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  #41  
Old 02.05.2008, 17:25
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Re: Swiss Manners

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I hate to contradict, but having lived 7 years in Japan and worked in Tokyo I can tell you for a fact: that statement is purely and simply untrue!
I've also spent a number of months in Japan and can say that the Japanese are very courteous in regards to each others personal space. They are constantly apologizing to each other. Rush hour and packing into a train may be an exception, but in normal civic activites, this is the case..... unless you spend most of your time there in Gaijin surrondings.
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  #42  
Old 02.05.2008, 17:28
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Re: Swiss Manners

Yeah but you are talking about a city of 20 some odd million people getting from A to B over a couple of hours a day. I lived in Tokyo and Osaka as well, and never did I face the rudeness I have here. At least the Japanese tend to at least turn to acknowledge that they have hit something/someone. Zurich they have more space (because of lower number of people) and they barge through as they like because it seems they feel they deserve to be able to....

My wife was standing off to one side at the supermarket the other day. She puposefully chose a place to be out of the way whilst waiting for me to finish faffing about, and wasn't even standing in front of any products. Still, sSome snotty woman walked up to her and asked her to move instead of going around.
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  #43  
Old 02.05.2008, 17:32
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Re: Swiss Manners

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I've also spent a number of months in Japan and can say that the Japanese are very courteous in regards to each others personal space. They are constantly apologizing to each other. Rush hour and packing into a train may be an exception, but in normal civic activites, this is the case..... unless you spend most of your time there in Gaijin surrondings.
In some cases you may be right, particularly in outlying areas where people are still in awe of foreigners (particularly caucasians - Koreans and Chinese definitely excluded) but for the most part I disagree... and I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.
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  #44  
Old 02.05.2008, 17:33
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Re: Swiss Manners

In Los Angeles, this behavior of bumping into people would not last very long. The culprit would surely earn himself a couple of pops.

Is respect too expensive to ask for?
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  #45  
Old 02.05.2008, 17:34
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Re: Swiss Manners

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and I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.
Well it's a matter of fact, not opinion. Just read kyotomat's post. He's from there.
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  #46  
Old 02.05.2008, 17:34
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Re: Swiss Manners

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You are imposing your culturally accepted definition of manners on another country that has a different definition of manners.
It does seem to be a subjective sort of thing. I think it may be that many Swiss just aren't cognizant of a "breech of protocol" unless it is somehow explicitly brought to their notice. Otherwise, I don't think it's meant as deliberate rudeness.

Once eating lunch with some friends in a crowded place, a nearby stranger belched. I didn't personally think of it as rude, but I did briefly glance at him in automatic response to the sound, which I'm sure is the only thing that prompted an "Entschuldigung."

On the other hand, when I quickly apologized with a smile to an elderly woman on a train after stepping on her foot, I got an earful of angry züritüütsch, only one word of which I understood. (Had I kept my mouth shut, she probably would have too.)
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  #47  
Old 02.05.2008, 17:41
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Re: Swiss Manners

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It does seem to be a subjective sort of thing. I think it may be that many Swiss just aren't cognizant of a "breech of protocol" unless it is somehow explicitly brought to their notice. Otherwise, I don't think it's meant as deliberate rudeness.

On the other hand, when I quickly apologized with a smile to an elderly woman on a train after stepping on her foot, I got an earful of angry züritüütsch, only one word of which I understood. (Had I kept my mouth shut, she probably would have too.)
Perhaps all these "rude" people are actually foreigners who are too scared to say sorry through fear that they will be recognised as a foreigner and be told off.

Who else out there has been called an "Auslander" and got an ear full of abuse with it?
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  #48  
Old 02.05.2008, 17:42
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Re: Swiss Manners

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90% of the time, the Swiss I encounter are polite, courteous, helpful - etc etc.

However, when it comes to walking along the street in broad daylight, respecting personal space, their ideas of etiquette seem to be a little bit different from they ones I have been raised with.

Today walking along Steinenvorstadt in Basel and aroudn a couple of shops I experienced about half a dozen people either bump into me - or nearly bump into - all because they weren't looking where they were going (e.g. texting on mobile, talking to friends etc etc). On none of these occasions was an apology forthcoming - except for the woman who swung out of the Migros Food Court with a pram and caught me with the wheel while I was standing at the service window on the street.

