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Old 29.11.2011, 20:14
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How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

I mostly stay at home as I enjoy my bubble but whenever I do get out and about I have less than encouraging experiences that tend to reinforce my desire to remain indoors.

Sooo...today, it's about 16.58, and I'm driving with my kid back from an appointment and decide to treat her with an ice cream from the local quickie coop. I drive by and it's busy but there are a few bank spaces open and, I figure, what the hell, the bank closes at 17.00, I'll just pop in there for a few moments and run in to grab an ice cream for her. No big whoop, really. So, just as I'm reaching the coop (which is right next to the bank), some woman starts chasing me down and shrieking at me about how I shouldn't park in the bank spots, etc., etc. I ask, well, are you with either the bank or the police? Is there a problem since the bank is closing now? I was confused since she must have been sitting there monitoring, waiting for someone to pounce on which, I would normally assume to be the job of someone getting paid to police the 4 spaces but...no, she wasn't with the bank or police, just a cranky lady who wanted to unload on me.

It led to this awkward moment for me since, sure, I wasn't parking there for the bank but, wtf is a civilian doing bitching me out for it and what am I supposed to say? Er, ok, thanks for the info? I just don't get the mindset of yelling at people for no really good reason (really, parking 3 minutes ahead of closing? People park there all night long when the bank is closed...). I try to be a good egg so these folks just absolutely primed and itching for crapping on someone's day just don't compute for me. Is there some sort of response they are looking for that will send them away?
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Old 29.11.2011, 20:16
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

wait.... I thought you were an integrated Swiss by now.
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Old 29.11.2011, 20:21
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

Tell her you're going to the bank next...
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Old 29.11.2011, 20:22
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

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wait.... I thought you were an integrated Swiss by now.
LOL...No, the poker insertion surgery hasn't taken place yet since I'm terrible at planning things several months in advance.
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Old 29.11.2011, 20:23
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

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Tell her you're going to the bank next...
After it's closed?
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Old 29.11.2011, 20:26
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

When the bank is closed, the lobby area with the cash machines and savings/deposits machine is still opened to customers (use your card to open door).

There are people like that everywhere- so what- much better to smile and just say 'Frohes Weinachten und Frohes Rutsch' and walk away.
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Old 29.11.2011, 20:32
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

The best response, acknowledge what she said, pause for thought (look to the sky, and hold your chin and ponder, 10 seconds maximum should suffice).

Once the above has been carried out to perfection, jump up and down, shrieking and flapping your limbs around. Do not pronounce any real words, merely act like some loony bin.

They will soon they will walk away, or perhaps even try to console your seemingly mentally unstable state. (not saying you are, this is all part of the illusion in remaining in control of the situation)

TRUST ME!!!
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Old 29.11.2011, 20:44
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

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When the bank is closed, the lobby area with the cash machines and savings/deposits machine is still opened to customers (use your card to open door).

There are people like that everywhere- so what- much better to smile and just say 'Frohes Weinachten und Frohes Rutsch' and walk away.
True, but what I don't get is the sheer vehemence of the attacks folks like this make. Sure, I get it, I shouldn't have parked my car there but...given the time and the duration of my stay (under 3 mins), I didn't think it was a real big deal. If a cop would have busted me with a ticket, I would have groaned but, fair game and I would have paid it.

On one had I admire the feeling of empowerment these folks feel to police the status quo, but on the other had I deeply dislike the need to make it such an unpleasant experience and, if this were such a rare occasion, I could be a bit more blasé about it but....I stay in my bubble since I do seem to attract these sorts for all sorts of minor infractions (like the time a granny went berzerkers on me and my daughter who wasn't feeling well and curled up on the train seat without taking her shoes off...). I just don't know how to react to folks like this since I don't really want to embrace my tourettes side with complete strangers.
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:11
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

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After it's closed?

The look on her face would've been priceless...
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:16
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

At the weekend I was happily giving my son a good old telling off for doing his damnedest to uproot one of the trees in the playground.

I wasn't "pulling any punches" with him and really making him understand that he had been naughty. Suddenly I was aware of some old biddy next to me adding her two penn'th, wagging her bony finger at my son who, by that time had started to wonder who the rent-a-gran was playing tag-team with mum.

I just stood up, looked at her and said (in German) "Thanks, I can handle my own son ", turned my back on her and led my son away.

Her busy-bodying had the effect of taking the wind out of my sails and I couldn't continue with my son's rollicking.

I could have understood her intervention if I'd ignored my son's behaviour but I really had the situation in hand and she ended up ruining my discipling.
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:22
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

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The look on her face would've been priceless...
Likely so, but she was so wound up (and I was glad my daughter went into the shop without me to choose her ice cream without me and didn't witness the wing nut) that I was at least briefly worried that she was going to strike me. It was a bit unhinged. I know the US is full of loonies, but I never seemed to have run-ins quite so frequently as I do here (and I get out a lot less often).
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:30
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

You could have looked her straight in the eyes and calmly, in your broadest American accent stated:

"Lady, I'm the getaway driver. Now if you want to keep out of trouble when my homies come out a shootin', then that's your call honey. Now I suggest you have yourself a nice day."
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:32
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

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Is there some sort of response they are looking for that will send them away?
Yes.

