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Old 24.08.2011, 19:23
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If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

So, here I am enjoying my new life in beautiful Switzerland. The streets are clean, the grass is grean, I see flowers everywhere I look, the air is so fresh, everyone is so nice, smile at me and greet me on the street even though they have no idea who I am and so on an so forth.
This is a country where if you live in a smaller city or village you will probably find those sweet little teeny-tiny wooden houses (don't remember the german word for them, but they look something like this http://www.walksydneystreets.net/surprises_houses06.htm - see pic nr. 3) along the road where you can go shopping for vegetables, fruits, eggs, jam, apple juice etc. in case the supermarkets are closed. I find this simply amazing. You just open the door, walk in, choose whatever you need, and leave the money in a small metal box next to the entrance.
You need flowers? Find a similar house, only surrounded by flowers. Get in, pick a knife, a piece of paper and go cut some flowers. And of course, don't forget to leave the money in the box. They actually trust you will be that decent and not leave without paying. Seriously... wow! Where I come from, they would steal everything in minutes, trash the flowers and take the house to use it for firewood.

Now, you can imagine my surprise (gosh I am so naive sometimes ) when not so pleasant things started to happen. *[I'm getting to the point of my story shortly, just bare with me please]* My boyfriend rented the apartment from July, shortly after he moved in, there was a huge storm with lots of crazy wind and rain. He noticed water on the inside windowsill (yes, the window was closed all the time) and called the owner, who in a very friendly tone said "well, er... hmm... why don't you put a cloth there? er, hmm, that should do it, don't worry"
Oh, ok, well, thanks for clearing that up for us . About a month passes, I arrive. After a week I decide to do the laundry. Luckily we don't have a fixed schedule (yaaay for that!!) so if it's free, it's mine! Now, they all keep the detergents and fabric softeners next to the washing machine, so obviously I left my stuff there as well. A few days later I find the bottle of my fabric softener half empty That's like 15 washes!!!

Oh, I forgot to mention that 2 days after I arrived, we were coming home and stopped to check the mailbox. The little door was missing!! Torn off and gone!!! Of course we called the guy the next day, who again, in such a warm and calm voice informed us that "er, yes.. well, uhum... I know, er.. ehhheahhahaa... I will take care of it, don't worry" - he didn't!

Here comes the part that shocked me. Yesterday evening, when my boyfriend was putting his bike back (the building has a storage area - sort of a basement- right under our apartment, it is used by everyone who lives in the building and has only one entrance from the street which is always closed) he noticed mine was missing. He figured I probably went out with it and was very surprised when he saw me walking back home. He immediately called the owner, who by the way owns the entire building (plus the one next to ours where he runs a restaurant) and lives 2 floors above us. His reply: "er, hmm... haahaa... er, well, I don't know what to say... eheehhee... very strange indeed... I am sorry, er, ahhahheeehaa, call the cops" - yes, yes, thank you, we knew that was the procedure, we were planning to do that first thing in the morning.. the reason we called him, was because the door was not forced AND there were 6 other bikes, non of which locked right next to mine, plus a small motorbike... they were all there!! So, we went upstairs, extremely disappointed... We bought the bike about three weeks ago on ricardo and don't really have anything that could prove the bike is mine as it is not new (yet it looks and works like a new one)... I was so upset and angry, couldn't sleep all night. Same for him. Today, we woke up early in the morning determined to file a report and try to contact the guy who soled us the bike for some info. Before leaving, my boyfriend went in the basement and surprise, surprise!! The bike was back!!!! We went to bed well past midnight and woke up at 8, so it must have been taken back sometime during the night. It was kinda dusty, the seat was adjusted to someone taller than me, but other than that, it was in perfect shape. What???? Somebody from our building "borrowed" it, hell, probably used it some other times as well since I have it, and just put it back? Can they do that?? Don't get me wrong, I am happy I got my bike back, but still... I was so angry last night I think I could have drowned him in a spoon of water!!! At least he could have readjusted the seat for me, right??

So my question is, what can I do to make people understand what's mine is mine? I don't mind sharing, but I would appreciate a kind "please, thank you" in return then.
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Old 24.08.2011, 19:27
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

put drawing pins on the saddle
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Old 24.08.2011, 19:36
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

My methods (both here and in England) were basics like, lock up bikes (I used to tape my pump to my bike to stop the pump being 'borrowed'), simply don't leave washing powder etc by the machine unless you want to risk it being used etc. etc.

Solutions I have read about but never put into practice:
A little dye mixed in with your (clearly labelled as yours) washing powder...
Adapt your bike so that when you steer to the left, it goes to the right...
Take your saddle off your bike when you leave it.

In the meantime, make yourself a nice cup of tea...
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Old 24.08.2011, 20:03
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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A little dye mixed in with your (clearly labelled as yours) washing powder...
That is a genius idea. I wish I had known you a couple of years ago, during my Erasmus time.
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Old 24.08.2011, 20:33
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

Invest in a bike lock ad don't leave your laundry detergent and such int he laundry room. Neither of those seems like much of a hassel and will ensure no one is taking your stuff. I lock my bike even though it is in the basement and you can't access the basement without entering the building, you never know when someone will forget to close the door or have guests over who are looking for a late night ride home.
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Old 24.08.2011, 20:54
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

Could be worse. You could have dog shiit smeared all over your front door with a note stating "Stop putting your Styrofoam in your trash bags American. Or else go back to where you came from with your Nazi wife"........

A friend of mine had their family dog poisoned to death a couple months ago.