Then I was in the Coop City on Marktplatz trying to find a jelly mould in the kitchen section - so was taking my time perusing the shelves. This woman to the right of me decided she wanted something which was on the shelf I was looking at but about a foot to the left. Instead of going around me (the aisles are wide enough) she decided to reach across me. I gave this woman a hard stare (Paddington would be proud) and she looked (white??)sheepishly back at me - so she knew she was in the wrong.

The SVP supporters and their chums all go on about how foreigners in Switzerland should try to emulate the Swiss and integrate. How much will I have to lower my standards to achieve this I wonder?

Cheers,
Nick
Hi Nick,
Why are you not happy with the 90% of people that are polite and friendly?
Your examples of people bumping into you show your tendency to be in the way, not to anticipate somebody coming and step back from the shelf or get out of the way. You might be one of the people that get trapped behind another car because you were not anticipating his move in time and take evasive action.
I consider these the people that are self centered, not polite at all, and a nuisance.
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  #49  
Old 02.05.2008, 17:42
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Re: Swiss Manners

I am certain Swiss mannerism WILL change. It's changed from the time I first came here, and is currently changing now.

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Once eating lunch with some friends in a crowded place, a nearby stranger belched. I didn't personally think of it as rude, but I did briefly glance at him in automatic response to the sound, which I'm sure is the only thing that prompted an "Entschuldigung."

On the other hand, when I quickly apologized with a smile to an elderly woman on a train after stepping on her foot, I got an earful of angry züritüütsch, only one word of which I understood. (Had I kept my mouth shut, she probably would have too.)
This means WE have an opportunity to be first cause. So exercise as much courtesy as you can out there, so it will spread and they will see the light.

Viva la Revolucion!
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  #50  
Old 02.05.2008, 18:06
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Don't let it spoil your day.
I don't let it spoil me day. I do however acknowledge that it exists and criticise this fact.
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  #51  
Old 02.05.2008, 18:08
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Re: Swiss Manners

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I do not agree with you for what makes good manners. You are imposing your culturally accepted definition of manners on another country that has a different definition of manners.
I agree to a certain extent. I honestly don't believe that most of them have manners as they have never been told how to act with courtesy. Simply saying hello to everyone on a tram/elevator or wishing a room full of strangers a nice weekend does not represent good manners in my opinion. It's the automatic "Have a nice day" McDonalds-like comment that you would expect from a nation of automatons. Most people from Zürich care only for themselves imho. They probably don't even notice that there is anyone else out there as they are too focussed on the big "ME".

I've been thinking about this a lot recently as I am also getting mightily p!ssed off about constantly being bumped in to. And like a few of the others, I've found myself becoming more rude the longer that I live here. I've also noticed that if you time your walk carefully you can also make them walk in to stationary objects rather than acknowledge your presence
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  #52  
Old 02.05.2008, 18:10
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Hi Nick,
Why are you not happy with the 90% of people that are polite and friendly?
Your examples of people bumping into you show your tendency to be in the way, not to anticipate somebody coming and step back from the shelf or get out of the way. You might be one of the people that get trapped behind another car because you were not anticipating his move in time and take evasive action.
I consider these the people that are self centered, not polite at all, and a nuisance.
Yes, and they usually speak Schwiizerduutsch
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  #53  
Old 02.05.2008, 18:18
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Who else out there has been called an "Auslander" and got an ear full of abuse with it?
{*raises hand*} And what stuck in my craw is that the person who called me "Auslander" wasn't even Swiss
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  #54  
Old 02.05.2008, 18:22
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Re: Swiss Manners

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In Los Angeles, this behavior of bumping into people would not last very long. The culprit would surely earn himself a couple of pops.

Is respect too expensive to ask for?
When people run into each other in LA, it's called a car accident.
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  #55  
Old 02.05.2008, 18:35
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Re: Swiss Manners

I have to say I've noticed this bumping in thing to and well I don't care when I'm walking around and they bump in to me, but is it really nesscary to walk right into me, when I am standing perfectly still out of the way waiting for a train, and the on top of it to growl at me, like I am not allowed to wait for the train or some thing.
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  #56  
Old 02.05.2008, 19:12
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Re: Swiss Manners

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People seem to always want to get into the lift/train/bus before you can get out. They also like to press the lift door close buttons as soon as they select their floor instead of looking if someone else if about to get caught in the doors.

