Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Living in Switzerland > Complaints corner  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #21  
Old 18.04.2012, 12:40
Tom1234's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Kanton Luzern
Posts: 16,491
Groaned at 579 Times in 454 Posts
Thanked 24,679 Times in 9,935 Posts
Tom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Quote:
View Post
Short answer: it's a cultural thing, pure and simple. Knocking on your neighbor's door to ask him to turn it down is seen as more of a potential escalation, if you don't know him well, than leaving a note in his mailbox or calling the landlord/police.

Seems upside down to most English speakers but it's just how it is. Going through official channels (whether that means the landlord, the police or a letter in the mailbox) is simply good manners, anything more direct smacks of aggression and vigilantism. According to the Swiss way of thinking, this is what landlords and police are put on this earth for - so that the rules can be upheld and fairly applied without the need for personal confrontation.


If you're already on friendly (and I mean friendly, not just amicable) terms with the neighbor, it's a different story. In that case the informality of not making an official complaint is appreciated. You still don't go downstairs and knock on his door immediately though, that would be an intrusion on his privacy. Instead, the Done Thing is to ignore the disturbance if at all possible and then mention it to him the next time you see him. "Last Tuesday evening between 10:30 and 11:15 PM you seemed to be watching TV at a loud volume. Do you think you could turn it down in future as the house rules state that these are supposed to be quiet hours?" (Note that you still have to refer to the rules! This is important, you want to avoid any whiff of "because I said so".)

Again, this is really difficult to grasp because it's still completely backwards for us... local custom is what it is though, and the sooner you can get to grips with it, the less mad these encounters will drive you.

If it's any comfort, once you're friends with your neighbor you can explain it to him over coffee some day and watch him try to bend his mind round the difference.
That's exactly how it is!

If you make friends with your neighbours (and that's definitely the way to go), then a pre-emptive apology really seems to work.

We had the most formal Swiss neighbours, an elderly couple and my wife went down to use our washing machine on a Sunday due to a mishap with the children.
My wife apologised for her actions as she passed on the stairs.

The formal Swiss neighbour said - "when I was a young mother with three kids, I was only allowed access to a shared-machine once every two weeks. It was hell. Use your machine when you want!"

That was not the response we were expecting.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Tom1234 for this useful post:
  #22  
Old 18.04.2012, 13:03
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: na
Posts: 11,248
Groaned at 37 Times in 33 Posts
Thanked 26,732 Times in 8,253 Posts
meloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

As MN says, there is a cultural difference.

For many of us from elsewhere, in our cultures running to officialdom without first trying to settle a dispute ourselves smacks of nursery-room 'tattle-tale' behavior, something only a coward would do. It would also be interpreted as clear intention to start a neighborhood feud. This behavior is so far out of bounds in our culture that we are left shaking our heads in disbelief - and girding our loins for a long-ranging battle.

However, in this culture* running first to officialdom is indeed the expected response to a percieved disturbance. A neighborhood is not a place to grow friendships (as friendships were established and set in kindergarten), so there is no need for contact or social interaction among neighbors, the goal is simply peaceful co-existence. Additionally, the stress of living in such close quarters exacerbates the need for distance from one another.

Toward that end, a third party (police, landlord or the like) running interference is the best solution. No direct contact means that everybody saves face for the few chance occasions when neighbors have to meet and interact with one another.

It's a shame that this role is filled by the police rather than some kind of mediating body, as it seems to mean that the police spend little time pursuing actual criminals. But again this could be a cultural difference; perhaps making noise is considered a worse crime than vandalism, mugging, or burglary. My Swiss neighbors seem happy with the way social order is managed, so I would assume that my perceptions are skewed by my culture here, too.

One just has to accept it for what it is - and respond in kind. And then go about living your life as best you can.



*As always YMMV, especially it seems over the Röstigraben. What I have described is the norm in my little corner of SZ - other posters have reported different behavior in many another thread.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 18.04.2012, 13:43
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

If you are cold and aloof with your neighbours - they may well react this way. Could it be at all possible that it was not the first time?
I would never call the police myself - as MN said grin and bear it and have quite word the next day. But if they were already in bed - pyjamas, etc- maybe they felt that getting out of bed and go up the stairs was a bit of a pain! Still call the police, NO- stupid. And I just don't agree that it is THE Swiss way sorry. Maybe some of you live in a part of Switzerland that is VERY different to mine, really

