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Old 22.09.2018, 17:30
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I just cannot believe this

Hello everybody,
I normally keep quiet, but this time I must let this go.

It is already the 4th time in the last 3 months, that I am waiting at the checkout counter of a local supermarket, and the queue gets stuck because an old person does not have enough money in her wallets to pay for her few things.

Once, I put the money for the lady, in two other cases the guys working at the counter did, letting the old ladies go with their things.
Today it was especially bad because the woman working at the checkout did not let me pay, (pretending, yes I think that was the case) she could not understand what I asking for, in English, French, Italian and in my poor German.
I am speechless.

We live in one of the richest countries of all western word, Switzerland has an outrageous surplus, and yet, what are the very people who built this country left with?

Especially in this place, we live in constant baustelle, with an amount of money spent (I have seen) for redecorating the public places, and yet, not a bloody penny for the oldest members of the community who are in need.

I feel angry and frustrated for these old people, they are so vulnerable, they do not have the strength to work, likely they are alone. I really cannot believe there is no support at all.

I came home so angry and frustrated and outraged, I just needed to let this go.
So thanks for listening.
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Old 22.09.2018, 17:35
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Re: I just cannot believe this

Thanks for your compassion.

I can believe this happened where you are.
I see it around me, too.
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Old 22.09.2018, 17:35
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Re: I just cannot believe this

Are you sure they do not have the money, or are these the stubborn ones who refuse to use a card and always have somebody else pin them 1500,- a month so they can pay all in cash like my mum.
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Old 22.09.2018, 17:38
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Re: I just cannot believe this

I am actually more annoyed by the ones that pay the 150 CHF in coins
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Old 22.09.2018, 18:12
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Re: I just cannot believe this

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Hello everybody,
I normally keep quiet, but this time I must let this go.

It is already the 4th time in the last 3 months, that I am waiting at the checkout counter of a local supermarket, and the queue gets stuck because an old person does not have enough money in her wallets to pay for her few things.

Once, I put the money for the lady, in two other cases the guys working at the counter did, letting the old ladies go with their things.
Today it was especially bad because the woman working at the checkout did not let me pay, (pretending, yes I think that was the case) she could not understand what I asking for, in English, French, Italian and in my poor German.
I am speechless.
Do you think it could have been a scam? Given that it seems to have happened so frequently (in your opinion) and this time the checkout woman prevented you from paying, it sounds like they have the inside tip.

Sorry if that's a bit cynical but why else would she stop you paying? Money's money whoever is stumping up the cash.

Not denying there are people less well off and probably struggling from day to day, even in Switzerland, but you never know sometimes. Elderly people aren't immune from spotting soft touch and an opportunity, if they're that way inclined.
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Old 22.09.2018, 18:26
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Re: I just cannot believe this

To be honest, a lot of older people refuse to pay with bank cards, relying on cash on hand. Unfortunately, that means they need to budget their purchases carefully and perhaps bought more than they had estimated.
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Old 22.09.2018, 19:14
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Re: I just cannot believe this

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Sorry if that's a bit cynical but why else would she stop you paying? Money's money whoever is stumping up the cash.
If one is, indeed, scamming, then yes, it makes no matter whose money one gets. Therefore, it'd seem to me that a person scamming would have no motivation to stop someone else paying.

If, on the other hand, one genuinely does not have enough money, realising that one's shopping basket was too full for the small purse, right at the till, can become an embarrassing situation. To regain one's sense of personal dignity, it might feel better to leave an item, rather than accept the charity. Sometimes, those who really do need help find it hard to accept, feeling exposed, right at that minute, about how low they have fallen.
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Old 22.09.2018, 19:19
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Re: I just cannot believe this

how often do I spot the individuals visibly scamming (well-dressed, not enough coins to buy train ticket...) find the elderly woman standing nearby has a softer touch than I (cold-hearted woman also trying to make ends meet)
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Old 22.09.2018, 19:28
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Re: I just cannot believe this

You, cold-hearted? That's not my image of you, Tasebo.
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Old 22.09.2018, 19:30
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Re: I just cannot believe this

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Therefore, it'd seem to me that a person scamming would have no motivation to stop someone else paying.
I think it was the cashier who stopped the OP from paying.
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Old 22.09.2018, 19:34
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Re: I just cannot believe this

Oh, thanks, heckenhocker. I mis-read that part. Sorry, Sandgrounder.
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Old 22.09.2018, 19:51
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Re: I just cannot believe this

As one of those oldies and one with plenty of time on my hands I quite enjoy standing in the queue in my local Migros. It can happen that I choose the longest queue just for the sake of being able to. My choice can be somewhat restricted if the best looking lady cashiers are on duty as this can effect my choice of queue. But that's just by the way.


