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Old 13.02.2021, 23:52
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Swiss Blocking

I swear I see this more in Switzerland than anywhere else I have traveled or lived, but has anyone else noticed the tendency of people here to just stop absolutely anywhere to talk, rest, ponder the nature of life, etc?


I first noticed this about a decade ago when I was on a train, about to exit, and the person in front of me decided that the first step outside the train was the absolute best place to check the train platforms. I was late and had to deftly dodge them to make my next train on time, to say nothing of the other people behind me. Around that same era I was on an escalator, and this older gentleman at the top made it to the end and just stood there. No idea what he was thinking, but again I had to bump past him. It's not like the escalator stops.



I started to notice a pattern.



It has come up over and over again in the decade I've been here. People will meet in shopping isles for conversation, using their carts as a wall to block all passage. Doorways are popular hangout areas. Stopping in the dead center of a busy hallway is a good place to organize a wallet.



The all time worst I saw was someone on a crosswalk, just after a roundabout, was recognized by someone in a car, and I had to wait a minute while they had a quick conversation there in the middle of the road. It was one of those reality is stranger than fiction moments, because you couldn't put that in a story and have someone believe it.



Perhaps I'm just an outlier and have this happen to me far more than others. I don't know. Anyone else have any experience with this?
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Old 14.02.2021, 00:49
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Re: Swiss Blocking

Yes this is indeed real and happens constantly, super annoying. I have not noticed it in other places.
The escalator thing, blocking people from exiting the train, stopping straight outside an elevator, blocking the width of a pavement and not even attempting to move to one side. Today it was shopping isles in migros. Its just lack of commonsense
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Old 14.02.2021, 01:41
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Re: Swiss Blocking

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I swear I see this more in Switzerland than anywhere else I have traveled or lived, but has anyone else noticed the tendency of people here to just stop absolutely anywhere to talk, rest, ponder the nature of life, etc?


I first noticed this about a decade ago when I was on a train, about to exit, and the person in front of me decided that the first step outside the train was the absolute best place to check the train platforms. I was late and had to deftly dodge them to make my next train on time, to say nothing of the other people behind me. Around that same era I was on an escalator, and this older gentleman at the top made it to the end and just stood there. No idea what he was thinking, but again I had to bump past him. It's not like the escalator stops.



I started to notice a pattern.



It has come up over and over again in the decade I've been here. People will meet in shopping isles for conversation, using their carts as a wall to block all passage. Doorways are popular hangout areas. Stopping in the dead center of a busy hallway is a good place to organize a wallet.



The all time worst I saw was someone on a crosswalk, just after a roundabout, was recognized by someone in a car, and I had to wait a minute while they had a quick conversation there in the middle of the road. It was one of those reality is stranger than fiction moments, because you couldn't put that in a story and have someone believe it.



Perhaps I'm just an outlier and have this happen to me far more than others. I don't know. Anyone else have any experience with this?
I just move around them. I'm still surprised, pleasantly surprised, that nobody gets irritated, nobody mutters under their breath, nobody rolls their eyes in "despair" or .....worse.

Sometimes I might be guilty myself of blocking folks..LOL
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Old 14.02.2021, 02:18
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Re: Swiss Blocking

Yep. And lately people driving started slowing down, then stopping in the middle of the road, trying to figure out which way they wanna go and one patiently has to wait until they at least set their indicator. This proves, not even rear mirrors help. The world behind them simply doesn't exist.

I do roll my eyes though and I tend to very firmly demand to get past. That's when they jump, all surprised.

Actually, there is a phrase for these situations here as well: Uf was wartisch, uf besseri Ziite? (What are you waiting for, for times to get better?). So you see, this is so settled in the culture, it's even in the language. LOL.

My father used to say "the Swiss German word for excuse me is hoppla (ooops)" and it's true, an other peculiar thing here: People do not apologize when bumping into you, they say "hoppla".
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Old 14.02.2021, 07:41
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Re: Swiss Blocking

Actually the worst was in the Supermarkets, pre Covid. Families of 4-8 each would meet in the produce area, or by the Butchers counter, and talk. Dad to dad, Mum to Mum, the adolescent kids staring on their phones, younger kids running up and down screaming making it impossible to do your shopping. Saturdays were always the worse.

The other thingI’ve noticed and this may be covid related where someone would stand by shelves looking for something with one hand firmly attached to the trolly and pushing it away from them, blocking even more shelves.

