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  #81  
Old 03.05.2008, 11:58
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Re: Swiss Manners

@Colonelboris
One of my Cultural Anthropology lecturers recently said: "...so you see, having children is an Open Source resource, with all the advantages and disadvantages of such a concept...", which made the whole room have a good giggle.

As for the evil kids, I recommend Michael Mittermeier's sketch on the AK (A....lochkinder), it's very heartwarming. But I agree that "nice" children are becoming more and more rare, a terrible shame. Remember when babies used to all smile back indiscriminately when you smiled at them? Doesn't seem to work so well anymore. O tempora, o mores.

Gosh, I'm ready for the retirement home, now where did I put my comfy slippers and that crossword...

By the way, if the little one is screaming due to teething, get her a "Bernstein" bracelet, believed in Helvetic folk medicine to relieve the pain. Even if it doesn't work, it handily marks your kid as teething, which should cut down on the evil stares.

@Phos
Who exactly is "everyone"?
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  #82  
Old 03.05.2008, 12:05
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Re: Swiss Manners

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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...
There are only a couple of seats where you can sit holding your pushchair on the bus. There are normally raced to by people who want to take up both seats themselves.

The brakes do not work well, especially with no kid to weigh it down, perhaps why you said they were "sliding" instead of rolling
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  #83  
Old 03.05.2008, 12:08
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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
This happens all the time, pushchairs being used as battering rams etc. I always apologise it's just good manners.

However being quite a tall guy and the Swiss being vertically challenged in the main... (well seems so)

I tend if I'm in a bad mood just to walk straight through them knocking them over. The worst one is where they stop dead in the street to answer a call and you can go no where but through them.

Especially the mobile phone crowd. What they're saying is their call is more important than you so get out of their way. It's funny when the phone is knocked flying. Saying that not tried it over here was always in the UK.

Another one is brolleys in the face this happens so often... this one guy in London decided to open a brolley in my face so I hit the top of the brolley accidentally on to his head..oppps

If you're under 5ft 7 and you're about to open a brolley in a crowded street be aware every one over 6ft is at eye level

Other days I just ignore it and I find time to help old ladies with their shopping....
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  #84  
Old 03.05.2008, 12:09
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Re: Swiss Manners

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@Phos
Who exactly is "everyone"?
Those who report it and care to observe it.
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  #85  
Old 03.05.2008, 12:16
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Those who report it and care to observe it.
So a skewed, pre-determined sample. Especially as it is common knowledge that people are more likely to take the time to complain than to say something nice.

Cata1yst, you don't have to be six foot to find brollies a hazard, my 5'10" seems to suffice. Another favourite of mine is people gesticulating with ciggies in their hand. As for the mobile, why can't one walk AND remove the mobile from its recess? Clearly motor inadequacy...

But seriously, people, the population of Zurich is roughly 50% foreign and in tourist areas you are more likely to meet a foreigner than a Swiss. We should do an experiment, ask the people you bump into what nationality they are. Could be interesting.
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  #86  
Old 03.05.2008, 12:22
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Re: Swiss Manners

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There are only a couple of seats where you can sit holding your pushchair on the bus. There are normally raced to by people who want to take up both seats themselves.
Oh, I know that one. The people who stare at you as if you'd asked to sleep with their sister because you would like them move out of the pushchair compartment, which isn't all that unreasonable as they usually don't have one.

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The brakes do not work well, especially with no kid to weigh it down, perhaps why you said they were "sliding" instead of rolling

This I also know, but it's fairly common to park a pushchair in the compartment with no brakes, kid inside, and then for the parent to go and sit down, leaving every other b***er to stop their offspring from colliding with every chair and passenger nearby. I guess a lot of the complaint is against the companies that make these dock-off great big buggies and don't give them half-way decent brakes. The brakes are one of the first things we check when looking at one. Especially since that time using a borrowed buggy where the brakes let themselves off and the thing disappeared into a pond. Luckliy, Mrs Boris had the baby, although how the damn' thing started rolling uphill before going off the path is beyond me as a scientist...
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  #87  
Old 03.05.2008, 12:23
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Re: Swiss Manners