I'm a cash man myself. Coins jingle in my trouser pocket. My wallet's note pocket is filled with a tidy collection of notes of various value - to cover most daily transactions. I wouldn't dream of pulling out the one debit card I have (mainly for holidays abroad) to pay my dues. Admittedly I do sometimes use my Postcard for on the spur purchases but this is seldom and involves punching 8cm spaced file holes into the receipt when I get home to keep my filing data in its State of the Art status.
Now, yesterday, in the Migros, I pulled out of my trouser pocket a whole lot of change at the till and asked the cashier if she would be good enough to take the total owing to the Migros from the mass of mixed denominations. This was a great relief for my trousers on the right hand side and allowed me to stand up straight again.
There was a little bit of tutting behind my back at my request - those behind me were clearly frustrated at not being able to get back to their iphones and those little screen figures and characters so dearly beloved. But, thinking of Theresa I stood my ground and settled my bill thanks to the gracious help of the Migros lady who is of course used to us old folk who are such a burden on the rest of society.
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Old 22.09.2018, 21:12
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Re: I just cannot believe this

I got let off for being CHF 0.05 short last week.

Tom
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Old 22.09.2018, 21:34
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Re: I just cannot believe this

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I think it was the cashier who stopped the OP from paying.
I do not know what happens around but for the cases I mentioned, there was no scam, just regular locals, very old and likely with a poor pension.
No difference if they'd have a card or not, imho, as long as the money is not there, they'd keep and returning stuff to the cashier, just to meet the amounts they can afford.

And in the few cases, I/we offered to pay, was/were never asked by anyone (and we are speaking of groceries for 3, 5 francs).
It just sucks and that's it.

And I am considering writing to the local authorities.
It just makes me sick to see the new parterre and new flowers every other month, and see the older members of the local community not making their ends meet. And these are my taxes too.
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Old 22.09.2018, 21:53
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Re: I just cannot believe this

Maybe the issue you're seeing is cash-only people not bringing enough money for what they want to buy. Can happen when you're old I guess.

There are Ergänzungsleistungen for people with shit pensions, do look into that before writing to the authorities.
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Old 23.09.2018, 01:04
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Re: I just cannot believe this

Ergänzungsleistungen... yes, they are there. In theory, they make life possible. In practice, it is very, very difficult.
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Old 23.09.2018, 01:42
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Re: I just cannot believe this

I don't think the amount of money is the problem but people may not have the necessary financial competencies (likely if you end up with minimum social pension), or go out with the amount of cash that they want to spend and it ends up being too little. And there are old people in the transition phase from being mentally indipendent to needing some sort of personalized care and help, I've seen this happen but it needs to reach a breaking point and if the family is not there to catch those signals it can go on for quite a long time until social services get involved.
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Old 23.09.2018, 01:47
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Re: I just cannot believe this

Yes, Meerkat, all of the additional factors you mention are valid. However, sometimes, too, it is plain lack of money. Eeking out a living on a minimum social pension is very difficult to do, even if one is fully competent to deal with one's finances.

Especially if one used to have a salary, or was married to someone whose salary used to be enough, and then transitions to having a very low pension, it can be hard to break that habit of that feeling of having enough money in one's wallet. That can lead to selecting too many items, and having to leave some at the end, or count out the coins.
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Old 23.09.2018, 06:30
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Re: I just cannot believe this

And there are also those people who use up their second pillar pension in a couple of years, traveling and overspending - and then they have to live on a tight budget and are not used to it.
Just because you live in a rich country, you can't count on the state to compensate your unwise spending.

But there are the really poor - and I also count in some students, especially in Zurich, where accommodation can eat away your budget/ pension. And you struggle to pay the one warm meal or coffee at the Uni.

The showy ones do the trick with the coins. The shy ones just hand over the wallet to the cashier, pretending to not having their glasses with them. And the cashier will kindly ask and sort out what cannot be bought.
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Old 23.09.2018, 08:56
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Re: I just cannot believe this

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I do not know what happens around but for the cases I mentioned, there was no scam, just regular locals, very old and likely with a poor pension.
No difference if they'd have a card or not, imho, as long as the money is not there, they'd keep and returning stuff to the cashier, just to meet the amounts they can afford.

And in the few cases, I/we offered to pay, was/were never asked by anyone (and we are speaking of groceries for 3, 5 francs).
It just sucks and that's it.

And I am considering writing to the local authorities.
It just makes me sick to see the new parterre and new flowers every other month, and see the older members of the local community not making their ends meet. And these are my taxes too.
Some of the elderly can suffer from confusion despite of being able to generally cater for themselves. They use cash because cards are not what they were used to and are not to be trusted. It's difficult to assess if it's a real case of poverty or a person who's slowly going downhills on behalf of their old age. As I know the Swiss, these cases are immediately taken care of because the neighbours are involved in what's going on around them. They care. Social workers are alerted. I don't think a regular local can really suffer from hunger or other serious hardships, in Switzerland, because here people care...well, they probably do care in other places too but are more likely to have their own problems and the "system", unlike in CH, wouldn't contribute much or...at all.

.....and of course, there are those more sinister cases when the poor little lady keeps all her money in the house because again, this is what she trusts, and the drug addicted nephew is "borrowing" from the confused grandmother to feed his addictions and life style. For example. If you don't know the history of these persons, it's rather difficult to correctly asses a situation.

But, if I can save someone from embarrassment or humiliation for only a few francs, I usually do it. Most people wouldn't accept the offer, but some would. I don't think twice. OP, sorry if I can be a bit too realistic at times. I salute your sentiment, I just wanted to say there are always things we don't know. Do as you think it's appropriate.

Last edited by greenmount; 23.09.2018 at 10:05.
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