I no longer shop on Saturdays, or Wednesdays. I am going to start using hoopla with the shelf blockers, maybe that will work in romondie.
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Old 14.02.2021, 08:48
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Re: Swiss Blocking

Notice it while driving.
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Old 14.02.2021, 08:49
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Re: Swiss Blocking

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I swear I see this more in Switzerland than anywhere else I have traveled or lived, but has anyone else noticed the tendency of people here to just stop absolutely anywhere to talk, rest, ponder the nature of life, etc?


I first noticed this about a decade ago when I was on a train, about to exit, and the person in front of me decided that the first step outside the train was the absolute best place to check the train platforms. I was late and had to deftly dodge them to make my next train on time, to say nothing of the other people behind me. Around that same era I was on an escalator, and this older gentleman at the top made it to the end and just stood there. No idea what he was thinking, but again I had to bump past him. It's not like the escalator stops.



I started to notice a pattern.



It has come up over and over again in the decade I've been here. People will meet in shopping isles for conversation, using their carts as a wall to block all passage. Doorways are popular hangout areas. Stopping in the dead center of a busy hallway is a good place to organize a wallet.



The all time worst I saw was someone on a crosswalk, just after a roundabout, was recognized by someone in a car, and I had to wait a minute while they had a quick conversation there in the middle of the road. It was one of those reality is stranger than fiction moments, because you couldn't put that in a story and have someone believe it.



Perhaps I'm just an outlier and have this happen to me far more than others. I don't know. Anyone else have any experience with this?
I hate to break it to you...but it only shows that you might just have less time than they do. You mention it now, after more than 10 years here? Of course that we see that too, yeah. Most people are quite sweet and apologize the French way and scoot aside when they realize. It has gotten better here the last 17 years.

Good post, btw. Thorough!
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Old 14.02.2021, 10:06
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Re: Swiss Blocking

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It has gotten better here the last 17 years.
It's got worse since Covid though. A socially distanced group of 4 people chatting can easily block an entire pavement or supermarket aisle, and you have little choice but to walk right through the middle of them with a polite "Excusez".
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Old 14.02.2021, 10:20
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Re: Swiss Blocking

Oh yes ... it is something that can cause me to go from a rather pleasant mood to feeling pure rage in seconds.

I find it rather rude and selfish and sometimes passive aggressive. I once was running through Zurich HB to catch my last train and an older woman turned around, saw me and purposely stepped and stopped in my way. I guess they also don’t worry about being tackled either?
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Old 14.02.2021, 10:36
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Re: Swiss Blocking

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It's got worse since Covid though. A socially distanced group of 4 people chatting can easily block an entire pavement or supermarket aisle, and you have little choice but to walk right through the middle of them with a polite "Excusez".
I know. But that's still progress. Like...I feel like wearing something obvious but I wouldn't be too discreet.



I know I'd get somebody inch from my face saying how they like the joke.

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Old 14.02.2021, 10:57
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Re: Swiss Blocking

I have learned a long time ago to always leave an empty step or two between me and the next one on the escalator. Even more so now that I am old and need to walk with a stick and can easily be bumped out of balance.

I have also learned that when I have mastered the high art of exiting the escalator without performing a faceplant, I have to move quickly quickly out of the way or else...

I think, it's not only a Swiss thing. I have seen it everywhere.
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Old 14.02.2021, 10:59
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Re: Swiss Blocking

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Actually the worst was in the Supermarkets, pre Covid. Families of 4-8 each would meet in the produce area, or by the Butchers counter, and talk. Dad to dad, Mum to Mum, the adolescent kids staring on their phones, younger kids running up and down screaming making it impossible to do your shopping. Saturdays were always the worse.

The other thingI’ve noticed and this may be covid related where someone would stand by shelves looking for something with one hand firmly attached to the trolly and pushing it away from them, blocking even more shelves.

