Tuesday, July 04, 2006

H-H-H-H-H-H-How Much?!?!?!?

In the never-ending amazement of how much things cost in Switzerland...
I just picked up two queen-size duvets at the dry cleaners. Total price for cleaning: 119 CHF ($97 U.S., 76 Euros). I bought the duvets at IKEA, and I'm beginning to think that the cost of dry cleaning cost nearly as much as the original cost of the duvets. However, they won't fit into our little, Swissy washing machine.... So, what's one to do? Now that I gave it about two seconds thought...I think I'll just donate them to charity in the future and go buy new ones.
I brought the duvets to the dry cleaners last week because I noticed that they had a sale on for duvets - 39 CHF instead of 59 CHF. I thought was a pretty good reduction, so I thought "...what the heck?". I lugged those massive duvets to the cleaner, plunked them down on the counter, and the dry-cleaning lady announced "...hundertneunzehn" (119) instead of achtundsiebzig (78). "Aber, habe ich gedackt dass jetzt ein Aktion ist..." I retorted in my broken German. As it turned out, the special price on duvets was only for down-filled duvets (Hmmm...so that's what daunen means.). I challenged her by saying that I think it's easier to clean a synthetic duvet rather than a down-filled duvet, and she came back with the fact that down-filled duvets can be washed, and synthetic duvets must be dry cleaned in order to avoid shrinkage. Who knew? I also argued that since the two duvets snap together (it's actually a four-season duvet), that technically they should count as one duvet. She wasn't buying it, I definitely felt I was pressing my luck, and I turned to exit the store with my tail between my legs.
So, this morning I picked up the duvets while dropping off some other dry cleaning which furter emptied the money clip (one pair of my trousers + two of Mrs. TBF's dresses = 50.40 CHF/$41 U.S.), and the dry cleaning lady reminded me that they'll have to be picked up before July 17th because they'll be shut down from July 17th to August 5th for vacation.
I didn't ask her where she's going on vacation, but I'm sure it's someplace like the French Riviera, or Tahiti, or some other really expensive place that's being funded by nuts like me who are willing to shell out ridiculous sums of money for something that costs "nothing" in America. Or, maybe she's taking the 119 CHF and buying a round-trip airline ticket to London on easyJet - that's about how much it costs.
Maybe the next time the duvet needs cleaning, I'll do what a friend of ours did - throw it in the bathtub half-filled with water, chuck in a little laundry detergent, and stomp on the duvet like I'm making some wine.
Shrinkage be damned!

10 comments:

Ms Mac said...

Ooooof!

That's why folks just hang them oot the windaes!

cncz said...

I am the queen of bathtub laundry. Ask and you shall recieve answers.

CanadianSwiss said...

Well, look on the bright side... A bottle of Moet Chandon still costs less here than it does in the US or Canada.

Sal DeTraglia said...

I do the exact same thing that your friend does (i.e., a bath tub full of cold water and some Woolite). Guess what? No shrinkage...neither to the duvet nor to the bank account.

Karen said...

My feather bed gets put in the washing maschine twice a year (it's a tight fit, but it works).

I have generally stopped bringing anything to the dry cleaners - with the lone exception of my winter coat.

Even suits (exception: anything wool) can be washed gently in the maschine - it's a bitch ironing them though ;-)

Barry said...

I'm worried. I'm about to move to Basel for three years to start a new job. Your posts have filled me with worry and the last one has caused my wallet to have a small coronary! ANy hints or tips you can give for an easier life in Basel would be most welcome!

The Big Finn said...

Canadian Swiss - maybe less than in Canada, but it's about the same price here as it is in the U.S. Same with Veuve-Cliquot.

Sal - don't sit in the tub full of cold water. Otherwise, there'll be some serious shrinkage!

Karen - we do wash most things in cold water in the gentle cycle and hang them to dry. However, there are a few things that are such a hassle to iron that we end up bringing them to the dry cleaners. This is VERY different from when we lived in the U.S. where I brought everything I could to the cleaners.

Barry - Welcome. It is pretty expensive to live here, but don't get scared off - it's also a great experience living in Switzerland. I'll try to come up with tips whenever I can. If you wish, just leave me specific questions in the comment section. I, and the other expats, will try to answer them as best we can.

Expat Traveler said...

I love the first three answers to this post.. Stomping and hanging out the window I say....

Besides, it must be great exercise...haha...

And yeah that Canadian wine is pricey. The cheapest bottle I've ever bought cost $7.98 or so and that was for the $1.98 wine you normally get in the states...

Michael said...

WOW!!

So basically, I shouldn't complain about the $1.99 Cleaners Depot I go to?

I wonder if she wears her customers clothes like Seinfelds Dry Cleaner did?

christina said...

Highway robbery! Dry cleaning is a dirty word in our house. OK, two dirty words.

I wash our synthetic duvets in the machine all the time and they *don't* shrink. I think she was handing you a line there. As Karen says, it's a tight squeeze, but the duvets do fit (one at a time). I just run the rinse cycle a couple more times to make sure all the soap is out.