"So, please call the police then!"

Alternative:

"This is my lawyer's card. Please deal with him!"

Tom
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:33
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

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I could have understood her intervention if I'd ignored my son's behaviour but I really had the situation in hand and she ended up ruining my discipling.
I've had a few of those sorts but, sometimes, with my very headstrong girl, it works in my favor since she seems to listen to anyone but me.

But...there are those occasions in public spaces where folks just want to make an unpleasant situation far more so and do so with seeming glee. I start with an eye roll and, if that doesn't work, I move on to reasonably obvious expressions and body language. Only on one occasion (crazy granny bitching me out over sick kid with feet on seats) did I escalate to actual language that might have made my German mother blush. She retreated but, even though most of the younger folk nodded in approval, I felt terrible the rest of the afternoon/evening for reaching that point.

I figure the expression 'shit rolls downhill' and that, judging by the way people drive, shop and otherwise behave around Zurich, that folks are looking for ways to vent their multitude of anger in ways that they aren't going to be challenged...passing the buck as it were. Where my lack of understanding comes in ...is that I don't feel better by bitching someone out for whatever minor rule infraction so many seem to take great satisfaction from.
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:37
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

I would normally look at the person with a blank look and say in English that I don't understand. If the person replies in English then I say "I'm sorry, I can't understand you." Give them the blank look or a shrug and walk off. Never engage in dialogue, it'll only annoy you because they won't give in.

I've not met that many busy bodies here to be honest - at least no more than in the UK. But they exist everywhere. It's people who just have nothing better to do usually.
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:39
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

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True, but what I don't get is the sheer vehemence of the attacks folks like this make. Sure, I get it, I shouldn't have parked my car there but...given the time and the duration of my stay (under 3 mins), I didn't think it was a real big deal. If a cop would have busted me with a ticket, I would have groaned but, fair game and I would have paid it.
If it's ok for the cop to fine you for it, then why is it wrong for a citizen to point out to you that you're violating the rules?

The "busybody"ness that you're referring to has a stabilizing effect on society. By keeping each other aware of, and adhering to, the rules, society as a whole functions better for the Swiss.

Frankly, I've done the same, admittedly for offenses I see as more significant (say, littering). Though I take a more American approach and make full use of my size... But in the end, you were in the wrong* and knew it, and you came here to complain about the Swiss?

*Assuming that the bank-only parking rules were still in effect after the bank closes, I don't see anything about that in the thread.
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:50
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

We now need to have complete evidence including plaster tyre tracks, fingerprints, DNA, and at least 27 8x10 colour glossy pictures including the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that's not to mention the aerial photography.

Cheers,
Nick

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*Assuming that the bank-only parking rules were still in effect after the bank closes, I don't see anything about that in the thread.
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:50
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

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If it's ok for the cop to fine you for it, then why is it wrong for a citizen to point out to you that you're violating the rules?

The "busybody"ness that you're referring to has a stabilizing effect on society. By keeping each other aware of, and adhering to, the rules, society as a whole functions better for the Swiss.

Frankly, I've done the same, admittedly for offenses I see as more significant (say, littering). Though I take a more American approach and make full use of my size... But in the end, you were in the wrong* and knew it, and you came here to complain about the Swiss?

*Assuming that the bank-only parking rules were still in effect after the bank closes, I don't see anything about that in the thread.
What cataclysm in society was going to happen in that this woman was sitting there, by the bank, watching that I didn't go to the bank and, instead, went to the coop quickie for three whole minutes? Seriously? I figure, parking infractions are what small town cops were made for. I figured that, if the cops wanted to bust me, well, then, I'd take my chances...afterall, ISN'T THAT WHAT COPS ARE FOR? I don't need some shrieking crazy lady who, upon knowing I speak only hochdeutsch, to go even further into her rant, eyes bulging, etc. for a petty parking infraction. (Littering is worth a bit of mention to the infringers but, really, I just pick up the garbage and move along as it's less hassle).

This is why me and CH will never get on long term as I just don't see the need to get my pants in a bunch and nearly strike someone over something so...trivial. I mean, if I would have run someone over with my car, sure, I could have understood the reaction but, otherwise...no, just not getting it.
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:52
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

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We now need to have complete evidence including plaster tyre tracks, fingerprints, DNA, and at least 27 8x10 colour glossy pictures including the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that's not to mention the aerial photography.
As long as you bring it, bitches, and leave the crazy wench out of it, we're good.
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:53
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Re: How are you supposed to respond to busybodies?

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We now need to have complete evidence including plaster tyre tracks, fingerprints, DNA, and at least 27 8x10 colour glossy pictures including the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that's not to mention the aerial photography.

Cheers,
Nick
You forgot the VW micro-bus, and the seeing-eye-dog!

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