The main three and “historical” supermarkets of Switzerland are for sure Coop, Migros and Denner. Nowadays Aldi and Lidl are expanding quickly and fighting with the three “old” ones!
In the Confederation there is a curious specialty. Shops (of course led by supermarkets) open on Saturdays slightly earlier than during the week and eventually close also earlier. If this is logical, considering the need for sleep of a normal working person… I leave to your judgement.
Now, during one of my expeditions to the Swiss expensive shopping world, I noticed the strange sign of the photo. It took me many minutes to read it, re-read it… and accept its weirdness! Is it really so?
I was surprised and even amazed by the emphasis used to underline the fact that that specific Denner has an opening time on Saturday which is… exactly the same as every other day of the week!
Thanks to remind me this! Otherwise I might have risked to confuse the weekend with a normal weekly day!
The famous bar of Swiss chocolate, resembling its mountains with its unique triangular shape, is an institution in Switzerland.
It is for sure one of the most famous brands of the Confederation!
Very good! Then I should be able to buy it at the best possible conditions in a Swiss supermarket or specialised shop.
Wrong! Coop, one of the three most common Swiss supermarkets, sells a 100 g Toblerone bar for 2.20 CHF.
While wandering around in Vivo City, one of the most futuristic shopping malls in Singapore (Singapore! One of the most expensive countries in the world… and not just around the corner of the Alps!), I found a great deal!
Basically, in the nice Southeast-Asian country, 100 g of Toblerone were offered at a price of 2 Singaporean dollars, which corresponds to 1.45 CHF! One third cheaper than in the Chocolate Confederation!!
What is it? Is Toblerone a fading commodity nowadays, or do their producers prefer that it is bought far away from the Alps being confused as a souvenir and a specialty from another country?
Last Saturday the sun was shining really strong and we decided to drive down to Canton Graubünden, very famous mainly for its ski resorts.
We actually aimed at the Fashion Outlet in Landquart. A nice place, just besides the mountains, where you can walk among various buildings with many shops.
Inside the outlet you feel like everywhere or nowhere… it’s like an international location: when you are here you might be in many other places which all look similar.
But still the landscape reminds you that you are in the nice Confederation.
We spent a good time, we spent some money and we took a warm sun (for free)!
By the way, very near this fashion resort, you can find the so-called “Heidi village” (Heididorf): Meienfeld!
Unfortunately we could not visit the place, but keep in mind: Meienfeld is the location which gave the inspiration to the writer Johanna Spyri for her Heidi “epic”!
Fortunately at that time there was no outlet in these surroundings, otherwise maybe “The Devil wears Prada” would have been created, instead of the cute story of the little girl who is friend with the sheep and the mountains!
Last Saturday, while in Zurich, I entered a Swatch shop to get a new battery for my Swatch.
The nice young woman at the counter took a giant screw driver, a kind of portable knife and started the “open heart” operation to my (S)watch.
Everything was successfully completed: battery changed in just few seconds.
So fast that I had some difficulties in getting my wallet from my pocket.
In such delay I was trying to extract the credit card when the young woman assured me with a smile and proudly stated: “The new battery and its substitution are free: it is a service of Swatch!”
Amazing! Great service from the famous Swiss innovative watch company!
In these days the glorious historical plastic watch is probably suffering the competition with the newest interactive watches…
But the Swatch service is for sure excellent and clearly worthy of one of the best real Swiss watch!
The sign says: “For one look at the mirror: 1 Swiss Franc”!
Then it’s really true: Nothing is free in Switzerland! Not even being able to check whether your hair is ok or your make up is not melting!
In Shoppi Tivoli, the biggest shopping mall in Switzerland (Spreitenbach, Canton Aargau), you can clean your shoes in a really perfect way!
The sign next to the cleaning facilities reminds you that your shoes will get “special powers”!
Please try and let me know. My sneakers were not so dirty when I found out this wonderful cleaning equipment…
[Photo of ABBA’s “Money money money”: from hitparade.ch]
Even if the title is the same as the successful song by ABBA, this story is just a boring “black and white” matter of Swiss francs, bills and burocracy.
Due to the fact that Switzerland is the country of all welfare records, including the highest prices of the world, a lot of people living near the border prefer to buy stuff in Germany.
Some weeks ago we went to Germany to buy some tyres. Coming back, with the tyres proudly making themselves visible from the trunk, we were stopped by the severe customs officer.
Having bought these tyres in Amazon with delivery in Germany, we did not have any receipt. By the way, for some ununderstandable rules, the tyres shall always be declared and the relevant 7.7% Swiss VAT shall be paid! (Apparently, also tyres which are lying in the trunk shall be considered as a single piece with the car, and therefore their VAT shall be paid).
How did the custom officer calculate the VAT? Basing his figures just on my verbal declaration of the possible price of the tyres!
Price and rigorous VAT calculation starting from a verbal supposed price, but the relevant receipt given to me as bumptious bill with Swiss flag and four languages to say “Swiss Confederation”.
Very vague about the rules, but very precise when it goes to money!
Should the famous ABBA song eventually be proposed as new national anthem of the Confederation?
Last weekend I noticed this “pearl” in Baden.
An open bookcase! Just next to the nice Casino park in the city centre!
A sign on it explains everything: very simple “rules”!
The open bookcase in Baden: a gratis offer for your leisure time.
– Bring books, which you find good.
– The books shall be in good shape and clean.
– The bookcase will not accept: pornography, racism, promotion of violence, advertisement, newspapers.
– Undesired: magazines, specialised literature.
– Put books in the bookcase, only if there is space.
– Pick up a book (or two).
– Gratis, without registration or additional controls.
– You can keep the book, bring it back or exchange it with another one.
After some “research” I found out that the bookcase was even inaugurated on the 19th October 2016!
Good that I discovered it, at last!
I think it’s a great initiative! Always open, no need to rush to find a bookshop open in the late afternoon!
One of the best example of open culture… open innovation!
Picture from www.mondaine.com
In Switzerland I always have the impression to be overwhelmed by the time! Or at least more than anywhere else.
There is a timetable for everything, and everyone knows by heart the useful schedule: trains, buses, shops being among the most common. In the village where I live with my family you need to rely on these schedules…
How nice it would be living in a big city (again), where you just know that there will be a tram soon! And not just the 7:24 or 7:54 buses and then “the nothing”!!
How nice it would be living in a big city (again), where you would have shops opening at normal times and until quite late in the night! And not shops opening half an hour earlier than usual on Saturdays (yes, earlier!), when you should be supposed to sleep at least half an hour more than on the weekdays!!
this post is something between a nostalgic view of the past and the present reality in Switzerland.
Discos: When I was young, some 20-25 years ago, at the entrance to the discos and clubs, they always used to stamp your hand with a stamp quite difficult to take out, which was useful as ticket to re-enter after some minutes of fresh air outside.
IKEA: Yesterday, during the procedures to leave 1 and half hour our elder daughter in the “children paradise”, the playground of IKEA, they stamped our hands with the same almost impossible to delete ink they were using in the discos in the 80’s and 90’s.
Switzerland on 29th December 2014: the “busiest” day of the year in the Confederation!
All the people were visiting IKEA in Spreitenbach (by the way the oldest IKEA in Switzerland), a small town in Argovia at the border with Zurich canton, probably only famous for IKEA and some other “equally full of people” shopping malls!
Conclusion: when it becomes busy and crowdy…somehow your hands will be definitely stamped!