Making yourself known to your neighbours and being open and friendly makes ALL the difference. If you behave like strangers and aliens, maybe they might treat you like some??? But not only in Switzerland, I'm sure.
So useful for practical reasons too, if you have to ask them to feed the cat (but yes they might ask you too), or babysit (vice versa), water plants (vice versa), etc, etc. It really goes both ways.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank for this useful post:
  #24  
Old 18.04.2012, 13:51
KeinFranzösisch's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 2,198
Groaned at 63 Times in 38 Posts
Thanked 2,549 Times in 1,115 Posts
KeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Personaly, I don't believe in sucking up to pissy neighbors who didn't respect you enough to come tell you to your face that your TV was too loud. Usually this (trying to be nice and communicative after a complaing) just results in them seeing that they've gotten to you and then they start trying to push your buttons more (aka "mobbing"), as was what happened in my first, Swiss neighborhood. I'd just ignore them and be mindful of their sensitivity, trying to change your behaviors to avoid giving them anything to complain about. It sucks in one way, because you feel like you're walking on eggshells all of the time, and that your own home isn't a home, but something else.

re: "cold" "aloof" "friendly"... You don't have to be kiss assy with them. Just a friendly hello. For some reason they love it. Lord knows if you forget to say "Grüezi" you'll feel the stares of death bearing down upon you. (One reason I can't wait to go back to the US where such empty greetings aren't normal or expected)

How long have you been in your apartment? If you're new, that's another factor. These Swiss folks love to fc*K with the new Auslanders.
__________________
I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies. - Pietro Aretino
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank KeinFranzösisch for this useful post:
  #25  
Old 18.04.2012, 14:18
MathNut's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Kt. Glarus
Posts: 4,417
Groaned at 34 Times in 32 Posts
Thanked 10,952 Times in 3,253 Posts
MathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Odile, you live in a detached house. If your neighbors can hear your TV after 10PM it probably is too loud.

Leaving that aside for the moment, would you say you know your neighbors and are on good terms with them? In that case you've just said your approach would be the same one I've outlined. So while I wouldn't be surprised to hear that there were regional differences, rural/urban divides and all sorts of other sociological complications in play here, the underlying cultural principle does seem a bit more transregionally applicable than you're making it out to be.

For comparison, the standard way of handling such a disturbance among American neighbors who know each other and are on good terms would be quite different. There the prescribed behavior would be that you'd go downstairs then and there, knock on their door and apologetically ask them to keep it down. "Having a quiet word the next day" would be considered petty and passive-aggressive: if you didn't care enough to get dressed and go down at the time then it clearly wasn't very important to you, so why bring it up later? (You also would never mention the existence of any house rules. To us that sounds mean and cynical, as though you don't expect the other person to respond to a reasonable personal appeal. If necessary you'd make up some story about a headache or having to work early the next morning.)

So that's what I'm saying: even if you know your neighbors and are on good terms with them, what constitutes a polite approach is drastically different across different cultures. Understanding these differences is the first step to overcoming them, wouldn't you agree?
__________________
Need help? Contact a mod.

Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 18.04.2012, 14:30
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Quote:
View Post
I think the Swiss and English are not too dissimilar. The Swiss like to complain, the English like to grumble.
On this sort of matter, we're from different planets.
The English way is:
a/ to either suffer in seething silence or to let it go knowing you have a noise pass next time you have a loud night.
b/ to nip next door & ask politely if the volume could be turned down.
Calling the police, short of a nuclear war going on next door, is unthinkable.

To be frank, it's the one section of Swiss society that genuinely boils my piss.
Hiding behind authority or anonymous note writing etc. Shameful.
I find it cowardly & spineless & the fact that the police put up with it, pathetic.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank for this useful post:
  #27  
Old 18.04.2012, 14:37
xandeo's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Top right corner
Posts: 339
Groaned at 28 Times in 20 Posts
Thanked 468 Times in 174 Posts
xandeo has an excellent reputationxandeo has an excellent reputationxandeo has an excellent reputationxandeo has an excellent reputation
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Quote:
View Post
well i have never lived in an apartment building until i moved to switzerland. it still surprises me that even in tiny, random alp villages the majority of housing is always apartments! there is so much room here, why aren't there more houses? (then it might be possible to watch a movie after curfew and not get in trouble)
i guess the Swiss just like to live close together and then complain about each other
...because we like to preserve our country/-ies and cities the way they look and not have the typical American suburb, depending on cars and having all boring-looking houses all over?

Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank xandeo for this useful post:
The following 4 users groan at xandeo for this post:
  #28  
Old 18.04.2012, 14:41
Tom1234's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Kanton Luzern
Posts: 16,491
Groaned at 579 Times in 454 Posts
Thanked 24,679 Times in 9,935 Posts
Tom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Quote:
View Post
re: "cold" "aloof" "friendly"... You don't have to be kiss assy with them. Just a friendly hello. For some reason they love it. Lord knows if you forget to say "Grüezi" you'll feel the stares of death bearing down upon you.(One reason I can't wait to go back to the US where such empty greetings aren't normal or expected)
In a restaurant, "How are you'all today?" (No one told me you're not meant to answer).

