For those British expats in Switzerland that haven’t been able to make the transition from Weetabix to Bircher muesli, buying your favourite brand of cereal across the boarder just got even cheaper after the Swiss National Bank scrapped the CHF-EUR exchange rate cap.
Some price differences just leave you scratching your head. This is one of them.
A 430g box of Weetabix at Migros in Switzerland costs CHF 4.80. At Carrefour in France the same box costs Euro 1.78. At today’s exchange rate that same box is more than two and half times more expensive in Switzerland than in France. Why?
For most people paying a bit more to shop in Switzerland is OK. We understand that prices vary because of unpredictable exchange rates, different operating costs and a long list of other things that drive prices. Some price differences though are just plain silly and hard to justify by any logic.
What head-scratchingly silly price differences have you noticed? Please share your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the page.
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Lets start with the most basic items: bread: a 400g baguette of French bread is CHF 2.25 in Thiefgros or Crookop…€0.70 in Carrefour in France. Even before the reality of an un-manipulated exchange rate this equated to CHF 0.85….now it’s, well… CHF 0.70. So bread from being at a mere 164% premium is now 220% higher here. A 200g jar of Nescafe CHF 13.00 or €5.50…..anything to do with children (food, formula, diapers)…..and how about Olbas Oil? It’s made in Switzerland and your friendly local Amavita will drill a bottle up your orifice for the bargain price of CHF15. Or in England you can pick it up for £2.30 (CHF3.55 at the old rate!). The shops here have had it coming but just kept on raping the hand that fed them and it will be interesting to see how they suffer. And now the petrol is cheaper in France too
What have we noticed….? We have notice that EVERYTHING is more expensive than ANYWHERE else (apart from Tokyo maybe. And Zurich…). Starting from simple beef meat which costs 80,00CHF per kilo (which I’m sure is born and raised in the mountains at thirty km from the town) ending with a simple (terrible tasting too) coffee in an anonymous bar (4/5 CHF). Clothes…shoes…restaurants (which close on weekends!). Switzerland is a big bubble inside the world. They keep their own reality, follow their own criteria and think it can go on for ever.
Ho Lee says
I reckon Tokyo is cheaper (forgetting the CHF/JPY leap)……prices are still the same there as they were 18 years ago. They have lived through the deflation Switzerland urgently requires to regain any vague form of international competitiveness. In addition to grasping the notion of value for money hey also understand what genuine quality and service means. And the shops have stumbled on the incredible idea that if you are open at times when people aren’t at work (ie evenings and Sundays) you might actually sell something.
Random, I know, Clearasil facial cleansing pads. $5 in the US. €5 in Germany and France, 20chf in Switzerland! Also, Isopropyl alcohol. Same size bottle: $2 in the US. €10 in Germany and France. 30chf in Switzerland. And the obvious, MEAT.
For highlights, wash, conditioning, cut and blow dry is 360ChF in Zurich. In Belgium the same service costs 120€! And the haircuts here are terrible!
And I wondered why I was getting uglier. Now I know!