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Old 07.10.2011, 12:21
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Unsolicited Opinions

I have noticed lately that ever since I got here, I have been given opinions about things that I never really asked for. Example: I asked a co-worker where I could find cheddar cheese locally and I got a "why would you want cheddar cheese" attached to the answer. When I first arrived I asked where the closest McDonalds was and I got a "Why would you want to eat that junk." I wanted to know what the best theater for seeing the new Harry Potter in English was and I got a response of "I am tired of American rubbish for movies." Where I come from, if someone asked me where a place was, I would tell them and not feel like I needed to pass judgement. I do notice that people on the forum do that as well. You get a lot of "why would you want to do that" attached to the beginning of an answer. Is this a Swiss thing? Why can't people either answer the question or say they don't know. Why add your opinion?
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Old 07.10.2011, 12:27
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

Why would you want to know why, when the question what is much better?

It's not a Swiss thing. It's a personal thing. I also get angry with answers that come filled with passive-aggressive opinions, but they might be shot by foreigners as well as Swiss. It's a personality trait.

But, as one of my favourite writers said:

"I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself."
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Old 07.10.2011, 12:42
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

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I have noticed lately that ever since I got here, I have been given opinions about things that I never really asked for. Example: I asked a co-worker where I could find cheddar cheese locally and I got a "why would you want cheddar cheese" attached to the answer. When I first arrived I asked where the closest McDonalds was and I got a "Why would you want to eat that junk." I wanted to know what the best theater for seeing the new Harry Potter in English was and I got a response of "I am tired of American rubbish for movies." Where I come from, if someone asked me where a place was, I would tell them and not feel like I needed to pass judgement. I do notice that people on the forum do that as well. You get a lot of "why would you want to do that" attached to the beginning of an answer. Is this a Swiss thing? Why can't people either answer the question or say they don't know. Why add your opinion?
It's one of those 'welcome to Switzerland' things. Funny thing is I have received advice for the last 17 years, I never took any notice. I doubt Steve Jobs would have listened either.
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Old 07.10.2011, 12:49
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

I actually love it when it happens on the forum because it livens up a debate.
I agree with Helm that it is not a Swiss thing.
In real life I have one filter for it: 1) Is it trite rubbish (as in all of the OP's examples), then I just ignore it or 2) Could this person enlighten me in any way? Then I don't mind it.
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Old 07.10.2011, 12:57
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

I get unsolicited "advice" all the time when out and about with my children: things like "he shouldn't stand so close to the edge of the platform" (aimed at the 8 year old standing on the white safety line and a train is not scheduled for 10 more minutes) "don't let him pick at the apples" (in Migros last week aimed at my 8 year old who is more than capable of picking up some apples and putting them in a bag) or "tell your child to stop making such a noise" aimed at the 3 year old in mid tantrum (and believe you me, if I knew how to stop him tantruming do you not think I'd have done it??)

I hate making this (or anything) into a "Swiss thing" but in the 8 years I have had children, almost 4 of them were in the UK and I can only recall one time when in the UK someone butted in. So please explain why it happens to me all the time here?
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Old 07.10.2011, 13:12
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

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I hate making this (or anything) into a "Swiss thing" but in the 8 years I have had children, almost 4 of them were in the UK and I can only recall one time when in the UK someone butted in. So please explain why it happens to me all the time here?
From what I remember about being in the UK with kids (from 2 months ago) they are just as, if not more, judgemental, but it's just not mentioned, only tutted, shaken headed, stares and talking loudly about you to a friend.
In my opinion, I much prefer the Swiss open scorn, because at least you can rebutt that. Not easy to say 'I know what you are thinking, but it's not true' but quite easy to say 'well, you SAY that but you are wrong because.....'
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Old 07.10.2011, 13:27
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

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In my opinion, I much prefer the Swiss open scorn, because at least you can rebutt that. Not easy to say 'I know what you are thinking, but it's not true' but quite easy to say 'well, you SAY that but you are wrong because.....'
Well, but at a certain point of being awash in other people's negative opinions and advise, whether or not it's useful, its gets ignored. I actually found the Nordic approach to be a lot more livable which is something like "STFU as if I wanted your opinion, I'd have asked for it and, did I mention I really don't give a rat about your opinion." It leads for very quiet living but...uncomplicated by unneeded opinions. Of course, this can backfire when you ask for an opinion and have to crack the code to get more than a 3-word response.
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Old 07.10.2011, 13:29
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

How dare they! Harry Potter is British.

I don't know why people do it - perhaps they're bored, like me? But I do know at least two places to get cheddar, if you still need to know that.
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Old 07.10.2011, 13:42
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

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How dare they! Harry Potter is British.
LOL...well, the books are, but the movies are an American production from Warner. Everything bad is America's fault
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Old 07.10.2011, 13:43
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

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"tell your child to stop making such a noise" aimed at the 3 year old in mid tantrum (and believe you me, if I knew how to stop him tantruming do you not think I'd have done it??)
You should, of course, reply with "Oh my goodness, what a fantastic idea! Thank you sooooo much! I hadn't thought of that, what brilliant advice!". That's what I'd do, anyway.

