02 February 2007


In Switzerland if you receive notification that an item will be delivered between 8 am - 10 am, you want to be dressed and ready no later than 7:45 am. Otherwise you may be scrambling to finish dressing when the doorbell rings at 7:50 am. Swiss deliveries are excessively prompt. This is now the third time a delivery has been a bit early. I've never had one arrive late.

However, GLH was delighted when I called him on the telephone. Our brand-new flat screen tv has arrived.

Which brings us to another warning...

Be very, very careful when buying items from other expats who are leaving the country. Especially if you arrange for the purchase before you arrive and do not yet have a good idea for the cost of things.

I am an individual who believes that others' intentions are for the best until that assumption is proven wrong. Fortunately, it is relatively rare that people do not live up to that assumption. But sometimes, I am sorry to say, I am disappointed in the actions of others.

We purchased a satellite dish, television, vcr and dvd player from some American expats who departed Switzerland shortly before we arrived. We saw it on a previous trip, but did not have much time to really study it or determine how it worked. They cheerfully told us "it works great!" It seemed alright.

The satellite dish is mostly ok, although it's very old and doesn't always pick up every signal. But the rest of the stuff is pure crap. Oddly enough, it is all from the Czech Republic and doesn't work quite right in Switzerland. We did not know this before we purchased it. And we paid quite a lot of money for it.

From the age of the items, which we also did not know, we suspect that they purchased it from another expat who was leaving the country about the time they arrived. Best guess is they decided "all's fair" and passed the rip-off on to us. Lord only knows how many expats have passed this stuff on to others. Truly, it is rather old.

We've decided to end the cycle here.

Our landlady knows someone who will be driving to Switzerland from the Czech Republic in March. When he returns to his home, he is taking the equipment with him. We are donating it to a needy family he knows who cannot afford such luxuries. Even though it is old, it will likely work at least a little better in the country for which it was intended.

And we will not have to figure out how to get rid of it.

Throwing things out in Switzerland is not an easy matter. You either have to take it somewhere and pay for its disposal. Or you store it until the one time per year that you can put it on the curb with an expensive sticker that shows you paid for the pick up service.

We would prefer to not spend even a single additional rappen on it.


Ms Mac said...

Ahhhh yes, you gotta watch out for that. Sorry your experience was a bit crappy.

Did you know that with Cablecom you can get a dvr package which includes some British channels (BBC and ITV and (hurrah!) Film 4? We just installed it this week, and cancelled our satellite subscription. I'm loving it! Not only do you get the english channels but some of the movies and shows on the German channels are shown with a choice of German or English languages which you can choose at home through the receiver. It's cheap (15CHF permonth for the first 6 months and 25CHF thereafter) and it may help you learn a bit of German- I'm recording my friend's fave German soapie and watching it. So far, so good!

I don't work for Cablecom, honest!

Global Librarian said...

We found out after we moved in that our apartment came with basic cable included. So I've been leaving the satellite off and just watching the cable.

There's a German language home improvement show similar to "While You Were Out" in the US. I've been watching it for the German. And 'cause I have an affinity for Home Improvement shows. (Norm Abram rocks!)

Before too much longer I'll probably be able to have a conversation with a contractor or plumber completely in German.

Andreas said...

Hi GL,

Nice of you to find a noble solution to a crappy situation. Kudos!

Anyway, you can get rid of electronic equipment easily in 4 ways.

1) Give it back to an electronics shop, even if you didn't buy it there. It's a law, they have to accept it. In fact, when you buy new equipment, you pay an anticipated recycling tax of 2 Sfr. to cover their costs.

2) ERZ one (ERZ = Entsorgung & Recycling Zurich, disposal and recycling ZH): the E-Tram (E for elektro, bulky junk goes on the Cargo Tram). It's a tram that is set up at varying times and places a year where you lug your electrojunk to it. They take it for free. Schedule:

3) ERZ two: the "Recyclinghof". There's two of them: Hagenholz in Oerlikon and Werdhölzli in Zurich West. You get a free coupon in the mail once a year, together with the E-/Cargo Tram schedule valid for the recycling yard. Hagenholz is on Hagenholzstrasse (just follow bus 45 from Sternen Oerlikon outbound), Werdholzli is smack at the end of tramline 4. Got rid of some old printers and screens there. Wasn't even asked for my coupon.

4) If it's in working order, either drop it off or have it picked up by a Brockenhaus (2nd hand store), like the one from the Salvation Army. Numbers are in the phone book.

Andreas said...


blogger ate half of my link :o(

It's on this webpage, the ERZ Hits menu down the righthand side, click on "Cargo und E-Tram Kalender 2007"

Andreas said...

Another oops: Salvation Army is Heilsarmee in German


Go to "thrift stores" on the righthand side, click on Zurich in the pulldown menu.

CanadianSwiss said...

Looks like Andreas beat me to the tips. :)

Buying second hand electronics is always a bit of a risk, I guess. Enjoy your new flat screen!