I no longer shop on Saturdays, or Wednesdays. I am going to start using hoopla with the shelf blockers, maybe that will work in romondie.
Saturdays were a pita pre covid too. I don't even care people talk among them, they are just too....many!
I usually do my best to give space to everyone, but covid times is much more difficult. It is tiring to make a slalom between shelves and I don't do hoopla. I ask them politely, but they usually apologise themselves when they notice they are blocking you. Sometimes you just have to educate your patience a bit...
Seriously, don't do hoopla.
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Old 14.02.2021, 11:34
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Re: Swiss Blocking

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Saturdays were a pita pre covid too. I don't even care people talk among them, they are just too....many!
I usually do my best to give space to everyone, but covid times is much more difficult. It is tiring to make a slalom between shelves and I don't do hoopla. I ask them politely, but they usually apologise themselves when they notice they are blocking you. Sometimes you just have to educate your patience a bit...
Seriously, don't do hoopla.
Who did ever go shopping on a Saturday anyway?! It's a blooming family event, when mommy, daddy and the six kids go .... shopping. Not sure why this is - daddy holds the money? In the old days it was probably daddy had and drove the car. But that was ages ago. No?

Yes, please don't do hoppla. My father commented an observation sarcastically and it made me notice the truth in it. But it is not a good sign of being integrated to follow this behaviour.
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Old 14.02.2021, 12:00
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Re: Swiss Blocking

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Who did ever go shopping on a Saturday anyway?! It's a blooming family event, when mommy, daddy and the six kids go .... shopping. Not sure why this is - daddy holds the money? In the old days it was probably daddy had and drove the car. But that was ages ago. No?

Yes, please don't do hoppla. My father commented an observation sarcastically and it made me notice the truth in it. But it is not a good sign of being integrated to follow this behaviour.
Quite a lot of people go shopping on Saturdays....haven't you noticed? Younger ones because they don't have time during weekdays, as for older folks and families.....probably the same? If you go to Sihlcity for instance you realize this is how they spend a big part of their weekend, shopping ensemble and hanging around food stalls.This is by no means Switzerland specific.
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Old 14.02.2021, 12:12
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Re: Swiss Blocking

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Quite a lot of people go shopping on Saturdays....haven't you noticed? Younger ones because they don't have time during weekdays, as for older folks and families.....probably the same? If you go to Sihlcity for instance you realize this is how they spend a big part of their weekend, shopping ensemble and hanging around food stalls.This is by no means Switzerland specific.
Yes, dear, I have. Once upon a time.
I'm this old fashioned type, I see, learn from it and draw the consequences.
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Old 14.02.2021, 13:05
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Re: Swiss Blocking

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Who did ever go shopping on a Saturday anyway?!
Single busy parents But it's not by choice.

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..daddy holds the money?
Stronger arms for cartons of milk?

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Yes, please don't do hoppla.
I wouldn't hoppla anyone. This "I am a sleepwalker, everybody watch out" happens, your dad was right. I think the version here is "Oh, attention!".

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Old 14.02.2021, 13:38
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Re: Swiss Blocking

We do because we both commute long distances and work outside of the city centers ... now that working from home is here, it is nice to be able to shop in our home city during the week instead of Saturday.
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Old 14.02.2021, 13:46
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Re: Swiss Blocking

This is a subject that we have covered before on EF.

My conclusion is that unlike in the UK, Swiss children are not taught to make way for others (and queue decently too). As adults there is lack of special awareness means they simply block the pavements - sidewalks - oblivious to the rest of the world around them.

Speaking of sidewalks I was on holiday in California in 1992. One hot evening in Santa Monica outside a restaurant the sidewalk was completely blocked by a group of maybe 10 very excited and animated adults. As we stepped out into the street to go round them we heard the throat-clearing tones of Swiss-German...
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Old 14.02.2021, 14:01
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Re: Swiss Blocking

The UK isn't a great example, IMO, because it's so extreme.

A big proportion of kids are taught the British (or maybe English) "no you first" approach, along with starting at least every third sentence with an apology.

Another part are taught to take whatever they can, legal or not, and screw everyone else, every third sentence usually "f**k you".

Swiss kids follow the rules as they are written; so if there's no specific queue sign, no problem, by definition there's no question of politeness or not. Once I got used to it and stopped apologising it's not so bad.
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Old 14.02.2021, 14:09
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Re: Swiss Blocking

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I think, it's not only a Swiss thing. I have seen it everywhere.
This. Definitely. Escalators, lifts, doorways in general, and in my experience certainly not only in Switzerland.

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I have learned a long time ago to always leave an empty step or two between me and the next one on the escalator. Even more so now that I am old and need to walk with a stick and can easily be bumped out of balance.

I have also learned that when I have mastered the high art of exiting the escalator without performing a faceplant, I have to move quickly quickly out of the way or else...
This, too. An empty step or two in front, that's a good strategy.
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