Shopping in Switzerland

Last week, I ordered these adorable Saltwater Sandals for Coco for the summer, and our upcoming trip to Ibiza! I really hope they'll get here in time because I am waaaaay behind in getting her summer sandals in Switzerland. A friend of mine went to a few children's shoe stores to get her daughter sandals for the Holy Mama retreat and all of the stores laughed at her when she asked if they'd be getting more sizes in. Apparently, the Swiss all bought their sandals three or four months ago and now the stores are onto receiving all the winter boots! Can you believe that?! 

Two other weird quirks about shopping in the land of cheese and chocolate after the jump.

Stores will never sell you anything.
When you enter a store here, there is absolutely zero pressure to buy, which can be nice. But that also means that there is absolutely zero sale. Retail sales is something I did for years throughout high school and college, so it drives me nuts when I go to buy something I want right then and I don't get a pitch. I actually want to know the features and benefits of a product I'm considering buying. But I had to ask all the questions for Coco's bike helmet at the first store we went to and the guy wasn't the least bit concerned that we walked out the door empty handed. Uggh! Sometimes I really miss the customer service and hard sale in the US. Pretty weird.

Shopkeeper will tell you to go across the border.
With Germany so close, many people in the Zurich area shop across the border because it's cheaper. Because we don't have a car, it doesn't work out to be cheaper for us, so we shop locally, or have our parents send us stuff we order online in the US. But, oftentimes, when we go into a shop, the owner or person working will flat out say, "Why don't you go to Germany? You'd save a lot of money." How can that possibly make sense for business?! We are still trying to figure that out. Money laundering front? Just so rich they don't even care? Puzzling at any rate. 

What are your pet peeves when shopping? Are you an in-store or online shopper most of the time?

(photo via J.Crew)


  1. :-) When in Rome, do as Romans do!

    1. So true! I'm thinking ahead - way ahead. ;) xo

  2. Hhhhh I do think that the swiss are to rich to care but it's very european not to pressure you to buy anything. The sandals are too cute!

    X Joan

    1. That takes us back to our money laundering front theory!! ;)

  3. The Swiss do like to be prepared in advance!

    Do you find sales assistants in Zurich to be quite rude? I had so many funny shopping experiences when I first moved to Zurich and they were all because of the way the shop assistant reacted to something that would be considered normal (or a simple mistake) in Australia/America. The first time I went to our local Migros supermarket I didn't realise that they were closed for lunch as the front door was open. I guess the locals just knew not to shop at lunch time. I did all my shopping and then got to the register to find no-one there. I rang the bell and a very irate sales assistant came storming towards me and literally pushed me out of the store! After that the supermarket door was closed at lunch time!
    It wasn't the last time I got kicked out of a store for a simple "mistake". One day I was in a perfume store and I put the tester bottle at the front of the shelf instead of at the back - have you noticed they keep all the tester bottles at the back? - anyway, the sales assistant started yelling "What are you doing?" over and over and made a huge deal over the tester bottle being in the wrong spot! I had a bottle in my hand that I was about to purchase, she snatched it from me and pushed me out the store! Crazy!
    Shopping was always interesting in Zurich as I never knew what just might happen ;)

    1. Oh no! I have definitely had similar experiences, although not in shops. Typically, I am too shy/afraid to do much shopping or interact with salespeople here - with good reason! I do a lot of online shopping from J.Crew! ;)

      Once at the airport, we were going through security and I had a full reusable water bottle. Oops! So I started pouring it out in the big bin like you do at EVERY OTHER AIRPORT ON EARTH and then the security people started YELLING at me, shouting, "HALLO!?" in that most annoying way that they do. I was completely taken aback and they continued yelling and berating me until they managed to shoo me through security. I was pregnant at the time and absolutely horrified. But, what J and I have come to accept is that there is a culture of shaming here. Sadly, it seems that people enjoy belittling others for simple mistakes, as you certainly experienced. It's one of the main reasons we don't want to bring our children up here...

      Thank you for chiming in! xo


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