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Old 10.10.2009, 21:20
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``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

No Comments from me just wanted to share with you all what happened to my friend:
A young woman walking to a crowded train after work and browsing for an empty sit, lucky she found it she saw a middle aged lady was sitting by the window and watching people pass by on the station. As soon as a young lady set next to her the older one loudly yelled: Entschuldigung bla bla bla and with wide open eyes still complaining...about something when young lady said she does not understand she replied YES you do! You should ask permission before sitting ! That is what we do in Switzerland!
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Old 10.10.2009, 21:24
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

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No Comments from me just wanted to share with you all what happened to my friend:
A young woman walking to a crowded train after work and browsing for an empty sit, lucky she found it she saw a middle aged lady was sitting by the window and watching people pass by on the station. As soon as a young lady set next to her the older one loudly yelled: Entschuldigung bla bla bla and with wide open eyes still complaining...about something when young lady said she does not understand she replied YES you do! You should ask permission before sitting ! That is what we do in Switzerland!
That was me.

She sat on my dog, the silly little girl. Should have looked where she was sitting.

I always take Fifi with me when I go out in drag. She loves the smell of Chanel No 5, you see.
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Old 10.10.2009, 21:26
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

Old lady was right - that is what they do in Switzerland. (But the cheek of her! )

If your friend wants to have a go at acting all proper and well-bred next time , the customary phrase is: Ist da noch frei? (pronounced more or less, ShDAAno FRY?)

And then for extra Swissness points, she should sit down whether it is or not.
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Old 10.10.2009, 21:28
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

Im guessing the lady was having a bad day but I have seen most Swiss asking if the seat was free even when it is in front of me (in the train).
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Old 10.10.2009, 22:00
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

Yes it is the polite thing to do. Nervertheless understanding the culture does not mean you have to necessarily agree to everything. But it is worth a try, Swiss people appreciate when their etiquette is respected and they tend to open up when the effort is made
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Old 10.10.2009, 22:09
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

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the customary phrase is: Ist da noch frei? (pronounced more or less, ShDAAno FRY?)
Thanks for that. I don't ride public transport much and didn't know this bit of etiquette. I'm sure I would have done this at some point in the future and replied the way road-ragish Americans do.
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Old 11.10.2009, 02:22
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

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No Comments from me just wanted to share with you all what happened to my friend:
A young woman walking to a crowded train after work and browsing for an empty sit, lucky she found it she saw a middle aged lady was sitting by the window and watching people pass by on the station. As soon as a young lady set next to her the older one loudly yelled: Entschuldigung bla bla bla and with wide open eyes still complaining...about something when young lady said she does not understand she replied YES you do! You should ask permission before sitting ! That is what we do in Switzerland!
It really is bizarre, I mean, the seat is empty, so why ask if it is taken? It's just the done thing, end of story. This is not just on the trains, you can be sitting having coffee, and the tables and chairs are close together but the table next to you is free and they still ask if it is available. Perhaps they think you are waiting for someone to join you. I sometimes think they are really asking if you mind someone sitting next to you at all!

Well anyways the woman didn't have to be so nasty about it. Your friend should not get too upset. But really, not everyone is miserable here. They also don't mind their own business. I was trying to return an item the other day and the store clerk was giving me a hard time and the elderly woman in line behind me started giving the store clerk a hard time about how the staff at the store were not very knowledgeable. It was priceless. I got my refund.
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Old 11.10.2009, 08:16
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

At 6:30 in the morning it seems that many people do not bother asking, especially since most people are sleeping, reading the free newspaper and/or listening to music. The main exception is when there are bags on the seat, which means that the owner of the bags has to 1) acknowledge that the seat is actually free and 2) move their bags.
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Old 11.10.2009, 08:42
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

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No Comments from me just wanted to share with you all what happened to my friend:
A young woman walking to a crowded train after work and browsing for an empty sit, lucky she found it she saw a middle aged lady was sitting by the window and watching people pass by on the station. As soon as a young lady set next to her the older one loudly yelled: Entschuldigung bla bla bla and with wide open eyes still complaining...about something when young lady said she does not understand she replied YES you do! You should ask permission before sitting ! That is what we do in Switzerland!
I must have missed out on something in life - I have never witnessed anyone LOUDLY YELLING in a public place for something so trivial like a free seat on a train.

I read so many posts with the posters claiming to have been "screamed" or "yelled" at for some run-of-the-mill situation. Do people here really yell at the top of their lungs when they are mildly disgruntled on public transport??

