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Old 19.09.2011, 11:11
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Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

Hi,
I’ve been reading about cost of living in CH and how many people are shopping in neighbouring countries for groceries to save some money.

I also read, that there are quotas on certain (if not all) products: meat, drink etc.

I just wanted to ask you how does it really look when it comes to shopping abroad whilst living in CH?

Switzerland is part of a Schengen area, so how does it look at the borders (never driven to CH)?

Can you bring a bit more meat and other groceries that the quota? Not talking about any contraband, but 0.5kg of beef per person (numbers from some website) doesn’t seem worthwhile going abroad.

Any info much appreciated.

Michael
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:19
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

for you living in Zug, it's not worth it.

With the exchange rate and prices/variety, my trip for 20 minutes each way to go shopping in Italy is:

a) fun. You want to see how some people dress up (or down) to shop there
b) choice. Things you can't get over here....
c) quality. Fruit & veg is generally better
d) price. Many things are better priced.....meat particularly hence the limits.

HTH
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:26
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

We live 10 minutes to the Edeka supermarket in Germany which makes it super easy to go there for my weekly grocery trip. I go with all the kids and sometimes OH so that I can bring enough meat for the whole week. I spend about E 200 / 250 a week, that plus about E 50 for fresh veggies here in Switzerland makes my grocery bill not much more then back in the Netherlands and we are a family of 6.

Yes I do get stopped quite a lot but that is probably of the tinted windows of the car...they count the kids, search the car, even one time went to weigh the meat I got but I never take more meat (I do with dairy as they don't seem to care) just because it is not worth the hassle.
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:37
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

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Switzerland is part of a Schengen area, so how does it look at the borders (never driven to CH)?

Can you bring a bit more meat and other groceries that the quota? Not talking about any contraband, but 0.5kg of beef per person (numbers from some website) doesn’t seem worthwhile going abroad.
I am afraid Michael that you CANNOT bring more goods than the quota allows. That is, I guess, the whole point of the quota. Chances are you will get caught, and there will be tax and perhaps a fine to pay. Depends on what you're trying to bring over and its excess value.

The way it looks as you drive through the border is the following:
1) there is a short line of cars driving by. You slow down to some 5 km/hr to 10 km/hr, windows rolled down. There are chances the Border Police will ask you if you are bringing anything with you. If you don't, and they believe you, they will nod and let you drive by. If you're unlucky they will ask you to pull aside, ask you for your documents and perhaps even ask you to open the boot. I have seen rare cases when they even perform a thorough check of the entire car (lift seats, look underneath the car). Perhaps 5 times in my whole 6 years in Switzerland, going across the border a few times a week.

2) if you ARE carrying goods you might want to declare them. More often than not large supermarkets close to the Swiss borders have a DUTY FREE thingie where they stamp the form, which allows you to claim your VAT back. In a €200 purchase you can get some €25 back. When you collect these over a period of 2 or 3 months it does add up to well over €100. Worth it if you shop abroad frequently.

If you plan to declare your purchase for DUTY FREE purposes you MUST pull over, walk to the border police office (typically right in front of the guys doing the control), and show them your form+receipt. They will quickly look at it, pay special attention to the "big ticket" items, and if you're below the quotas stamp it and let you go.

3) if you ARE carrying goods, but don't care to get a DUTY FREE stamp, you can simply wait until they ask you if you're carrying anything, show them your receipt, and if you're below the quotas they will let you go. If you are above, and they notice, they will have you pull over, give you a pretty hard time, make you pay for your quota excess, and you will waste quite a bit of time.
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:40
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

We usually go in two to Italy, and a 5 cm thick Fiorentina weighs exactly 1 kg. Also, you are allowed 3.5kg processed meats (ham, salami, sausages), and 5kg or so of fish, so if you have a varied diet (i.e. not eating beef every day), the limits are not a problem.

I always keep the receipts handy, but rarely get checked, but it has happened.

Tom
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:42
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

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I am afraid Michael that you CANNOT bring more goods than the quota allows.
Of course you can, but you have to pay customs charges, CHF 15/kg for meat, for example, other charges for other things.

