If Switzerland Would Only Change Its Plugs
A waste of time! After arriving at our hotel in Switzerland at 7 p.m., my wife and I had both hoped to work on our computers — but we couldn’t.
Although we had bought universal plug adapters (which convert American plugs to European, Australian, and English outlets), it turns out that Switzerland has its own unique three-prong plug.
Why? This kind of plug adapter is not sold with standard adapter sets. Why does Switzerland renounce the network externalities that would come with using standard European plugs with their standard 220-volt electricity?
While the country would incur some transactions costs if all new wall outlets were standard European, I can’t imagine that these costs would be large enough to justify the costs of the Swiss having to buy adapters for travel in Europe, or the costs imposed on ignorant foreigners like me (lost work time, and the $10 spent the next day to buy an adapter that I’ll use for three days).
If the Swedes can switch overnight from left-side to right-side driving, as they did 40 years ago, surely switching to a standard plug should be both easily doable and economically beneficial for Switzerland.