PLOWS into me b/c
a. they are just rude
b. they're expecting me to move
c. too busy looking at their friggin cell phones instead of where they are walking.

seriously, maybe it's me, but I get stepped on, pushed, shoved and never once have I heard a "excuse me/pardon/sorry about that!"
instead, glares.

(and I'm not easily pushed around!)

Canada! please mail some politeness over here so I can start spreading it.
I agree, you could walk down a virtually deserted street and still manage to get bumped in to by everyone. If they took their head out of their own backside for a moment they would realise that they could actually get out of your way for a change. And I have very rarely heard any apologies either.

They stand in a scrum at the tram or elevator doors making it next to impossible to get off. WTF is that all about? Do they honestly believe that this tram/elevator is going anywhere until I get off?
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Old 21.11.2006, 15:31
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Re: Swiss Rudeness

Mikey:
http://www.englishforum.ch/complaint...alking-zh.html
and
http://www.englishforum.ch/daily-lif...hos-fault.html

You're not alone
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