I’m emerging from the World Cup this week. After a long month of late night soccer game watching, and a great time last weekend celebrating the German victory with some German friends (how better to enjoy it, right?), life is back to normal around here.
Today, I wanted to share an example of the high Swiss prices that I think will resonate with Americans (and which will make it clear why eating out is a special treat!): Subway sandwiches. In the US, they are a pretty inexpensive, easy meal. I’ve always liked them a lot. I’m not so interested in eating them here (nor was I in Brazil–seriously, lest you ever worry that they might go out of business, there are ubiquitous Subways everywhere we go in the world), but they are a useful price comparison. Just like in the US, they are a pretty reasonably priced option here in Switzerland. They are definitely cheaper than a restaurant. But, as you can see on the sign below, the 6 inch (15 cm to those of us here in the metric world) costs 6.70 to 10.60 Swiss francs (that’s about $7.50-$12). And the footlong can cost close to $20!
There are lots of reasons for the high Swiss prices, many of which I have no problem with (higher wages, high quality production of ingredients, government farming controls, etc.). Mark Bittman has a piece in the New York Times today that goes through the thought exercise of trying to understand the real cost of a hamburger in the US, relative to the low price. It’s bit of an imperfect calculation, but the point is well-taken, and the low prices we are accustomed to in the US aren’t always a good thing for us. But that doesn’t mean I’m quite ready to spend $20 on a Subway sandwich!