Thursday, July 23, 2009

ATM - Automatic Teller Misery

Not everything about our trip to Switzerland was a walk in the mountains, as it were.

IMG 054Image by chisno via Flickr

Switzerland is expensive. The use of the Swiss Franc currency, which it trading favorably against both the dollar and Euro, makes things deceptively more costly. So while you can expect to be understood speaking most European languages in Switzerland, don’t expect to use your Euros.

Inconveniently, the Swiss ATMs appear only to issue bills in 100 SwF tender (roughly equal to $90). You can expect some disapproving looks from small shop keepers when attempting to break these bills. I learned the hard way that automated parking garage tellers do not accept the bills.

Upon arriving in Luzen, the only available public parking was in a downtown garage. Cost was roughly equivalent to downtown Chicago. When we learned that street parking was free at nights and on Sundays, it became my unenviable task to move the car. First, I had to retrieve it from the garage.

The garage’s automatic teller did not accept any of my credit cards, so I had to find an ATM. Returning with a 100 Swf bill, my attempts to pay the parking fee were again rejected. My hotel was able to make change, but this sequence of events took at least half an hour and by then, the parking fee had increased.

I then spent the next hour or so driving around the city looking for an open street space. This adventure took me the wrong way down several one-way streets and to the “nicest” areas of town. Still, no luck on a busy Saturday night. Dejected, I pulled back into another parking garage. This was my least favorite moment of the trip.

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This work by Ken Maschke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.