The only people I have seen yelling with any kind of significant decibels in public are the nutters around the main train station in Zurich either dressed in women's clothes or armed with a bible.
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Old 11.10.2009, 10:31
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

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Old lady was right - that is what they do in Switzerland. (But the cheek of her! )

If your friend wants to have a go at acting all proper and well-bred next time , the customary phrase is: Ist da noch frei? (pronounced more or less, ShDAAno FRY?)

And then for extra Swissness points, she should sit down whether it is or not.
I like a litte Bern dialect in there "ishda noh fray?"

It is customary. It's polite. I think that we all come from places where there are wrote acts of politeness and I imagine that every one of us has had a bad day (perhaps full of rude people) and have blown off steam.
I have been yelled at by old mountain men and I have yelled in a tram (in Swiss German at a group of unruly drunken 12 year olds) but it is extremely seldom.

Another tip: if you cross your legs, you may invade the personal space of the person next to you. When riding public transport, I tend to treat my fellow passengers as I did my twin brother at age 6. We're in close quarters and he/they just wanna get there. Presumably he has an imaginary line that I can't cross, etc, etc.
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Old 12.10.2009, 23:59
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

Strange. Thanks for the phrase, I've always had to mumble and gesticulate.

I also find it strange how people try to 'reserve' extra seats around them to create extra space e.g. they sit in a group of 4 seats and then set their handbags, coats etc. on each of the other 3 seats so that nobody can sit near them.

Does anyone else find that weird?
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Old 13.10.2009, 01:35
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

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I've always had to mumble and gesticulate.
Well that's the other solution without the gesticulating. You just sit down and start talking to yourself in a slightly deranged way. Muttering under your breath will generally sort things out. And if the person next to you starts to give you a hard time you just roll your eyes, look away and continue to mutter under your breath in an even more deranged way. Chances are the person will get up and move to another seat. The exception might be Zurich where most people over 60 generally sit in trams/buses/trains, etc muttering under their breaths. So you might be considered absolutely normal.



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I also find it strange how people try to 'reserve' extra seats around them to create extra space e.g. they sit in a group of 4 seats and then set their handbags, coats etc. on each of the other 3 seats so that nobody can sit near them.

Does anyone else find that weird?
Bags on free seats

For your reading pleasure....
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Old 13.10.2009, 13:19
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

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Bags on free seats

For your reading pleasure....
Haha. I have to agree that the bags on seats is pretty universal. But what I noticed in places like London or Hong Kong is once the train/bus starts getting full, people will (generally) move their bags out of the way in anticipation of others needing to sit down, rather than having to be asked all the time.

Though I've never had the problem with somebody screaming and shouting, people have generally moved their bags on asking even if they grumble and give you dirty looks while doing so.
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Old 13.10.2009, 14:31
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

In inter-city trains, or long-distance trains, I usually see people ask if the seat is free before sitting down, but on local trams or busses where people jump in and out every 2 minutes, it's not as common.....
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Old 13.10.2009, 14:39
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Re: `That's what we do in Switzerland...`

I find that if I sit on the outside seat with my legs crossed, put
my bag on the diagonally-opposite seat, sit my coat on the seat
beside me, have earphones in and eyes closed, I can usually get
to work without having any of the hoi-polloi sit near me...

Maybe I need a dog, too...
.
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Old 20.10.2009, 17:55
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

always best to ask. for added effect you could go round the whole carraige and ask everyone if all the spaces are free. then get off.

hey ho !
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Old 20.10.2009, 17:59
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

Yikes---I'm always dealthy afraid that that's gonna happen to me.

I understand politeness, but what a beach--it goes both way.

Would almost set me off on a 'public transit' rant---sorry OP had to go through that
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Old 20.10.2009, 18:03
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

I am sorry, but am I the only person that actually really enjoys this Swissness quirk?

As for the "old ladies" that apparently yell, treat them with the same respect you would treat your own grandmother with. I try to, and I have never had a problem.
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Old 20.10.2009, 18:15
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

Ah, it was you who was so nice to me the other day...
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Old 20.10.2009, 18:43
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Re: ``Thats what we do in Switzerland...``

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... I have seen yelling with any kind of significant decibels in public are the nutters around the main train station in Zurich ...dressed in women's clothes ...
That'd be the women then...

Anyway, shouting at people for inadvertant etiquette breaches maybe what people do in Switzerland, but in Basel, we're more civilized.
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