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But seriously, people, the population of Zurich is roughly 50% foreign and in tourist areas you are more likely to meet a foreigner than a Swiss. We should do an experiment, ask the people you bump into what nationality they are. Could be interesting.
I seem to come across locals walking while reading books. Now academic endeavour is a fine thing, but not if you find yourself rebounding off of people because you weren't looking where you were going...
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  #88  
Old 03.05.2008, 12:31
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Re: Swiss Manners

I was living in Zurich for a couple of years and just moved to Sydney. The Swiss are the rudest and strangest people I have ever encountered and I have lived and traveled in many countries. I once was walking down Central, going toward HB with two kids and another couple with several luggage, a woman would not move out of the way for us to get through, I turned and said "Swiss do not move out of the way", she said "yes, we do not"....
Boy, am I glad I am out of there. I am just checking here because I don't like to complain while I am in someone else's home about their home.
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  #89  
Old 03.05.2008, 13:06
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Those who report it and care to observe it.

Or those that don't have a life.....
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  #90  
Old 03.05.2008, 14:17
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Re: Swiss Manners

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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.
Don't just do that. I usually will wave back at someone who stares at me. Often I'll get a smile and a wave back, especially from the lonely old ladies who are staring out their apartment windows in small villages because they don't have anything else to do.
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  #91  
Old 03.05.2008, 14:22
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Or those that don't have a life.....
I wouldn't say that is entirely fair. If you are in a foreign country, you are bound to be more sensitive to what you perceive as being differences to your home. Sometimes these differences are real, sometimes it's just because you are actually paying attention to how things work.

Also remember, what you perceive as normal may be viewed as rude by us. For example:
  • Not saying who you are on the phone when calling a company
  • Calling at lunch, dinner time or after 21.00 (some families even have 20.00 as their watershed)
  • Pulling up snot rather than just blowing your nose properly
  • Being late without calling - three minutes late is late
  • Not removing your shoes or at least offering to when entering someone's flat
  • Eating smelly food in a constrained area
  • Talking about salaries
And that's all I can think of off the top of my head.

Summa summarum - when in Rome... and so on.
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  #92  
Old 03.05.2008, 14:41
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Re: Swiss Manners

I think it has more got to do with the space.... My theory on that is as follows: As we know Switzerland is not a large country and people are used to living very close one to another. Simply, it might be not an issue for many locals to bumb at each other in the shops, train station and other public amenities. Just it might happen on daily bases so often that such faux-pass are observed without any remark (old people might constitute exception here).

First time when I came here from South Africa, where by the way living in one's own space is assumed sacred, I was also appalled by luck of respect for private space... people at the train stations passing next to me pushed me out of the way.

I agree it can be quite irritating in the shops though...
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  #93  
Old 03.05.2008, 15:09
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Re: Swiss Manners

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I think it has more got to do with the space.... My theory on that is as follows: As we know Switzerland is not a large country and people are used to living very close one to another. Simply, it might be not an issue for many locals to bumb at each other in the shops, train station and other public amenities.
I kind of agree. I think a lot of the space here was not designed for the capacity of people it is handling. And then there's this surge in population.

And here's the rant:
This is just my perception. With some of the bumps I've seen and felt, I think it is a sub-conscious projection of self-entitlement. There's a subtext of self-importance where YOU are in the way of ME. I've seen this in many other different context.

Last edited by Phos; 03.05.2008 at 18:46.
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Old 03.05.2008, 15:16
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Re: Swiss Manners

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This is just my perception. With some of the bumps I've seen and felt, I think it is a sub-conscious projection of self-entitlement. There's a subtext of self-importance where you (the foreigner) are in the way of me (the Swiss). I've seen this in many other different context.
While I can see how someone who is a visible minority might feel this way, I can say (as a pretty typical mid-northern European looking fellow ) that I have experienced the same behaviour - clearly (in my case at least) not motivated by Swiss/non-Swiss feelings. Furthermore, I have also experienced this behaviour in other German-speaking parts of the world, Munich, in particular is great for this. I find it increases if I look where I am going; if I walk along looking at my feet (or as someone mentioned, my phone) people tend to get out of the way. My particular favorite is when a group of children tries to monopolize the sidewalk, especially when I am carrying large heavy bags. They seem to think, for some unknown reason (bless their naive little souls) that I will get out of the way for them.
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Old 03.05.2008, 15:29
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Re: Swiss Manners

