But I do have a story related to the post office that made me want to die at the time. When we had been in the country for about 3 weeks, we received a bill in the mail. Most bills are orange forms written entirely in German. They look like this:
The bill had come from the Gemeinde (local community government). I wanted to pay the bill, but I didn't quite know how. We have an American online bank account, but it doesn't include checks. Actually, checks are not accepted anywhere in Switzerland and checking accounts no longer exist. Because we had been in the country for such a short time, our local Swiss bank account didn't allow online payments due to our initial residency (L) permit. I was befuddled. So I decided to go ask at the Tourism office in the train station...because, well, they are there to answer questions, right?
Wrong...well, sort of.
I went in and showed my bill to a young lady sitting at the counter. I asked (in English, because I knew zero German at this point) how I go about paying this bill. The young lady was kind, but completely befuddled by my question. It seemed incomprehensible to her that I didn't know how to pay my bill. She went to her supervisor and relayed my question. The older woman and the younger woman exchanged some words (heated) in German for a few minutes, then the older woman shouted across the entire office, "You can't pay your bill HERE!" I mumbled, "Yes, I know, but I don't where or how to pay it..." She interrupted me by shouting even louder, "YOU PAY IT AT THE POST OFFICE!" If she had thought to add a DUH, she would have. I said a quick, "Thank you!" and hightailed it out of there, embarrassed beyond belief.
I then went over to the nearest Die Post and tried to pay the bill with my debit card. I was quickly informed that they only take cash or a Die Post debit card. I popped outside to the ATM:
...and got the cash. I paid the bill. Finally.
So yes, the post office in Switzerland is also a bank.
Both free standing:
And housed in the regular post office where you send packages and buy stamps:
In the US, the post office color is blue. Here in Switzerland it is yellow.
We have yellow mail boxes:
And the mailpersons wear yellow accented uniforms and drive super nifty three-wheeled electric carts with a trailer attached:
I have been very pleased with the service we've received using Die Post. A letter abroad to the US, though expensive (2CHF), only takes about a week to arrive. Packages, even more expensive (30CHF), take about two weeks. Not bad for traveling half way around the world!
My poem is dedicated to the woman who 'helped' me that day in August:
sent to the post office
I address my ignorance
©2017, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.