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  #61  
Old 02.05.2008, 20:03
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Re: Swiss Manners

Regarding pressing the door close button in the elevator, this was in the latest New Yorker: (yes, the constant excitement of my life must sometimes be relieved by reading articles about elevators):

In most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early nineties, the door-close button doesn’t work. It is there mainly to make you think it works. (It does work if, say, a fireman needs to take control. But you need a key, and a fire, to do that.) Once you know this, it can be illuminating to watch people compulsively press the door-close button. That the door eventually closes reinforces their belief in the button’s power. It’s a little like prayer.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...?currentPage=5
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  #62  
Old 02.05.2008, 20:09
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Re: Swiss Manners

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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.
I still don't understand the argument though. When the door is closing, you know with certainty that you can keep it open to let someone else use this shared resource, but you do not know with any certainty that there is anyone else waiting to use it on a different floor. So I think that your rationalisation theory holds more water
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Old 02.05.2008, 20:27
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Re: Swiss Manners

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I still don't understand the argument though. When the door is closing, you know with certainty that you can keep it open to let someone else use this shared resource, but you do not know with any certainty that there is anyone else waiting to use it on a different floor. So I think that your rationalisation theory holds more water
MathNut, I agree with Mikey here (and I think you actually do, too). You should ask your colleague at what point is it "cost effective" to hold the door open...if 2 people are heading for the lift? 3? More?
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  #64  
Old 02.05.2008, 21:50
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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.
...
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.
Eh... I'm not convinced of that. Between closing the door and letting others on, closing the door is more sadistic.

Are we really going to try to explain bad manners until we get convinced bad = good, and good = bad?
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Old 02.05.2008, 22:42
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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.
You're absolutely right. It must be my inferior British upbringing that is at the root of all these problems.

Thanks for pointing this out. I'll go and top myself now - save getting in the way. What's the phone number for Dignitas?

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 02.05.2008, 23:03
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Re: Swiss Manners

I've been here over 20 years now and if there's one thing that really bugs me, it's the bumping and not being able to queue.
Only last week I was happily browsing a shelf of DVDs in our local library, when a young woman came from the left, banged her head into my arm and started picking out DVDs on the shelf below the ones I was looking at. Unbelievable - you'd think I was invisible...

I hate to have to teach my children to barge their way or at least be very wary of other kids jumping the queue when waiting for a ride or queuing for anything. I do, though, they would get trampled on otherwise.

The only other experience I had, which was much worse, was on a Spanish island holiday a few years ago. At the breakfast buffet it was generally the Italian speaking tourists that barged their way to the front of the counters/coffee machines as if we were not there at all. The other Swiss/German/Dutch/English were quite polite.

So, is it the Swiss that have bad manners - or are just the British so polite?
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Old 02.05.2008, 23:04
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Well it's a matter of fact, not opinion. Just read kyotomat's post. He's from there.
So because one contributor from "there" says that's the way it is, that's the way it is? And that's a fact? For me anything that is that subjective is not a fact, it is still a matter of opinion, or maybe perception. I know of too many people who have been puked upon in Tokyo trains or groped and fondled, or maybe even had themselves photographed up their skirts to take any comments about Japanese politeness with a grain of salt. Sure, these are the bad apples. They are no better and no worse than the Swiss, although their transgressions are different, that much is sure.


In fact to be honest, I have a problem with the thread to begin with. "Swiss" manners? Please...there are rude people all over the world:

How's about the hag (and they invariably are...don't know why) who screeches past you in England when you are driving slow looking for an address giving you the finger and screaming what an "effing w***er" you are? I guess that's "British" manners?

Or the US immigration official that gives you a loud lecture in front of an immigration hall full of people because you dared ask a simple question. That's the manners of people in the US?

Yes, there are rude people here too. But they are not just Swiss. I have met rude Germans here, rude Brits, rude Yanks, rude Canadians...you name it.

But....

I like living here. I like the air. I like paying low taxes and I like earning a decent wage. I like living in a place where I know when I visit the doctor I will not be in a waiting room with 20 other people who have the same appointment. I like living in a place where I know that a train that is scheduled to depart at 11:30 will leave at 11:30 (and even if it is a few minutes late...it will still leave). I like living in a place that is relatively clean.

