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  #41  
Old 10.07.2011, 21:47
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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When you are used to living somewhere like the US where such a simple, basic item has a RANGE of quality and price where you can generally afford to not dither too much over price (unless it's from williams-sonoma or somesuch), it seems totally surreal to be faced with limited choice, all of them expensive and rarely something you'd buy unless you had a wider range of options. It's the downside of being American in that we are awfully spoiled for choice and affordability.

This is why IKEA is a global empire now (and not very well established in the US yet.



Delighted to know I'm not the only one who made that same mistake. I turn to my husband and narrow my eyes...uh, honey, Catholics.... No idea why we both imagined shops would be open on Sunday so I guess it was just wishful thinking.
I prefer the limited choices. You can make up your mind and get on with it. US takes one thing and adds on to it until it becomes garbage. Take a good wheat cereal. After the US gets done with it then its Wheat Cereal With Chocolate, Wheat Cereal With Bananas, Chocolate and Strawberries, Wheat Cereal With Sugar, Raisins, Chocolate Chips and Pineapple, Wheat Cereal With Apples, Cinnamon and Kiwi...you get the picture. US takes everything and dilutes it until it's no good anymore. Then everyone complains because they have so many obese people. Maybe that triple decker hamburger with added cheese and bacon wasn't good enough so they had to add extra cheese, mayonnaise and a pinch of lettuce for goodwill.

I remember in the US I wanted to buy chamomile tea buds. I checked an health food store and they wanted $28.00 a pound. I can buy that in Switzerland for 8chf. The problem is that the garbage in US is cheap and the good stuff expensive.

IKEA is too practical and makes too much sense for America.....
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  #42  
Old 10.07.2011, 21:47
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Re: Shopping over the border....

To be back on topic, has anyone tried taking the boat from Lausanne to Evian or Thonon to do their shopping? Are the supermarkets, farmer markets, etc accessible without having to spend hours on buses or what not?
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Old 10.07.2011, 22:02
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Re: Shopping over the border....

Thanks for sharing the article - we went to Marktkauf for the first time this weekend -as it has taken me over two months to convince my Swiss partner to make the epic journey there from Basel to shop for "substandard" (i.e. identical) produce.

I was amazed, not just by the prices, but by the variety of choice compared to Switzerland. It was like, well - actually it was like any other country I have been to, apart from Switzerland.

In any event, thankfully to claim the VAT back, you have to return to the stores after having the receipts stamped at the border in order to collect the cash. So I now have the perfect excuse to return to Germany soon for another reasonably-priced shopping trip.
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Old 10.07.2011, 22:09
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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I was amazed, not just by the prices, but by the variety of choice compared to Switzerland.
and next week, try Leclerc in France plus Saint Louis market for fruit and veggies. even more amazing.
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Old 10.07.2011, 22:11
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Re: Shopping over the border....

Me and some other foreign coworkers shopping across the border always told our swiss colleagues of the big savings to be made. They never cared. Now, after reading this article, one of them decided to come with us and, after shopping, said will come with us from now on

Even stranger is that the guy never shopped in Germany before. In fact, he didn't even know the town of Waldshut existed. So I guess a lot of swiss people have a vague idea that stuff is more expensive here, but never took the time to really investigate how much the difference is exactly.

Also, the swiss I talked to told me they shop in Switzerland because of the better quality. To be honest, in many aspects this seems true to me, even looking at the goods in Migros or Coop they *seem* nicer than say in Kaufland.

The only thing in buy exclusively in CH are the fruit and vegetables as, in my experience, they are a lot better then in DE: look better, taste really good, always seem to be just exactly ripe etc. On top of that, they are not that much more expensive than in DE, especially in Aldi Suisse. Of course, there are exceptions, for example last year I got some beautiful strawberries in 1kg small-crates from Edeka for .99E, while in CH they were 4chf/500g.
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Old 10.07.2011, 22:13
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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and next week, try Leclerc in France plus Saint Louis market for fruit and veggies.
If you don't have a car, or don't fancy driving simply to buy food, Geant is cycling distance (and walking distance from the Carrefour bus stop - same one as for the Saturday maket).

