Mystery shops (not mystery shoppers).

Author:De Faoite, Diarmuid


Proof that Switzerland and its inhabitants are indeed different: the Swiss have to be the only people in Western civilisation, who, when asked what company they associate with a big letter "M" answer "Migros" Let's be honest, bar a few, undiscovered tribes in the deepest Amazon, everyone else's answer to that one would be McDonalds.

But it doesn't end there; the shopping experience in Switzerland is also strange. Have you been to the post office lately? It is turning into the Kwik-E-Mart from The Simpsons. When you go in simply to buy an A-Post stamp, you get offered mobile phones, bestselling books, lottery scratchcards and some beef jerky. Okay, I made that last one up, but trust me; it can't be long until dried meat appears on the shelves next to the Jiffy envelopes.

Show me the money

Of course, the biggest gripe most foreigners have about shops here is the prices. Even during the sales, when some items are reduced by 50 per cent, they are still well out of my price range.

And I'm not talking about Faberge eggs either, but normal items such as jeans. SFr 100 is the current default price; rising up to around SFr 150, if you want a brand name to go with that piece of cut denim cloth.

I am very close to doing what Western visitors to communist countries used to do, which is to buy up a lot of cheap jeans at home (i.e., not Switzerland) and then trade them while overseas (i.e., Switzerland). Think of the massive street value a suitcase full of Levi's would have on the mean * streets of Zurich. To be honest, it's surely a better investment than what the stock markets currently offer!

Supermarket (in)sanity

Swiss supermarkets are definitely bizarre places. Once you've lived here long enough, the fact that they don't feature music will no longer surprise you. What is surprising is that while there is no muzak in supermarkets, some farmers have music piped into their...

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