And if I have to suffer a few rude people, well that's a small price to pay.
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  #68  
Old 02.05.2008, 23:08
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Re: Swiss Manners

Staring's not so bad, though. It can be fun - just remember not to do it at home
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  #69  
Old 02.05.2008, 23:21
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Re: Swiss Manners

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In fact to be honest, I have a problem with the thread to begin with. "Swiss" manners? Please...there are rude people all over the world:
...
Well I knew your problem was that you couldn't handle the criticism. Oftentimes, when a Swiss encounters criticism of the sort, the immediate response is to point somewhere else and say "Its not better there", and invariably ends with "if you don't like it, why don't you leave?". But at very rare times do I even hear a Swiss admit it. It was hilarious at a time, but now so predictable.

Now for you to claim you lived in Japan for 7 years and did not take note of the etiquette, you either had no real experience of Japan or just lying out of your teeth to cover up the criticism. I'm sorry, Swiss etiquette does not compare to Japanese etiquette.

Now stop whining about the criticism and see if you can do something constructive with it.

Last edited by Phos; 02.05.2008 at 23:36.
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Old 02.05.2008, 23:52
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Re: Swiss Manners

Enter Helvetia.
"The Swiss" bumping into you are just as likely to be Germans. Or French. Or whatever. If the Swiss are so rude, then what are the Germans, notorious for being rude and pushy, at least according to my compatriots...

Japan is HARDLY the model for good manners and normal behaviour, where women speak in an artificially high voice as a sign of respect and you can buy bottles of spit from schoolgirls who fill the bottle with it in front of the customer's eyes.

My friends and myself are Swiss (ok, I'm half half but they are for the most part "pure-bred" if there is such a thing). We get up for old ladies in the tram. We help mothers with prams. We tell the inattentive lady at the counter that it is actually the gentleman in the beige coat's turn. We hold open doors. And we get annoyed when other people don't do these things.

But, if you stand in the way or in any other manner behave like a sheep, we'll also behave like the metaphorical border collie. Some people can be in a crowded shop and block an entire shelf for ages while mooning over stuff. The modus operandi here is to first hover, then cough, then bark äxgüsi and if this doesn't work, I shove. But then I hate the general public, not because I'm an elitist SVP yodelling xenophobe but because I know/believe that group think is an oxymoron and most people have the alertness and speed of a sloth on weed.
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Old 02.05.2008, 23:54
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Well I knew your problem was that you couldn't handle the criticism. Oftentimes, when a Swiss encounters criticism of the sort, the immediate response is to point somewhere else and say "Its not better there", and invariably ends with "if you don't like it, why don't you leave?". But at very rare times do I even hear a Swiss admit it. It was hilarious at a time, but now so predictable.

Now for you to claim you lived in Japan for 7 years and did not take note of the etiquette, you either had no real experience of Japan or just lying out of your teeth to cover up the criticism. I'm sorry, Swiss etiquette does not compare to Japanese etiquette.

Now stop whining about the criticism and see if you can do something constructive with it.
I don't need to listen to your sanctimonious claptrap. I was the one who was happy to disagree until you rammed "facts" down my throat which weren't facts...just more opinions. What makes you think that your opinions are the gospel truth. I don't need lectures from you on Japanese etiquette. You said you were there for a few months...big deal, hardly more than an extended holiday.

As for manners...perhaps you could do with some lessons too......

PS: I'm only part Swiss. And indeed...if you don't like it, why DON'T you leave????
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Old 03.05.2008, 00:11
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Re: Swiss Manners

Generally, I try not to add to threads in Complaints Corner.
But now I will!

