Showing posts from October, 2016

The customer is always wrong

There are times when I miss the US. And one of those times is when I'm shopping.

Yesterday, my daughter and I went to a Swisscom shop in the French speaking part of Switzerland to pick up her repaired cell phone. When we entered the shop, we passed three sales people who failed to look at us or even say hello, despite the fact that they were not working with customers.

Finally, after spending twenty minutes in queue, we were told to sit down and wait for the repair girl. We waited and waited. Then, the repair girl told us that the phone remained broken and that the extra insurance I had purchased was no longer valid. I explained that when we had brought the phone in September, it had been 10 days before the coverage period had expired. The repair girl questioned my integrity when I told her that the broken phone had been with them for nearly two months.

"How do I know you're telling the truth," she said, crossing her arms across her chest. " I have no paperwork …

Gender issues in the Alps

Recent talk of gender issues reminds me of the time I told my Swiss grandfather I was applying to college and he asked: "Why the hell would you want to do that? What do you want to be... a professor? Better marry a man with 20 cows." He clearly did not see the value in a woman being educated.

Fifteen years later, after our move to the Swiss Alps in 2002, I noticed that nearly all our female neighbors stayed home and did not have jobs. Then one day, I overheard a female neighbor criticize another who had just gotten a part-time job.

"Who does she think she is? She thinks she's better than all of us," she said. "Her husband works hard and brings home a good wage, and this is how she thanks him! She doesn't even have time to cook a proper lunch for her family. She's just greedy."

Being a "Hausfrau" in the Alps, I learned, is definitely a job and a highly-regarded one at that. But when a friend from university once asked me: "what d…

Sunshine, vitamins and clouds in the mountains

Last week, an email from a Belgian reader arrived. He wanted to know how much sun we get here in the Swiss Alps, and whether or not the mountains keep the clouds away. I wasn't sure, but I did understand the importance of sunshine, as I had started taking vitamin D-3 after listening to a James Altucher podcast with Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, who warned of vitamin D-3 deficiency.

You might already know this, but in case you don't: Vitamin D-3 is the stuff your body makes when it is exposed to sunshine, and it's been touted to ward off diseases like cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis,  and depression.

So, after googling around, I learned that certain places in the Swiss Alps are sunnier than others. Zermatt, for example, sees the most amount of sunshine in Switzerland, with 62% of its days being sunny (according the The Valais town of Sion comes in second at 58%. Then I noticed that Junfraujoch, which is really high in altitude, only scores a 46% or just a…