When youre not from here, you are a 3rd class human being to these people.
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Old 24.08.2011, 20:56
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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Could be worse. You could have dog shiit smeared all over your front door with a note stating "Stop putting your Styrofoam in your trash bags American. Or else go back to where you came from with your Nazi wife"........

A friend of mine had their family dog poisoned to death a couple months ago.

When youre not from here, you are a 3rd class human being to these people.

That is so sad to hear
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Old 24.08.2011, 20:57
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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Solutions I have read about but never put into practice:
A little dye mixed in with your (clearly labelled as yours) washing powder..
I can imagine the egg dye would work really well...

OP, some people consider your stuff to be a lot more communal than theirs, obviously. I wouldn't let your guard down. If things keep repeating, I'd write an official letter to the regie and post a copy of it on the door. List all the incidents, I am sure the regie might be interested.
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Old 24.08.2011, 21:00
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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Could be worse. You could have dog shiit smeared all over your front door with a note stating "Stop putting your Styrofoam in your trash bags American. Or else go back to where you came from with your Nazi wife"........

A friend of mine had their family dog poisoned to death a couple months ago.

When youre not from here, you are a 3rd class human being to these people.
We had a human poop in our stroller that was stored in the communal velo.
A couple of towels stollen, etc. Then it stopped. I wrote a big sign, we asked for door number code lock, the minute things got public, menace stopped.
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Old 24.08.2011, 21:06
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

You need to go into your landlords restaurants bathroom and leave him an upper-decker...

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Old 25.08.2011, 07:55
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

Wow, what a story!

A good bike lock should fix that. Blimey, the audacity of some people! Stories like this always make me glad that I can store my bike away from the road in a little bike shelter. Even so, I always lock it there as well, despite my boyfriend laughing and telling me no-one's going to steal it.

I guess I'm just not a very trusting person!

Hope you manage to sort something out.
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Old 25.08.2011, 09:46
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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When youre not from here, you are a 3rd class human being to these people.
To some people, if you fit in well, you won't have any problems. The issues described by the OP have absolutely nothing to do with nationality, it's just the very international problem of bad manners.
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Old 25.08.2011, 10:15
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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snip, snip, snip

... I was so angry last night I think I could have drowned him in a spoon of water!!!
Now that's something you don't see every day...
You're scary
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Old 25.08.2011, 17:19
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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My methods (both here and in England) were basics like, lock up bikes (I used to tape my pump to my bike to stop the pump being 'borrowed'), simply don't leave washing powder etc by the machine unless you want to risk it being used etc. etc.

Solutions I have read about but never put into practice:
A little dye mixed in with your (clearly labelled as yours) washing powder...
Adapt your bike so that when you steer to the left, it goes to the right...
Take your saddle off your bike when you leave it.

In the meantime, make yourself a nice cup of tea...
Just bought a nice lock, bike is secured! Hope it will keep the friendly neighbour away. The problem is that my boyfriend took the bike out for a ride, just to see if everything works normally... and the front fender just fell off But, there is not much I can do, right? Even if I pay a visit to my neighbours, I'm pretty sure no one will say anything. I know the damage is worth nothing, I don't care that much about that, it's the whole act that infuriates me.
Anyways...

- Mixing dye (or anything that has chlorine in it) in the softener/detergent, yup, I actually thought about that
- Taking the saddle off, good idea, what guy would like to sit on the seatpost?
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Old 25.08.2011, 17:38
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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"Stop putting your Styrofoam in your trash bags American.

whats it got to do with anyone else what you do with styrofoam... over here in basel they tell you to put styrofoam in the rubbish bags.... assume its different in ZH?
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Old 25.08.2011, 17:39
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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You need to go into your landlords restaurants bathroom and leave him an upper-decker...
Yeah, but he is such a great cook, and the restaurant is 1 minute away... to convenient, can't ruin that

We talked to him today, as always, was very friendly, the usual "er, uhum, ehhehhhaaa hihiihi", said he feels much better now that the bike returned. So we took advantage of the situation, and told him about another problem we have (yeah, crazy!!). Our fridge is not working that well, it's extremely wet inside especially if it's full and I cannot keep anything for more than 2 days. 5 minutes later he rang at our door saying we should expect a call during the day from the repair man. Another 5 minutes passed and the repair man showed up
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Old 25.08.2011, 17:46
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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Now that's something you don't see every day...
You're scary
Old Hungarian saying , I am actually a very patient person and only scream and break plates when absolutely necessary, seriously, I'm adorable
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Old 25.08.2011, 17:49
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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whats it got to do with anyone else what you do with styrofoam... over here in basel they tell you to put styrofoam in the rubbish bags.... assume its different in ZH?
Hell no, must have been an especially grumpy compatriot of mine.. We do put it in the bin as well, but seeing how quick it fills up those expensive Zuribags (insert your local variety), it is actually less painful to bring them to the next Sammelstelle/garbage collection point.
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Old 25.08.2011, 17:51
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

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We had a human poop in our stroller
Wow!!!! I guess I should consider myself lucky!
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Old 25.08.2011, 18:05
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Re: If you take it back, it's not really stealing, right?

you should be happy that you got your bike back...one small reminder from god to tell u "be careful for your things.."
our cycle garage was not accessible to anyone without keys and so my husband never locked his bike. i always did so and asked him to do so..but he dint do that and someone someday stole it and we never got it back...and you can actually not do anything about it...
I KNOW THERE ARE ALL GOOD PEOPLE AROUND BUT FEW BAD TOO
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