Welcome back to my Switzerland themed A - Z. Today I'll be talking about a value (more of them as it's the letter V's turn) that is still amazingly observed around here: Honesty.
Board the bus right down the street. You'll get in without showing your ticket or scanning a travel card or QR code - there, you've used our honesty system!
Our public transportation mostly relies on passengers being honest. Every now and then an inspector walks through the train or bus and checks people's tickets. If you are caught dodging the fare for the first time, you pay a fine of CHF 90 (about the same in USD) in addition to the actual price for your journey. The amount increases, should you do it again, and by the third time they'll file charges against you.
But that's not what I want to tell you about in this post, I want to show you what a Hofladen is!
You all know the roadside stands you pass on a road trip? Selling strawberries and stuff?
There are many varieties of them. I like the one that displays gigantic cherries in July and August. The ones they sell are almost as big ;-)
At this time of year they specialize in dyed Easter eggs!
Remember yesterday's post? Grüezi being a common way of saying hello? Look at the door! Look closely. What does It say? There you go!
A Hofladen is the advanced version of the stands. It's an indoor farm store offering dairy products and fresh, baked goods, seasonal produce like fruit, veggies and berries, canned and jarred delicacies.
They can be found everywhere outside the city. Here's a directory.
Many Hofladen that I know of are not listed, though, so just keep your eyes open. Most have a wooden sign by the graveled road leading to their farm. Some just say Hofladen, others state what they're currently selling, so you'll just drive by and read "heute frisches Brot und Zopf" (today's offer is fresh bread and Zopf is a braided bread specialty)
In the fall it may say "frisch gepresster Most" (freshly pressed cider).
The level of presentation varies greatly. We have one in our village, a five minutes' walk from our house. The lady who runs it used to be my elementary school classmate.
Currently there are many signs out for two reason:
- Corona rules and the announcement that they will deliver to people who belong to risk groups
- Easter, respectively today is Gründonnerstag, Holy Thursday, and they are baking Zopf and Bread.
The inside is one large vending system. You insert coins (Swiss money has coins up to five Francs, comparable to five U.S. Dollars), then you press a combination of letters and figures --> the little door will open, and you can remove your head of salad or loaf of bread.
One of the worst farm stores I have visited at our neighbour village was cluttered with hand-written notes that said plastic bags cost 5 cents, you should remember to close the fridge door after removing your milk, you were not allowed to touch the stuff unless you were buying, and even though this store was unmanned, you were expected to pay for your merchandise.
Geez, have they had bad experiences? Also the place looked filthy, there were flies everywhere, and I was not going to purchase anything there.
Especially if the next one was only about a mile away. Colin and I used our bicycle to get there.
This was the complete opposite: air conditioned, clean, inviting and uplifting!
They provide a great product range and - very important - resources to figure out how much you owe: everything is clearly marked, there is a notepad, a pen and a calculator. You put in bills in a safe-like container and remove change from a petty cash box.
He did a great job checking our purchases out. This was in 2017, so he was 8 years old. Time flies!
Are there honesty system stores or roadside stands where you live? Do you use them? Why (not)? Let me know down below.
Tomorrow's post will be about International Organizations based in Switzerland. And because most of them are actually located in Geneva, I'll also sneak in a good deal of sightseeing. You will enjoy the trip, I promise.