Have a nice day!
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Tom1234 for this useful post:
  #29  
Old 18.04.2012, 14:45
aSwissInTheUS's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Zurich area
Posts: 12,778
Groaned at 99 Times in 88 Posts
Thanked 19,576 Times in 8,681 Posts
aSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Why they call the cops:
who-calls-cops-tv-being-too-loud-how_people.jpg
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank aSwissInTheUS for this useful post:
  #30  
Old 18.04.2012, 14:45
KeinFranzösisch's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 2,198
Groaned at 63 Times in 38 Posts
Thanked 2,549 Times in 1,115 Posts
KeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Quote:
View Post
...because we like to preserve our country/-ies and cities the way they look and not have the typical American suburb, depending on cars and having all boring-looking houses all over?

Nice. You pick a cookie-cutter, upper-middle class housing development in Florida as your example of what ALL houses are like in the US.

me thinks you doth protest too much.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank KeinFranzösisch for this useful post:
  #31  
Old 18.04.2012, 14:47
KeinFranzösisch's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 2,198
Groaned at 63 Times in 38 Posts
Thanked 2,549 Times in 1,115 Posts
KeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Quote:
View Post
In a restaurant, "How are you'all today?" (No one told me you're not meant to answer).

Have a nice day!
Tom, did you not know what I meant? if you pass a random person on the street are you going to say "how are you all today?" Not likely. But heaven forbid if you don't greet the random person on the street in Switzerland.

And that's what I am referring to.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 18.04.2012, 14:50
xandeo's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Top right corner
Posts: 339
Groaned at 28 Times in 20 Posts
Thanked 468 Times in 174 Posts
xandeo has an excellent reputationxandeo has an excellent reputationxandeo has an excellent reputationxandeo has an excellent reputation
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Quote:
View Post
Nice. You pick a cookie-cutter, upper-middle class housing development in Florida as your example of what ALL houses are like in the US.

me thinks you doth protest too much.
That one is actually in San Fransisco, according to the URL (http://www.bigwowo.com/wp-content/up..._francisco.jpg) But sure, I'm sure you could find the same "cookie-cutter, upper-middle class housing development" in basically any suburb in the US. Seen them on the East Coast and a few other states myself.

....OR you could just let this go and not get too pissed about it, as it was more a reply to a stupid insinuation that CH should build more houses and destroy the landscape, when CH is known to have such strict regulations on building in general.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 18.04.2012, 14:51
Tom1234's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Kanton Luzern
Posts: 16,491
Groaned at 579 Times in 454 Posts
Thanked 24,679 Times in 9,935 Posts
Tom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond reputeTom1234 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Quote:
View Post
Tom, did you not know what I meant? if you pass a random person on the street are you going to say "how are you all today?" Not likely. But heaven forbid if you don't greet the random person on the street in Switzerland.

And that's what I am referring to.
One reason that the North of England is much friendlier than the South, IMO, is that people still greet each other in the street.

They used to do it the U.S. as well you know.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 18.04.2012, 14:59
KeinFranzösisch's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 2,198
Groaned at 63 Times in 38 Posts
Thanked 2,549 Times in 1,115 Posts
KeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond reputeKeinFranzösisch has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Quote:
View Post
One reason that the North of England is much friendlier than the South, IMO, is that people still greet each other in the street.

They used to do it the U.S. as well you know.
Urbanisation reduces the need for such greetings. Otherwise you'll be doing it all the time. But certainly the Swiss don't have to be so offended when people don't initiate a greeting on the street. Half of them don't even make eye contact when they say "Grüezi". But they're experts at staring on the tram.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank KeinFranzösisch for this useful post:
  #35  
Old 18.04.2012, 15:01
NSchulzi's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Zug
Posts: 2,422
Groaned at 52 Times in 33 Posts
Thanked 2,523 Times in 1,215 Posts
NSchulzi has a reputation beyond reputeNSchulzi has a reputation beyond reputeNSchulzi has a reputation beyond reputeNSchulzi has a reputation beyond reputeNSchulzi has a reputation beyond reputeNSchulzi has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Quote:
View Post
....OR you could just let this go and not get too pissed about it, as it was more a reply to a stupid insinuation that CH should build more houses and destroy the landscape, when CH is known to have such strict regulations on building in general.
It does? Then how can you explain block after block of hideous, grey, concrete monstrosities? The UK (and I would think the US too) has strict regulations concerning building on green sites but there comes a time when one has to bow to demand. Building monstrosities aside, one cannot compare the population density of CH with that of the UK or the US.