My aunt once responded to someone in the supermarket who tutted at her for taking my cousin's sweets away after threatening to do so because my cousin was throwing a tantrum for absolutely no reason by just outright asking "what do you suggest I do?". The woman's face was priceless.
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Old 07.10.2011, 13:47
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

I don't find it only to be a Swiss thing. But what I do find a little Swiss (or of people who have lived here a while or brought up here) which grates on my nerves are the scoldings. For example when you call the dentist's office to cancel and they always have to make a snarky comment about if you hadn't have given them 24 hours notice (although calling 2 days before the appt.) you would have to pay for the missed appointment. I also recently misplaced a library book and went to the library to pay for it, but not without having to listen to basically how irresponsible it is to do such a thing. I even returned to a cash once because the cashier had given me too much change and did I get a thank-you? No, I was asked why I hadn't noticed earlier that she'd given me too much change. Arrg. Next time I'll keep the money.
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Old 07.10.2011, 13:49
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

Yeah, I don't get why they would scold you for cancelling an appointment. Same goes with classes where I work - if you cancel with less than 24 hours notice, you get charged. There's nobody wagging their finger at you, telling you what a naughty sod you've been. It just comes up on your bill (that's punishment enough, if you ask me - no need to rub salt in the wound!).
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Old 07.10.2011, 13:51
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

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You should, of course, reply with "Oh my goodness, what a fantastic idea! Thank you sooooo much! I hadn't thought of that, what brilliant advice!". That's what I'd do, anyway.
Yes. I know. But I am totally cr*p and useless in these scenarios and get flustered and cross and upset and .... think of what I should have said 10 minutes too late.

Although once I was so ANGRY that I let off a really really Angry-London-Mother tirade (of the type I was in, my day, particularly skilled at) only to literally fear for not just my life but the other bloke's life as his eyes bulged and popped out of his head and he screamed back at me for (I suppose) having the temerity to be (1) a woman and (2) a foreigner disagreeing with him (at least that's the gist I got). Older son was really scared and burst into tears, so I shan't be doing that again in a hurry. Actually, come to think of it, I was really scared too.
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Old 07.10.2011, 13:52
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

but seriously, why do you go to McDonalds??
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Old 07.10.2011, 13:59
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

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"tell your child to stop making such a noise" aimed at the 3 year old in mid tantrum
"did you hear that Tarquin? the old bag said you should stop making such a noise"

works better if you train your son to say "well, you can tell the old bag to go f--- herself".
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Old 07.10.2011, 14:06
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

I've had this a few times & I normally just answer with sarcasm.

I've been laughed at and asked about why on earth I would want cheddar a couple of times too & replied 'because sometimes it's nice to eat a cheese that has some texture & flavour & is not just enjoyable when melted in large pots with lots of alcohol'.

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Old 07.10.2011, 14:08
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

I always remember my sister telling me stories about people in the supermarket giving their opinions on how her children should behave, and they aren't norty norty kids. One time it was a young 15 year old girl saying something out loud to her mum, and my sister turned to her and said "Well how would you like to look after them for the afternoon and then give me your opinion" that quickly shut her up hehehe.

And when my sister was heavily pregnant when she was out walking, she would have my neice on the cute little kiddie harness, and someone said "oh thats so inhumane", and my sister just turned to her and said "so what, you would rather have a child run out into traffic and be killed?"

My sister is pretty good at making those people go away hehe
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Old 07.10.2011, 14:11
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

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I have noticed lately that ever since I got here, I have been given opinions about things that I never really asked for. Example: I asked a co-worker where I could find cheddar cheese locally and I got a "why would you want cheddar cheese" attached to the answer. When I first arrived I asked where the closest McDonalds was and I got a "Why would you want to eat that junk." I wanted to know what the best theater for seeing the new Harry Potter in English was and I got a response of "I am tired of American rubbish for movies." Where I come from, if someone asked me where a place was, I would tell them and not feel like I needed to pass judgement. I do notice that people on the forum do that as well. You get a lot of "why would you want to do that" attached to the beginning of an answer. Is this a Swiss thing? Why can't people either answer the question or say they don't know. Why add your opinion?
I think it's called conversation.
If you want a direct answer to a question without any chat then you can probably find the answer on the internet or at a tourist information centre.
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Old 07.10.2011, 14:11
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Why would you want to complain on a public forum
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Old 07.10.2011, 14:17
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Re: Unsolicited Opinions

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I think it's called conversation.
If you want a direct answer to a question without any chat then you can probably find the answer on the internet or at a tourist information centre.
I had forgotten, when I was first in CH I described day to day conversation as just a list of complaints strung together.
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