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So a skewed, pre-determined sample. Especially as it is common knowledge that people are more likely to take the time to complain than to say something nice.
Well, please notice this thread is in the Complaints Corner and is in regards to Swiss Manners. A Compliment Corner with the same thread title might get you what you would rather like to hear.


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.... Summa summarum - when in Rome... and so on.
Well just because an undesirable behavioral pattern is widespread in a culture, it doesn't mean one should condone and adopt it.

I know its uncomfortable to take criticism. But there is an opportunity here to see something. Please note that the reports on this thread were posted by discrete individuals. We didn't come together and plan this.

This process of rationalizing, and then denying is also not convincing. It looks like an attempt to blur it into ambiguity. As an overall behavioral pattern, I believe it is called Passive-Aggressive.
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  #96  
Old 03.05.2008, 15:29
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Re: Swiss Manners

I forgot to mention in passing that living in South Africa we experienced the same phenomenon... Germanic culture is more nuclear orientated one e.g. Afrikaanse and they like being close togather which includes family gatherings every weekend and being close to friends. The way they greet and stampede at each other. It is assumed quite normal....

On the contrary English are more open-minded, space yearning creatures and can call their parents once per year only without constant need to socialize and create this ''nucleus''....

I forgot there were descriptions of both ''coconut'' and ''nuclear'' type of families.... but frankly forgot the difference

When it comes to bumping in the street... if there's a pretty looking girl passing man's way, it feels very diffcult to avoid confrontation

Last edited by jacek; 03.05.2008 at 22:43.
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Old 03.05.2008, 15:32
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Re: Swiss Manners

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While I can see how someone who is a visible minority might feel this way, I can say (as a pretty typical mid-northern European looking fellow ) that I have experienced the same behaviour - clearly (in my case at least) not motivated by Swiss/non-Swiss feelings.
Okay, I'll accept that this is not a specific Swiss thing. But I have to include that nowhere have I seen this more widespread than it is here.
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Old 03.05.2008, 15:41
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Re: Swiss Manners

Phos, do tell me who died and made you judge of all that is good and true.

I absolutely agree that the behaviour is not on but I do NOT believe that it has to do with Switzerland. Maybe it's because there seems to be a divide into "fast-moving, impatient individuals" (such as myself) and "slow-moving, dreamy individuals" (large parts of the general public often in town for non-business pursuits) which creates a pinball machine effect. If you meander about not seeming to know where the heck you are going, then you are in my way.

Notice how people who walk with determination rarely seem to get bumped into? Maybe it's because I'm a bit of a Valkyrie but I neither bump not get bumped into. They probably don't fancy their chances. And can we please have a lane-system on the Bahnhofstrasse. Some days I feel like just climbing over people to speed things up.

As for your attempt at assessing a behavioural dysfunction - nope.
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Old 03.05.2008, 15:50
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Re: Swiss Manners

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I absolutely agree that the behaviour is not on but I do NOT believe that it has to do with Switzerland.
...
And can we please have a lane-system on the Bahnhofstrasse.
....
The acknowledgment of the behavior is fine with me. The denial of it paints those who report it as hallucinating. Your idea of the lane-system sounds rational to me. As for the judgement of what is pleasant or not pleasant, I'll take the prerogative.
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  #100  
Old 03.05.2008, 17:29
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Re: Swiss Manners

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There's a subtext of self-importance where you (the foreigner) are in the way of me (the Swiss). I've seen this in many other different context.
Are you kidding? Are we now at the point where accidental bumping is a sign of foreigner bashing???

I'm sorry, but this is completely outrageous!
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