Quote:
View Post
One reason that the North of England is much friendlier than the South, IMO, is that people still greet each other in the street.
It depends how far south you go. We greet each other in Cornwall as a matter of course.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank NSchulzi for this useful post:
  #36  
Old 18.04.2012, 15:01
jeroen's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Zurich to Ticino
Posts: 254
Groaned at 2 Times in 1 Post
Thanked 188 Times in 101 Posts
jeroen is considered knowledgeablejeroen is considered knowledgeablejeroen is considered knowledgeable
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

Quote:
View Post
Ah, that has to remind me of:




As for that "Night mode", I unfortunately would love to find that option on my amp, but have not been able to cut out the bass, otherwise I would run with that thing turned on 24/7 as I am not a big fan of huge bass in music, especially as I tend to watch movies after the 'swiss curfew'. I have fortunately not had any complaints from neighbors yet though, for which I am quite thankful.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 18.04.2012, 15:06
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Rheinfelden
Posts: 485
Groaned at 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 183 Times in 121 Posts
Bexie has an excellent reputationBexie has an excellent reputationBexie has an excellent reputationBexie has an excellent reputation
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

IIRC the general rule of rhumb is 22:00 - 07:00 and sundays are quiet. It also depends on the block of flats, for example my block allows washing on a Sunday. Having said that the Police usually dont respond til after 11:00 (What a neighbour of mine said once...)

reminds me of a story from England, my neighbour there used to get back from the pub, and then have a party with his drinking buddies. I eventually did call the local council (environmental health deal with this problem there) and they asked me to turn the music down where I was (3am BTW) I pointed out that it was the music from next door...
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 18.04.2012, 16:28
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

MathNut - yes I know - here I can do exactly what I want and not bother or be bothered by anybody- bar the muck spreading, but that's another thread But I have lived elsewhere before- so I'd still say that building good relations with people DO help, here there or anywhere.

However, I am pretty sure that around here- people who live in flats or close proximity would just talk about it, explain it is intrusive and ask for cooperation, and would NOT call the police. As you say, even little Switzerland has huge cultural differences- around here, people would deal with such a problem as you describe in the US or as I've experienced in the UK. Which is why, often, I do not understand some of the posts on here about all this 'passive/aggressive' behaviour. Have to say I would find it very difficult to live with that myself.

Still - getting to know your neighbours, saying hello, smile, etc, is in general a good idea, and would help in many cases, even in deep Gruezi land.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 18.04.2012, 16:52
MathNut's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Kt. Glarus
Posts: 4,417
Groaned at 34 Times in 32 Posts
Thanked 10,952 Times in 3,253 Posts
MathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond repute
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

I'm beginning to wonder whether we are reading the same thread. What I actually said, or what I was trying to say, was that the way these problems are solved even among neighbors who know each other is very different between the US and Switzerland. (I've never lived in the UK so can't comment on how it is there.)

Let me see if I can summarize:

In the US: you go and knock on their door, ask them to turn it down. You do NOT bring it up the next day - that would be petty.

In Switzerland: you keep quiet and then mention it to them the next day, ask them to keep it down in future. You do NOT go down and ask them to stop - that would be an invasion of privacy.

You've said you agree with both but the fact is they are two very different approaches, different enough that either one is perceived as rude in the context of the other culture.

That's what I'm trying to say. Even in situations where you are on friendly terms with the neighbor, prescribed behavior is very different. So it's not enough to look at your neighbor's actions and judge them by the standard of your own culture, you need to try and understand where those actions fit with the prescribed behavior of his culture, which may be very different.
__________________
Need help? Contact a mod.

Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 18.04.2012, 17:13
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: who calls the cops for the TV being too loud?

I do understand what you are saying MN (and btw how lovely to see you here) - what I am trying to explain, is that HERE in my part of CH, we would do exactly the same as you describe for US (and which I experienced in UK, apart from one dreadful occasion when a neighbor broke my cat's jaw!).

If some of you are experiencing this phoning the cops, passive-aggressive, it's dreadful I'd hate it too. It is different IN MY PART OF SWITZERLAND- and I am very glad to report it here. Even in the US, I'm sure there are variations. Same in UK- the way to deal with things in London are likely to differ from rural Yorkshire. There is no THE Swiss way, you see. How many parts of CH have you lived in?

Still saying that building good relations with your neighbour can help, anywhere.
Reply With Quote
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Neighbour too loud while making love.. DarkHourse Complaints corner 99 31.07.2011 17:03
Ok who is the idiot now, the scammer or the person who actually falls for it? gata General off-topic 3 11.07.2011 23:27
too loud ;) aureola77 Complaints corner 57 13.05.2011 12:51
Swiss cops are the bad guys ?!? BUGFROMHELL Daily life 180 18.06.2010 16:37
For the first time, i curse the Moment i came to Switzerland -Am I too emotional? guidette Daily life 65 06.02.2010 17:36


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 09:53.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0