Zurich is expensive.
Research from the Economist Intelligence Unit confirms this, recently naming Zurich the most expensive place to live in the world.
However, according to a recent editorial by Thomas Widmer, a journalist with the Tages-Anzeiger, most people calling Zurich expensive are expats who go to Sprüngli.
Well, I’m a Sprüngli-going expat, but actually, there’s a different reason most foreigners call Zurich expensive. It’s not our “Luxemburgerli lifestyle.”
It’s just that we have another place in the world with which to compare Zurich. (Also: We did not grow up expecting to pay a small fortune for a plate of kung pao chicken.)
I can proudly say that I’ve tried to penny-pinch in Switzerland.
But this is a country that has no pennies. So naturally, I’ve failed. But I will say that nothing demonstrates the expense of a place more than the price of its second-hand goods.
Unlike the second-hand scene in United States, at flea markets and Brockis in Switzerland, there are no used books for a ten cents or baby clothes for a dollar.
Here, people enjoy high prices too much to consider paying for anything with mere pocket change.
This is a world where flea market sellers won’t bargain, where the Salvation Army has change for a thousand-franc bill, and where sellers on the Swiss version of eBay start the bidding for their three-year-old strollers at SFr350 ($382).
An island unto itself, normal rules of economics need not apply in Switzerland.
While the high prices of everything can be as frustrating as the non-existent line at the cheese counter, I’ve decided it’s high time to make them work in my favour. So I’m cleaning out my closet to see what I can sell.
Oh, a pair of Levi’s. They only cost me $10 in the U.S., but because I’m pretty sure I’ll make money on this pair, possibly a fortune big enough to afford a plate of Chinese food.
So here we go. I’m starting the bidding at SFr20. Anyone?