14 March 2008

Swiss Maintenance

Visitors to Switzerland consistently remark upon how clean everything is. How efficiently the public transportation runs. How everything that seems to be better maintained than elsewhere.

And it is all true. Switzerland is a well-maintained, well-ordered society. Litter is rarely seen. The roads are replaced before there are potholes. The trains run so efficiently that people get annoyed when it is a minute late. Even the public restrooms are quite clean and nice.

The Swiss are very proud of this. And they should be. It really does create a wonderful atmosphere and explains why Switzerland is consistently listed at or near the top when standards of living around the world are compared.

So perhaps I should have been prepared when my landlady informed us that a repairman would be coming to inspect the windows. It took him approximately an hour to work his way around the apartment. The process involved opening each window and closing it forcefully several times. Then he took a small tool and adjusted screws. More opening and closing. Followed by spraying some kind of a lubricant and opening and closing until the entire mechanism was well oiled.

I've never seen anything like this in my life.

Indeed, I was so amazed by this that I had to tell my friend, Laurie.

Who immediately "one-upped" me.

A few weeks ago she noticed some men around the garbage dumpster a short ways from her kitchen window. As she watched they emptied the dumpster and used a power cleaner to thoroughly wash it inside and out. Next it was turned over so they could inspect the wheels on the bottom. They were carefully tightened and perhaps oiled. They then took cloths and began polishing it. Scratches to the surface were buffed out. After finishing their work they reloaded their tools and left.

She thought it was done.

However, a couple of days later another couple of repairmen arrived. They re-welded the handles to the dumpster. Apparently the previous repairmen had noticed they were a bit loose and notified the second team to stop by to fix it.

You cannot even make this stuff up!

What stories do YOU have about maintenance in Switzerland?


Marcy said...

Which is why I'm kind of mystified that our house still doesn't have any street numbers on it, something I asked the neighbors about months after we moved in and they said it's the city that takes care of that.

Then again we are over on the Suisse Romand side, they're a bit more lax over here I think... ; )

The Big Finn said...

I walked into the parking garage in our building one day last spring to find our Hauswartin vacuuming the garage floor with a regular house vacuum cleaner. It was that time of year when the trees throw off the fluffy white pollen, and she decided that the only way to rid the garage floor of this "menace" was by giving it a good vacuuming.
When I came back a short time later, she was giving the inside of the garage door a good scrubbing with a bucket of soapy water and a scrub brush.

Expat Traveler said...

lol - I knew TBF had to have a story too. But those were sooo funny!

I just thought it was very odd that when they delivered the oil for the winter to fill the boiler that it had to go through the front door, down the next and into the basement.. Really It was just wayyyy too odd for me. That's Montreux for ya.

How about how well they plant the flowers every few months and how well education those gardeners are!

I'm sure someone should have a funny recycling story somewhere.. Oh I was always scared of putting class in the wrong bin!

Greg said...

...and yet, the little patch of grass just up the street from our place is covered in dog poo. It's even got a 'robidog' box and bags so people can collect it and put it away properly... Go figure..

Link said...

Simply amazing! I must visit Switzerland and try to convince them to take over the administration of Napoli and possibly the whole Italy. If you can do it, I'll pay to see that happen!

Global Librarian said...

The Swiss already have a toehold in the Boot of Europe - Vatican City,. They provide the security and the mail service.

Yep, you read that right. The Vatican City post office does not go through the Italian post. All outbound mail is sent to Switzerland and then posted around the world.

So perhaps taking over Naples isn't outside the realm of possibility?