While you're at Marktkauf, grab something to eat from Nordsee. Well, that's what I do.

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The only thing in buy exclusively in CH are the fruit and vegetables
Ah, one goes to France for those
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Old 10.07.2011, 22:18
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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I prefer the limited choices. You can make up your mind and get on with it. US takes one thing and adds on to it until it becomes garbage. Take a good wheat cereal. After the US gets done with it then its Wheat Cereal With Chocolate, Wheat Cereal With Bananas, Chocolate and Strawberries, Wheat Cereal With Sugar, Raisins, Chocolate Chips and Pineapple, Wheat Cereal With Apples, Cinnamon and Kiwi...you get the picture. US takes everything and dilutes it until it's no good anymore. Then everyone complains because they have so many obese people. Maybe that triple decker hamburger with added cheese and bacon wasn't good enough so they had to add extra cheese, mayonnaise and a pinch of lettuce for goodwill.

I remember in the US I wanted to buy chamomile tea buds. I checked an health food store and they wanted $28.00 a pound. I can buy that in Switzerland for 8chf. The problem is that the garbage in US is cheap and the good stuff expensive.

IKEA is too practical and makes too much sense for America.....
Rationalization. Can you say it with me? C'mon. Thaaaat's it. Good boy!
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Old 11.07.2011, 09:49
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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The rate of tax isn't the issue as I've lived in a place where I paid around 50%, though that included the social health system. However, even at that tax bracket and a much lower salary, I never felt quite as shafted at the grocery as I do here. If I want luxuries, I know where to get them much more reasonably priced and how to avoid import taxes. But groceries, I am a hostage to the local market unless I want to make the trek north which I don't often do. I'm a saver, not a spender, so it pains me when I spend 100chf at the grocery on (very little) food that would cost 1/2 the price across the border.
Noone is holding you hostage at the coop or migros and saying you have to buy their groceries. If you want to save...then go to Germany...its only 40 minutes from Zurich

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I mean, even in Helsinki, land of extreme taxation and expense, I could take friends out for 5 small pizzas and water/cola for about 50EUR as opposed to the 150CHF I got skewered with last week. Children's clothing here is also off the charts of expensive. I gasped at a nightgown that was 100CHF in Zurich and saw it at an outlet store in Germany for 25EUR.

I just don't see how two equivalent salaries, one in CH one in DE, would have the same amount of disposable income and purchasing power. I could be wrong, but I'd love to see a detailed analysis.
If you say you bought 5 small pizzas plus cola/water in zurich and paid 150 chf then you seriously got ripped off. But dont forget the people who serve and cook for you are not making 7-9 euros per hour because they couldn't live on that

As for equivalent salaries in chf and Germany....you won't find it unless maybe we are talking about maybe a powerful banker, athlete, musician...etc. *Normal* people with jobs from hairdresser to engineers will have both a higher salary and pay lower tax rates here. Yes your cost of living will inherently be higher but some of it is avoidable if you wish to buy in the neighboring countries.

I don't make an obscene salary....Im satisfied with it...still have 2000-2200 chf left over every month...buy my food and other high priced things in Germany. I know in the us i wouldn't have a much lower salary...but no way would i have the disposable income i have after the nickel and diming each month.
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  #49  
Old 11.07.2011, 10:08
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Re: Shopping over the border....

I have a feeling I posted this already somewhere, but anyway - I rarely shop in Switzerland. And the choices across the border are excellent. For groceries nothing beats Hieber, particularly the newer one in Grenzach. It's big, open, has a market feel to it and doesn't get as busy as Marktkauf.

Marktkauf is good though, they have a good range of stuff beyond groceries. I will mention that their own brand of cheese flavoured Doritos (in a yellow packet for 99c) are the BEST corn ships I've ever had, probably loaded with MSG but hey.... Adding to that, there are some other good shops in the Rhein centre, like the little Asian supermarket, the cheap Euro shop, and taking the kids for a wander around the pet store is a favourite for them. I just find the parking and the busy-ness of Marktkauf a bit annoying sometimes.