Tom
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:45
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

You can actually get a list from border control with all products and how much you can bring of each.
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:45
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

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We usually go in two to Italy, and a 5 cm thick Fiorentina weighs exactly 1 kg. Also, you are allowed 3.5kg processed meats (ham, salami, sausages), and 5kg or so of fish, so if you have a varied diet (i.e. not eating beef every day), the limits are not a problem.

I always keep the receipts handy, but rarely get checked, but it has happened.

Tom
don't forget the poultry and game, very generous limits.

6 chicken drummers cost about €3, a fraction of the Swiss price. And I've never seen fish and birds of such nice quality and size (and price) in a Swiss store.

The choice and price of wines and spirits is excellent.

Beer is probably cheaper in Switzerland.....as is fuel (just).
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:46
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

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You can actually get a list from border control with all products and how much you can bring of each.
it's exactly this content that they give you in a leaflet: http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:46
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

I think your Border Control guys in the southern checkpoints are a lot more forgiving that my guys here in the Austrian border. If they see a family vehicle (my Renault Grand Scenic is an oooobvious family car), with a whole family in it (to increase the limits for the purchase) you are BOUND to be stopped and asked to show your receipt, or even have a quick check of your boot.
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:49
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

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I think your Border Control guys in the southern checkpoints are a lot more forgiving that my guys here in the Austrian border. If they see a family vehicle (my Renault Grand Scenic is an oooobvious family car), with a whole family in it (to increase the limits for the purchase) you are BOUND to be stopped and asked to show your receipt, or even have a quick check of your boot.
I was last stopped several years ago crossing the same border with SZ plates.

The irony of the stop was that we had no shopping and when the boot was opened, out popped two dogs Who got out and stood looking at the guy looking in their "home" before hopping back in again.

All in a normal day's work for them, I'm sure!!
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:51
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

You carry the dogs inside the boot ? They are not claustrophobic, that's for sure.
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:52
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

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it's exactly this content that they give you in a leaflet: http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en
Here is the page that shows the customs charges (oops, it's CHF 20, not 15/kg for excess meat)

Tom
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:53
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

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IThe irony of the stop was that we had no shopping and when the boot was opened, out popped two dogs
Surely they weighed more than 1Kg?

Last edited by adrianlondon; 19.09.2011 at 18:03. Reason: typo
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Old 19.09.2011, 12:09
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

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Surely they weighted more than 1Kg?
the poop that pops out often does
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Old 19.09.2011, 12:30
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

Thank you for all your answers.

It's very useful.

Regards.

Michael.
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Old 19.09.2011, 12:35
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

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Here is the page that shows the customs charges (oops, it's CHF 20, not 15/kg for excess meat)

Tom
I thought the 20CHF is per every (starting) 5kg amount over the 0.5kg which would make it almost reasonable 4CHF per kilo? On the page they say kg5 so I'm just guessing..
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Old 19.09.2011, 12:42
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

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I thought the 20CHF is per every (starting) 5kg amount over the 0.5kg which would make it almost reasonable 4CHF per kilo? On the page they say kg5 so I'm just guessing..
They say "kg5)", and the "5)" refers you to footnote 5), which reads "The weight of the merchandise, including any packaging, is decisive." So it's CHF 20.00 per kg, up to a maximum of 20 kgs per person. (if you exceed that, it's no longer considered "for personal consumption" and commercial import regulations apply).

Note that the .5 kg limit is not cumlative, i.e. you can't pack your car with 4 mates plus yerself and get a nice 2.5 kg joint. You'll have to cut it into .5kg portions, wrapped separately, paid for on different receipts, or pay the import duty.
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Old 19.09.2011, 12:46
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

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Note that the .5 kg limit is not cumlative, i.e. you can't pack your car with 4 mates plus yerself and get a nice 2.5 kg joint. You'll have to cut it into .5kg portions, wrapped separately, paid for on different receipts, or pay the import duty.
They will accept more then 0.5kg on the receipt if you are with a family...Not in the official rules but just from experience
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Old 19.09.2011, 23:27
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Re: Shopping in Germany / France / Italy?

The checks are NOT rare, maybe i look suspicious but they have checked my car several times and that is even after i had gone to the douane and paid my duties on imported goods ( of course not meat etc as you can not take much)
Schengen has in my experience hardly changed anything, the que in Chiosa in summer was over 10 km, only bnecause the swiss are stopping and checking so many people...even if they should not really now they are in schengen.
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