Zug trash…

So you were the lucky one to be approved for the only flat under 100m2 that was published this month.  Given the scarcity of small to medium size apartments in the city, you look up, you thank the superior omnipresent and omnipotent forces, whoever they are (God, Buddha, Cher, Kim K) and you decide to also play the Euromillions tonight.  When luck strikes, you squeeze it.  What’s next?

Furniture!  Easy.  Online.  You find everything you need and at the price you can afford.  It is the best way of shopping these days.  The one with less hassle.  No looking around in dozens of shops, no driving, no loading them in your small car, no unloading them, etc.  Oh, who you are kidding, man?  YOU DON’T HAVE A CAR!  Ah yes, there is that too.  I do not have a car.  Guilty as charged.  So indeed there was no other way for me.

The stuff arrives, most of them in perfect condition, you unpack them, you place them where you think is the best feng shui spot for each one of them (gut feel, no studying of it of course) and then you are left with a zillion cartons.  Do you see any issues anywhere till now?  No is the correct answer.  This is what I said too.  Well, not exactly.

I invested a good hour to fold all cartons to take as little space as possible and then I took them down to one of the 2 big bins on the side of my building.  I left them there, I went up, I took my bag and I left for a two weeks vacation, somewhere with sand and clear blue waters.

When I came back a beautiful, rather warm evening, I noticed something rather familiar in front of the garage.  Something yellow, something folded, something of carton, something of mine.  I was not sure, so I did not go closer, because I always mind my own business and my final verdict was that this was not my business.  At least not that moment.

The next day around 7am, the door bell rings.  Opening the door, I face a blond busty lady with wet hair…
Blond Lady: Guten Morgen.
Me: Guten.
Blond Lady: Ich bin Karla.  Ich bin verantwortlich für das Gebäude.
Me: Nice meeting you, Karla. Ich spreche nicht deutsch.  Englisch?
Blond Lady: Nein.  A litttttle.
Me: OK. How (pause) can (pause) I (pause) help (pause) you?
Blond Lady: Kartons in der Garage. Deine?
Me: Garage?  Cartons?
Blond Lady: Kartons. Outside.
Me: Ja, meine, I guess.
Blond Lady:  Du musst sie bewegen. Move!
Me: Yes, I just moved here.  Zug is nice. I like it.

Should I have denied that the cartons were mine?

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Blond Lady: Du musst sie bewegen. Move! Move!
Me: I (pause) must (pause) move?  Again?
Blond Lady: Kartons move.
Me: I did.  I put the cartons into the bin.  Somebody else took them out.  I do not know who.  But we need to find them. (This is where the google translate audio app came handy).  Ich stelle die Kartons in den Mülleimer. Jemand anderes hat sie rausgeholt. Ich weiß nicht wer. Aber wir müssen sie finden.

From that point on, the smartphone came between Karla and I. Me speaking to the phone and showing Karla, Karla speaking to my phone and showing me.
Blond Lady: Me! I moved the Kartons.
Me: Oh. OK. You need them?  You can have them.  Sorry if I destroyed them abit.
Blond Lady (rather upset): Nein, nein. Cartons must go to Ökihof. You have to take them to Ökihof.
Me: OK, Ökihof.  Is it near here?  I don’t have a car, love.
Blond Lady: I can take them for you.
Me: Oh, you are so nice.  I appreciate it so much.
Blond Lady: You pay me.
Me: Oops. OK.  How much?
Blond Lady: How much you pay for that?
Me: I have no idea. I never pay for that.  And for sex.
Blond Lady: No sex.  No sex you with me.  Just take cartons to Ökihof.  How much?

It was not an easy moment, because like with any negotiation.  If there is no reference point, then you might lowball and offend the other person, or highball and pay too much.  Finally she proposed an amount that I agreed to pay without bargaining, which I will not disclose because she did not give me a receipt and I do not want to get in trouble first month here (I have no idea how prisons look like here, or even if they have any or if they outsource prisoning to Albania).

Once the financial aspect of our connaissance was settled, the blond lady had the kindness to elaborate on the Zug trash system.  This is when I found out that all my black garbage bags, that I bought in the super market, were also waiting for me to get back from vacation, also themselves having not moved from the bin.  They were patiently waiting for me to get back from vacation, for the simple reason that they were black.  And black is not good for Zug trash.  Blue is the new black.  The bags had to be blue and they are available at the Post Office.

I felt weird going to the post office teller asking for trash bags.  Moreover I felt even weirder that I had to pay something like 34CHF for them.  Nevertheless, mom was not surprised at all with all this.  She had an “I told you so” line, like all moms do. “I told you so.  I told you that even if taxes are low, they would get your money in other ways.  Rent was the first, now the trash bags.  They are smart.”  Ok, mom.

What about recycling? This Zug trash post has been way too long.  Yes, there is a story with that too, but some other time.  Let’s get to the useful staff.  Like with every post, there will always be a useful part to my cute rambling.


Although it took me a while, I found what we need.  The Association of Local Authorities of the Canton of Zug for Waste Disposal Administration (ZEBA) has done an excellent job in explaining everything, in English and many other languages, leaflets like this one.

Waste Regulations and Info by ZEBA

Don’t trash the seriousness of your Zug trash because you might get in trouble.  I quote: “Anyone who contravenes these rules may be expelled or banned from using the site and may face prosecution and claims for damages. Thank you for your understanding.”  I also love the rule that you cannot stay at the Ökihof longer than 15 minutes.  Even if you enjoy the place, sorry, you have to go!  Good luck…