Tag Archives: shopping

Weekend wanderings

2 Dec

This weekend is the first weekend I have spent in Zurich since the middle of November. We have been to visit the UK twice so things have been a bit hectic travelling from one place to another. This is the reason why I have been neglecting my blog in recent weeks but that means that I do have some things to write about!

London (South)

Late November is my annual trip to London to see the ATP World Tennis Finals. I managed to get tickets in the pre-sale this year so the overall cost of the trip was a lot less than in previous years. I was disappointed that Roger Federer didn’t make it to the final but we were treated to a fantastic match.

We also did some Christmas shopping. Even though it was the middle of November, London was very Christmas-sy and you could easily mistake the time of year for being a week before Christmas.

We also got caught up in a protest against Brexit which was going down Regents Street. It did remind me of the time that we spent earlier this year in South America where there seems to be an aggressive protest about everything all of the time.

We also managed to catch up with some of my friends that I have known from my university times. We don’t get together so often but it is always nice to catch up with them.

Manchester (North)

The following weekend we headed north to visit my family and to go to the wedding of one of my good friend who I met a long time ago playing hockey. The weather was overcast but the actual ceremony, reception and evening do was excellent. I was surprised by how good the food was because at some weddings it can be a bit ropey. It was my boyfriend’s first experience of an English wedding. Weddings in Switzerland and very different to weddings at home. For one thing, there is a lot more drinking. However, we both enjoyed it immensely. I also got to catch up with some friends that I haven’t seen in a long time.

I got to spend some time with my niece and nephew. I cannot tell you how much colouring in I did or how many times I read the same story book over and over again. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Now we will be spending the next few weekends preparing for Christmas. We need to buy a tree, finish getting presents and do the shopping for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I’m glad we had a few weekends away to relax and enjoy some time together before we start to get busy in December.

Rip offs

15 Nov

I’m a lover of a good bargain and I really hate the feeling when I realise that I have been ripped off. It’s not a nice feeling to feel like you’ve been conned. However, rip offs don’t always lurch unassuming in the background waiting to pounce on you unannounced as I found out today.

I was wandering around a well-known bookshop to pass some time before I was meeting someone for lunch. Books in themselves are rip offs in Switzerland. I personally find the prices of new books far too expensive which is a huge sadness for me because it means that a) trips to bookshops are not a weekly occurrence and b) I have to restrain myself when I do visit.  My restraint and discipline not to blow a week’s wages on a stack of new books is not always exemplary.

In this particular bookshop, I remembered that they also have a section on the top floor where they sell a range of British and American food products. It is cleverly situated next to the small “English” section so that the target market of British and American expats can’t fail to walk past it on the way to paying for their pricey purchases.

They already have the mince pies out which I think it still a bit early but the thing that caught my eye was this…

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Yes, you are reading it right. The Yorkshire Tea, which clearly has £3.29 stamped on the box in yellow, is being sold for 10.90 CHF. For those of you not up to date with the current exchange rates that is the equivalent of £8.50. No wonder people complain about the prices in Switzerland being expensive.

I am seriously considering going back tomorrow with £3.29 in British money and demanding to pay with GBP rather than CHF. I understand that these tea bags were imported and the shop does need to make a profit but that is even a bit too extreme for me.

The good thing about dodging this rip off is that it has reminded me that I need to buy some tea bags when I am back in the UK this weekend. I’m actually considering bringing back a suitcase full just to make sure that I am safe from rip offs for a while!

Christmas Crackers

9 Dec

What is it about Christmas that makes people go positively, absolutely and utterly, stark-raving bonkers? It seems like a stereotypical thing to have a moan about around the first week of Christmas but it is true and, therefore, in my mind it is completely justified.

One of the things that I like about living in Switzerland is that there is no 24-hour trading. ball-65825__340A lot of expats that I know think that I am a bit crazy for being of this opinion. No 24-hour trading means no shops open after 21h, as a general rule, and no shops are open on Sundays. Except for Christmas.

In the four Sundays before Christmas the shops are open for a full days trading and the way people act you would think that it was the last shopping opportunity before 2020 arrives. It’s hysteria. In the main streets, people don’t look where they are going or dilly-dally when you are trying to get somewhere quickly. Children are either crying because they are cold and tired or they are wired up to the eyeballs after having far too much sugary treats. You get slapped around the face by someone’s shopping bag as they throw the thing over their shoulder with complete disregard for any other human beings existence, so don’t be surprised when the uttering of an embarrassed “sorry” is not forthcoming.

People buy far too much than they (or their loved ones) want or need. But it’s Christmas, isn’t it? Guilt or cunning marketing, or a disastrous combination of both, infiltrate the average shopper’s brain and hey-pesto! The retailers end up with record sales growth and we just feel overindulgded.

There is some discussion over where 24-hour trading will come to Switzerland in the near future. I sincerely hope it doesn’t. If there is any one not convinced, I suggest you take a walk down Banhofstrasse on a weekday evening or on the weekend and then see what you think!