Sunday, February 21, 2010

Radio Knobs

Switzerland is an ordered country: everyone (pretty much) obeys the rule because, well, rules are RULES! The US is also a rules-based country, but our attitude is a little different: "Rules are mostly made to be broken".

One aspect of this I have written about before: That the Swiss public transportation system has no turnstiles. Mostly, people buy a ticket before boarding a train. And if they don't they face, and often receive, a really big fine. Whereas, in the US, the engineering prowess that goes into the design of some turnstiles systems is impressive. It is assumed that most people will obey the rules in Switzerland, but in the US it is assumed that most people will break the rules if they feel like they will not be caught.

Another factet of this difference is in the respective Auto Shows. I loved attending the Geneva Auto Show--the density of Super Cars was impressive! The Chicago auto show, which concludes today, was, uh, not so great.

But the real difference between the Geneva and the Chicago Auto Show is radio knobs: Geneva has then, but Chicago does not.

Virtually every car I sat in yesterday had its radio knobs (and its gear shifter knob, if it was a manual transmission) removed. I am guessing that the auto manufacturer had removed them, but it is also possible that the guests had removed them, one by one.

Folks in Switzerland would never even think of trying to steal a knob! And it kinda makes sense: why would you even WANT a radio know from a Scion Whatchamacallit 1.6L sedan? I know the answer: because we Americans are often drawn to breaking rules when we know we probably won't be caught.