Geant has a good selection of Belgian beers (Chimay & Leffe being the two I always go for), and that's the only reason I'd go there. The groceries are fine, but in that regard I'd prefer the German stuff.

Has anyone made the trip further north to Cora - just around the Colmar turnoff.. Holy mother of mercy.. Huge shop with 3 of everything.
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Old 11.07.2011, 10:31
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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yes indeed. driving across for groceries and some other things is really worth it. And because everything is closed on Sundays I make sure that Saturdays are for shopping. Yesterday I was in France buying groceries and I almost bought a blue-ray and a toaster oven, too. Woo hoo!

I do wish stores would be open in Europe on Sundays though. It really makes it hard having to do all of the shopping on one day, which takes away from relaxing and socializing.
Generally in UK, especially in London, shops are open from 12 - 6pm on Sunday. For groceries I buy it all in UK when I go back, better choice, better deals. I have found there to be not much of BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Free) in Switzerland
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  #51  
Old 11.07.2011, 10:44
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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I prefer the limited choices. You can make up your mind and get on with it. US takes one thing and adds on to it until it becomes garbage. Take a good wheat cereal. After the US gets done with it then its Wheat Cereal With Chocolate, Wheat Cereal With Bananas, Chocolate and Strawberries, Wheat Cereal With Sugar, Raisins, Chocolate Chips and Pineapple, Wheat Cereal With Apples, Cinnamon and Kiwi...you get the picture. US takes everything and dilutes it until it's no good anymore. Then everyone complains because they have so many obese people. Maybe that triple decker hamburger with added cheese and bacon wasn't good enough so they had to add extra cheese, mayonnaise and a pinch of lettuce for goodwill.

I remember in the US I wanted to buy chamomile tea buds. I checked an health food store and they wanted $28.00 a pound. I can buy that in Switzerland for 8chf. The problem is that the garbage in US is cheap and the good stuff expensive.

IKEA is too practical and makes too much sense for America.....
Hey, trendwatcher, IKEA is doing pretty well in the U.S. market.

The "limited choice" in the Swiss market is the result of cartels and protectionism. (Aren't there always anecdotes from people in post-Communist countries that they preferred the days when life was simple and they only had one kind of bread to choose from?) Maybe you don't like free markets and that is your prerogative.

However, I wouldn't mind more transparency in the market. It does not seem coincidental that when you go to Big Box Retailer A they do not carry the same brands and models as Big Box Retailer B. They have decided to split the market and laugh all the way to the bank. It is telling that Swiss products can cost 50 percent less in neighboring countries. There is also not a lot of transparency on product websites that also makes it difficult to comparison shop. Good for retailers, bad for customers.
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:02
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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Generally in UK, especially in London, shops are open from 12 - 6pm on Sunday. For groceries I buy it all in UK when I go back, better choice, better deals. I have found there to be not much of BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Free) in Switzerland
It's true, BOGOF seems typically british...But the quality of food here seems higher (in my opinion)- I have the impression that normal priced food here is equal to "tesco finest".

Anyway in UK there's wonderful tool to compare your trolley price:
http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/
it allow you to make a virtual trolley, and compare what the final cost would be in asda/tesco/sainsburry, etc....

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Old 11.07.2011, 11:05
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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Maybe that triple decker hamburger with added cheese and bacon wasn't good enough so they had to add extra cheese, mayonnaise and a pinch of lettuce for goodwill.

IKEA is too practical and makes too much sense for America.....
I came from an area where there were two Ikea stores within an hour's drive, plus a third another 1/2 hour away. They were very popular and always busy. but I lived in a huge metro area in a blue state.

Ikea doesn't seem to do too well in red states.

By the way... did you ever see this? Two pieces of FRIED chicken breast with some bacon and some cheese in the middle. (Not for those keeping Kosher).
550 Calories, 30 grams of fat and over 1700grams of sodium. And that's without any sides.
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:15
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Re: Shopping over the border....