(Deep breath) The next time someone hits the 'door close' when I'm wheeling in a pushchair will be their last. Until the casts come off, anyway. The next person also to give my wife those really foul, evil glances the coffin dodgers here give to people who think your child is not being raised to their standards will be told in no uncertain terms where to go.
And what the **** is about people buying a bus ticket then blocking off the ticket machine? Even after asking politely, they just won't move, even if you're trying to pile coins in the damn' thing.
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Old 03.05.2008, 00:28
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Re: Swiss Manners

And what about all the people who wait until the last second to buy their tram or bus ticket and hold up the departure just so they can squeeze out an extra 30 seconds on their pass? Must not be the same people who press the door close button on the elevator...
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Old 03.05.2008, 00:41
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Re: Swiss Manners

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The next person also to give my wife those really foul, evil glances the coffin dodgers here give to people who think your child is not being raised to their standards will be told in no uncertain terms where to go.
Ah yes, children. Saw a lot of them at the zoo today. Some I'd have happily tossed into the lion pen, others I would have loved to have as my mates, they were so cool. Kids in public transport is just a sore point. I was told to sit straight on the chair, not kick and shut up. I probably didn't but that was the memo. Some parents seem to find it perfectly acceptable to have kids stand on the seat while having a screaming match with their sibling that involves a complete stranger getting a fluffy toy lobbed at them. I nearly chucked it out of the window but reconsidered on account of the inevitable noise increase this would have brought on.

Or another tale - random kid decided that I was not getting off the tram. The parents went through the "darling, let the nice lady get off, honeybumpkins" routine, with, of course, no success. The tram has had the doors open for some time now and the kid is still purposely blocking the way. So mummy gets a hold of honeybumpkins, who still stubbornly holds on to to the bars at the door, until he is actually yanked away. It took all the goodness in my heart not to say something really spiteful. Seriously, I'm all for asserting personal space and finding out who you are but that was just barely above retardation level.

And I concede that this attitude I have is maybe not exclusively Swiss but certainly central European. Other parts of the world seem to be a lot more tolerant of kids going nuts or doing weird things. It is definitely "seen and not heard" here, except that all the Finns, Linusses and Kkääävins were not on the memo for this, just like their sisters Tschänniffär, Laura and Tiiffäänniii. Children seem not to be particularly "liked", I certainly am not instantly fond of a person just because they are ickle, wearing something with teddy bears on and have sticky hands.

Modern mums (at least the ones I see) seem to think that everybody should love their little treasures and have no issue with having to climb over pushchairs the size of a Smart. I apologise for not finding it amusing that adorable Aurora has just put mud on my suit because she thought it would be rather fun to climb over me to get to the window. I'm terribly sorry for not giggling in a conspiratory fashion after being covered by sirup because little Luca (not so little, more like a pre-schooler) fancied giving his open drinks bottle a good shake. But really, that doesn't make me evil or rude, just not happy-hippie tolerant.
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Old 03.05.2008, 00:41
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Re: Swiss Manners

Mannerism is something that has to be taught early in life to kids. I don't think schools and parents do enough of this anymore. When I was young and traveled to England I admired the people waiting in line around corners to get to a play. Much less of that exists in the USA but it is still much more civilized than ski lift lines in Switzerland etc. While most food in US restaurants is served at the same time to a table, some portions might have been sitting under an Infrared light for 10 minutes. I recently went to Wagamama, an english offspring chain. They tell you that they cook the portion fresh and will serve immediately which means your partner might wait another 5 minutes for his meal. Hot plates or not, I prefer to be served at the same time and not be rushed for the next dish, and I prefer to refill my wine glass myself. Many Swiss and a lot of other people could use some refresher course in manners, and of course people should relax more and take daily life easier and be nicer.
Life is too short to not to be polite to each other. And that goes for the SVP and Blocher as well.
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  #76  
Old 03.05.2008, 00:55
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Re: Swiss Manners

Last month Mr S and myself had to get the early bus to get our train connections to fly back to the Uk.
We got to the bus stop where there were about 10 kids waiting for the bus. We were the only adults and were greeted by a "Bonjour" by every single one. The bus came and straight away as it was crowded 2 teenagers got up and gave us their seats.
Back in the UK we got the train. I was reading The Tribune de Geneve so maybe they thought we did not understand but 3 teenagers got on . They were abusive, had a loud radio and just swore all the time to each other. When the guard appeared one locked himself in the WC so he did not have to pay. They then started to pick on an elderly Indian gentlemen.

I then thought back to my morning journey and wished myself back.
Maybe my experience does not happen in the City so much but good manners and consideration to others do not cost anything
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Old 03.05.2008, 01:10
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Enter Helvetia.
"The Swiss" bumping into you are just as likely to be Germans. Or French. Or whatever. If the Swiss are so rude, then what are the Germans, notorious for being rude and pushy, at least according to my compatriots...

