|All about Swiss punctuality|
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The Swiss have a reputation for being as punctual and precise as their best watches. The rule is: Avant l’heure, c’est pas l’heure, après l’heure, c’est plus l’heure (Before the hour is not yet the hour, after the hour is no longer the hour), with the only exception being the Quart d’heure Vaudois where, in the canton of Vaud, people generally arrive fifteen minutes late for an appointment. It is their way of thumbing their nose at the national on-the-dot-timing. But secretly the Swiss are very proud of their punctuality. This precision is the expression of something stronger and more profound: their national feeling towards social and political order. Une place pour chaque chose, et chaque chose à sa place could be the motto of this Confederation. (A place for everything and everything at its place.) A linguistic particularity, typically Swiss, is the translation of “OK” into German as alles ist in Ordnung (everything is in order) or to translate “tip-top” into French as propre en ordre (clean and in order). Even some administrative forms have an en ordre box to check as opposed to a simple “yes” box. It can happen, although very rarely, if you have a meeting concerning a job, a contract, some advice or some support with a person in a powerful position, that this person arrives late on purpose to demonstrate their power. In such a case, you will wait, and wait, and wait until the person arrives in a whirlwind, hardly taking the time to apologize and, without spelling it out, makes it clear that he, being the very important person that he is, has just come out of a meeting and grumbles that he only has a couple minutes to listen to you. As for you, always try to be punctual. The Swiss should feel obliged to be as punctual as a foreigner as a matter of honor. It would be seen as very impolite to arrive late intentionally.
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