Now, to be clear, the Swiss are efficient about a lot of things. Take immigration and customs at the airport: it’s a model of efficiency and the US should take note.

But, recently, I’ve run into a few frustrating examples of inefficiency. Here they are:

Duplicated work.

My daughter had a doctor’s appointment last week. It was with a new doctor, but the doctor was in the same practice as her previous doctor. The same receptionist checked her in. But, because she was a “new” patient, the receptionist made us fill out the new patient paperwork. I pointed out that she already had all the information on the screen in front of her, but I still had to write out the information on her little form. I didn’t see her enter any of our information into the computer, but maybe she did it later? Who knows?

Internet access

We moved two weeks ago and due to a mix-up with the rental agency, I didn’t arrange for internet in advance. It’s not a huge deal as my phone has unlimited wifi and I can tether my computer to it. But, I do prefer a separate wifi.

So, I sign up for Swisscom. Unfortunately, the previous tenants didn’t have the fancy internet I wanted, which means that electricians had to come and install the fiber.

They came on Thursday. On Friday, I got my modem and installed it. After installing it, I was unable to logon to the wifi. Why? Because I needed a password. I received an email saying that they would send me this password via snail mail for “security purposes.”

Frankly, I think if I got to the extremes of letting electricians into an apartment that I’m not renting, I can probably steal the post as well.

Swiss people LOVE hard copies. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve emailed a school principal only to receive a hard copy response in the mail two days later.

Registering and de-registering

As I mentioned, we moved. We did this 18 months ago. (I’m staying put until I can move back to the US, I SWEAR.) This time we changed cantons–which is like a state.

So, I went to the town and deregistered. She gave me a nice little form to take to the new town. I filled out a bunch of other forms and went to the new town offices to register. The nice lady informed me that I need first deregister with my former canton and register with the new canton. Then I can register with the town.

In addition, I needed a credit report and proof of income so I could prove I wouldn’t be a burden to the town. Bank statements, she informed me, would also be nice.

That’s a lot of paperwork, a lot of trips to government offices, and a lot of standing in line. How, pray tell, am I supposed to earn enough income to prove I won’t be dependent on the government if I spend all my time filling out paperwork and standing in line?

Now, as I’ve said before, I’m not opposed to registering in the towns. It certainly makes more sense than the huge census nightmare the US goes through every 10 years. But, this time around, it lacks efficiency.

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8 thoughts on “Swiss Sunday: Swiss Efficiency? Ha!

  1. Came to inform you of the mixup with the text, but now I’m wondering if that was a deliberate duplication…

  2. The register and de-register in Swiss are still much more efficient than in US. Why?
    Susanze, you are born in US so you don’t have to go through the “register” process as a foreigner who comes to US.
    The process you mentioned in Swiss does that apply to non-Swiss citizen?
    I would like to share the similar process I went through, not in Swiss, but in US. This is all the steps I have to do when I was already inside of the country, just to have paperwork to go to work and stay in States.
    First I have to apply for work permit which takes about three months of waiting after filling out the forms, sending it to USCIS by mail (express mail).
    Then for greencard, I have to fill out the forms which I have to proof my income (bankstatement or affidavits from other,…) again sending it to USCIS by mail, wait for confirmation letter in the mail, wait for an interview or process take months.
    You might or might not have to do the interview, but everyone has to do fingerprint and photo taken which you have to show up with a separate schedule, go through security line, fill out the forms, wait in line again to complete process.
    It takes months to get a greencard.

    1. True, H1B workers in the US go through similar procedures as EHRL describes. However in Switzerland the registration requirement is universal: “Residence registration is obligatory for everybody living in Switzerland, including foreigners and Swiss citizens.”

      It’s true in Germany too:

  3. After figuring out that the text was duplicated (about 2 paragraphs), I got the guise of the article. What you experienced at least in person with a completed registration, we here in the good USA have to deal with via the Postal service. I recently this year got a passport for the first time in my life ( I am in my 60’s). I got it since they are enforcing Real ID’s to travel within the USA. Since I had upgraded my driver’s license to the Real ID after submitting a ton of paperwork to prove my identity, I used it to apply for a passport and passport card. The process is not fully vetting on the online site but after getting a response that requested more forms of identification that are dated more than 5 years ago and older, I did some research and found out that the person who accepts your application just makes sure that you have what is on the checklist and then sends it to another site that sorts out the paperwork and sends it to another site where someone physically looks in detail at the paperwork and either approves it or asks for more information. In my case because my driver’s license had just been upgraded within the year and my birth certificate copy was also made in the last year, I had to get copies of paperwork ( like report cards, diploma, old tax forms, etc) that we’re older than 5 years. Good thing I had just finally put everything in a file box organized and hadn’t destroyed some of the older items. I had to send copies of this paperwork again by mail—express mail is now about $26 for an envelope package under 2 pounds. That’s twice I had to pay the mailing fee. They get you on this because they limit the holding of processing your application to 90 days from the start of their receiving it. Once it’s approved, they send the paperwork to another site where they print the passport and passport card and send you 3 separate mailings that return the extra paperwork and the passport and card. I asked if I could have walked this into a passport office, as I do have a regional office fairly close by and was told that I could not make an appointment to get a passport but I could try walking in and to be prepared to spend the day waiting for a clerk to be free to look over my paperwork but I would not receive my passport immediately unless I had need for emergency travel. I still would have had to wait for it to be mailed to me. I am a USA citizen and have never traveled outside the USA. I hope that you are prepared to deal with this issue when you return back here. I now understand why so many people try to enter illegally to avoid this hassle but now that I did, I think everyone needs to have proof of ID

  4. As a U.S. Citizen, I find the registration requirement to move from one place to another inside the same country a little odd…and a little bit scary, to be frank.

  5. What I find odd is that you “needed a credit report and proof of income so I could prove I wouldn’t be a burden to the town.”

    Will/Can they not let you move there if your income isn’t up to the established standard?

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