Japan is HARDLY the model for good manners and normal behaviour, where women speak in an artificially high voice as a sign of respect and you can buy bottles of spit from schoolgirls who fill the bottle with it in front of the customer's eyes.

My friends and myself are Swiss (ok, I'm half half but they are for the most part "pure-bred" if there is such a thing). We get up for old ladies in the tram. We help mothers with prams. We tell the inattentive lady at the counter that it is actually the gentleman in the beige coat's turn. We hold open doors. And we get annoyed when other people don't do these things.

But, if you stand in the way or in any other manner behave like a sheep, we'll also behave like the metaphorical border collie. Some people can be in a crowded shop and block an entire shelf for ages while mooning over stuff. The modus operandi here is to first hover, then cough, then bark äxgüsi and if this doesn't work, I shove. But then I hate the general public, not because I'm an elitist SVP yodelling xenophobe but because I know/believe that group think is an oxymoron and most people have the alertness and speed of a sloth on weed.
I couldn't agree more. I'm a "pure-bred" Swiss (to adopt Kittster's expression) and I get equally annoyed at the same things you all listed here. So I don't know whether it's just Swiss people having no manners or whether it's more like a general decline in manners worldwide. What makes you so sure the people harassing you are Swiss? Has the situation in your homecountry not changed over time?
Yes, while living in Ireland people said sorry to me all the time (so did I, although it was kind of strange to apologise to someone who had rammed his elbow into my side) but why did they have to say this? Because they were as rude as the people here, bumping into you, shoving you away, standing on your foot... I don't think manners are a cultural thing, it has to do more with character in my opinion.
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Old 03.05.2008, 10:44
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Re: Swiss Manners

I have lived in Germany, Austria, the U.S., and now in Switzerland.

According to my own, non-scientific observation, people here seem more rude than in the other places I have lived. This is observable in the work environment and outside, public places, shopping areas, public transportation, etc.

Maybe it just seems that way, but my wife (who is yet from a whole 'nother country) notices it, too. I am not sure how to handle it. Ignore? Adapt?
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Old 03.05.2008, 11:45
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Ah yes, children. (etc)
I agree - especially about the buggies. Some of these pushchairs are only short of a few boosters to be capable of space exploration. And even though they have folding bits, it maybe takes six inches off of the otherwise-huge diameter of the thing.
And why, dear God, why?, do people here never use the brakes on them on the bus? The number of times I've had to grab at the handle of a sliding pushchair as the bus goes round a corner while the parents have sat somewhere else...
We don't let Mk 1 get away with much in terms of bad behaviour (we cut her some slack when she's teething - that's not her fault) and the whole 'Oh please, Timothy, please don't poke the nice man with the sharp thing again or mummy will be ever so upset, oh please...' really gets on my nerves. You've got kids - now look after them.
Another problem with Mk 1 is that she likes to play with older kids, but almost without exception, they are mean little ****s. I had to shout a sharp 'Hey!' at some kid who looked about 10 to stop him from pushing Mk 1 four feet off of the top of some play equipment. He just gave me a scowl and kicked her instead and spent the next half-hour shooting evils at me. This sort of thing is quite common in my experience.

Now where the hell are my blood pressure pills and whiskey? Eh?
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Old 03.05.2008, 11:57
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Re: Swiss Manners

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I don't need to listen to your sanctimonious claptrap. I was the one who was happy to disagree until you rammed "facts" down my throat which weren't facts...just more opinions. What makes you think that your opinions are the gospel truth. I don't need lectures from you on Japanese etiquette. You said you were there for a few months...big deal, hardly more than an extended holiday.
I'm sure it would be easier for you to process if it were only my sanctimonious claptrap. But I'm not the only one reporting it. Everyone notices it. I'm sure you'd like to bury it, but you'll have to try harder than than. This topic has nothing to do with Japan or anywhere else. We're talking about here in Switzerland. Your first step to recovery is admission, followed by reform.


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PS: I'm only part Swiss. And indeed...if you don't like it, why DON'T you leave????
You see? What did I tell you. I'm not leaving and the Swiss will be changing their bad manners. Perhaps a course in public manners would help.

Last edited by Phos; 03.05.2008 at 12:08.
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