Wanting to "reserve" a seat with their bag on the train is also quite popular.

Is it a lack of manners? I bet these people don't even realise there is anyone else around but themselves.
Closing the lift doors immediately is actually considered good manners, as it demonstrates proper consideration for others.

See, the lift is a shared resource, and any time you use it yourself, you're denying its use to all others in the building - so naturally the polite thing to do is to get in and get out of it as fast as possible. Plus the odds are (in a large building, anyway) that someone is already waiting for it on another floor; thus, holding the door for a few seconds doesn't just slow you down, it slows everyone down. It's not your place to make that decision for the whole group. (My colleague didn't say, but I assume this is also the reason for not holding doors on the tram.)

I admit I'm not totally on board with the logic here (different culture, different value on individual vs. group decision-making), but it's nice to see that there is some logic.
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Old 02.05.2008, 19:21
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Closing the lift doors immediately is actually considered good manners, as it demonstrates proper consideration for others.

See, the lift is a shared resource, and any time you use it yourself, you're denying its use to all others in the building - so naturally the polite thing to do is to get in and get out of it as fast as possible. Plus the odds are (in a large building, anyway) that someone is already waiting for it on another floor; thus, holding the door for a few seconds doesn't just slow you down, it slows everyone down. It's not your place to make that decision for the whole group. (My colleague didn't say, but I assume this is also the reason for not holding doors on the tram.)

I admit I'm not totally on board with the logic here (different culture, different value on individual vs. group decision-making), but it's nice to see that there is some logic.
I think it was Mr. Spock who said, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."
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Old 02.05.2008, 19:23
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Closing the lift doors immediately is actually considered good manners, as it demonstrates proper consideration for others.

See, the lift is a shared resource, and any time you use it yourself, you're denying its use to all others in the building - so naturally the polite thing to do is to get in and get out of it as fast as possible. Plus the odds are (in a large building, anyway) that someone is already waiting for it on another floor; thus, holding the door for a few seconds doesn't just slow you down, it slows everyone down. It's not your place to make that decision for the whole group. (My colleague didn't say, but I assume this is also the reason for not holding doors on the tram.)

I admit I'm not totally on board with the logic here (different culture, different value on individual vs. group decision-making), but it's nice to see that there is some logic.
So by closing the door and not holding it for a few seconds to allow other people to share this resource you're actually being polite to the whole building I think it's more likely that the ignorant simply want that resource to themselves so that they don't have to wait a few seconds more.

How does this explain the pack mentality of trying to barge on to a lift before the people on it have a chance to get off?

The only logic I see is the selfish determination to do what is best for the individual rather than the world in general.
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  #59  
Old 02.05.2008, 19:43
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Re: Swiss Manners

Have you ever tried meeting the eyes of those who stare? In my experience, 95%+ of the time, they just keep staring! The lack of shame at being caught staring is just mind boggling to me.

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No, I 100% disagree. You can't tell an entire society they lack manners because they were raised in a different culture of what manners are. I get stared at a lot here, much more so than in English speaking countries but I wouldn't say the Swiss lack manners. I'm just guessing they weren't told repeatedly as children "It's not polite to stare"
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Old 02.05.2008, 19:57
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Re: Swiss Manners

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How does this explain the pack mentality of trying to barge on to a lift before the people on it have a chance to get off?

The only logic I see is the selfish determination to do what is best for the individual rather than the world in general.
I didn't offer it as an explanation of that. I don't see that behavior too frequently anyway (maybe our lift doors are too narrow.)

FWIW, some of the same colleagues who are the aggressive lift-door-closers are quite good about holding doors for you in other settings, e.g. the outside door at the foot of the lift. That does dovetail nicely with my colleague's explanation, since those kinds of doors only delay the person who decides to hold them.

Again, I'm not theorizing here; I'm just reporting what a Swiss colleague told me was the reason for this behavior. Maybe the group rights thing is all just a massive cover story to rationalize their rampant individualism though.
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