KeinFranzösisch,

This is a truly disappointing display of American excess. People may worry that it is no longer a free country.

May I present instead a 1 lb. hamburger that uses krispy kreme donuts as buns, topped with bacon, mayo and a fried egg. Available in Decatur, GA. Now, that's more like it. ;-)



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I came from an area where there were two Ikea stores within an hour's drive, plus a third another 1/2 hour away. They were very popular and always busy. but I lived in a huge metro area in a blue state.

Ikea doesn't seem to do too well in red states.

By the way... did you ever see this? Two pieces of FRIED chicken breast with some bacon and some cheese in the middle. (Not for those keeping Kosher).
550 Calories, 30 grams of fat and over 1700grams of sodium. And that's without any sides.

Last edited by tearley; 11.07.2011 at 11:27.
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:50
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Re: Shopping over the border....

Mmmm...What about the 'double down' with 2 KK donuts? Now THAT'S freedom of choice, baby! Seriously, I think I might need a bypass just thinking about it.

And wrt IKEA, I do shop there, love the scandi foods I still miss, but I don't really find them all that cheap (price-wise) given the quality. I go there to buy stuff I won't be overly sad to place next to the dumpster when I'm done with it and, if I were to be truly honest, I view it as furnishings for college kids and recent grads but, even then, if kids went to garage sales, they'd find some better stuff for less. But in the EU, I often wonder how folks furnished their apartments before IKEA came along. I wish Crate and Barrel had an EU branch. I still have a sofa and loveseat from them I bought 12 years ago and it still looks good which I doubt any piece of furniture from IKEA could manage.

Also, so much of their stuff is made in China....(yes, I'm looking at all of those who fight for the right to pay out the nose for the Swiss farmer, yet buy cheap furnishings without wondering why it's cheap...)
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:55
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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KeinFranzösisch,

This is a truly disappointing display of American excess. People may worry that it is no longer a free country.

May I present instead a 1 lb. hamburger that uses krispy kreme donuts as buns, topped with bacon, mayo and a fried egg. Available in Decatur, GA. Now, that's more like it. ;-)

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Old 11.07.2011, 11:56
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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I wish Crate and Barrel had an EU branch.

did I hear someone say EF cooperative Franchise?
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Old 11.07.2011, 12:05
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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Aren't there always anecdotes from people in post-Communist countries that they preferred the days when life was simple and they only had one kind of bread to choose from?
Nope, don't believe them.

I agree with the notion of cartels and extreme market control, what is weird, though, how people actually are made to believe that they do not want better. It's like telling somebody his big bucks have zero effect on the market. People pay a lot and are made to believe they don't care for quality products, good choice and corresponding customer service. I don't think it will last too long, to be honest.
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Old 11.07.2011, 12:28
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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People pay a lot and are made to believe they don't care for quality products, good choice and corresponding customer service. I don't think it will last too long, to be honest.
but why has it lasted this long?

and yes - that's maybe my biggest gripe - it feels as if they think i'm stupid enough to pay double for jam, nutela and kellogg's - so where else are they selling me short. but we must be greatful because we have such clean streets, earn more, pay less tax and live in kodak moment beauty - so it must be ok to be taken for a ride - for swiss national pride or something - it seriously freaks me out!!!

end of rant - but thanks for feeling with me guys - see you in cora!

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Old 11.07.2011, 12:45
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Re: Shopping over the border....

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Also, so much of their stuff is made in China....(yes, I'm looking at all of those who fight for the right to pay out the nose for the Swiss farmer, yet buy cheap furnishings without wondering why it's cheap...)
On that note: http://www.good.is/post/ikea-using-u...ssly-american/

If I have to pay more for products so that workers are paid a living wage or so that we live in a better society, I will, happily. But if the corporate fat cats are using abusive practices to dupe consumers into paying more, using very positive things like civic pride against their customers, it's not acceptable.
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