Clever ad

by Eszter Hargittai on February 17, 2006

Ebay exchange point at the Zurich Hauptbahnhof Train stations often (or sometimes?) have meeting points where people can arrange – surprise-surprise – to meet up with others. This can be helpful if you don’t know the train station at all since you can just decide to meet at the point and then look for it once there. It’s also helpful if you do know the train station since you can avoid having to address the question of specific meeting location every time you’re meeting up with someone.

I was at the Zürich train station last week and noticed an interesting twist on all this: the ebay Xchange point. I had never seen one before. It looks like a really clever way to advertise the service. Not only is it an ad for the auction site, it is also a very helpful place for people to meet up to exchange items bought and sold on ebay. While people could just say “see you at the meeting point” that’s less helpful when you have never met the person before and since the regular meeting point tends to get quite crowded at times, it’s useful to have a separate location for these exchanges.

Anyone know of other such points elsewhere? Extra credit for having pictures of other such locations.:)

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02.19.06 at 6:13 pm



Scott Martens 02.17.06 at 8:29 am

There are seven of them in Switzerland according to Ebay Schweiz. I saw the one in Geneva myself.


Eszter 02.17.06 at 8:40 am

D’oh, I can’t believe I missed the one in Geneva! I was at the station just a few days ago and even walked around quite a bit looking for a place to buy local bus tickets after hours. Something to look for next time.


JRoth 02.17.06 at 11:23 am

But wait! The Zürich Hauptbanhoff already had an effective meeting point – under the blue angel. From where you took the photo, it was directly to your left (and up about 35 feet). Both times I’ve trained into Zürich, we met my wife’s friend there. The last time was September, but I don’t think the eBay thing was there yet.


Shelby 02.17.06 at 6:28 pm

I don’t know who conducted it, but I heard that a study asking people where and when they would meet someone in New York if they had not prearranged a time and place, resulted in the majority saying “by the main clock in Grand Central Station at noon”. Or is that too banal a comment for this post?


Eszter 02.17.06 at 8:02 pm

JRoth – Sure, I know the angel. But if you’ve never been to the station you may not know about it. By the way, the Zürich station also has a meeting point (big point with four arrows pointing to it) PLUS a separate group meeting point, which I only noticed this time around. (BTW, Bahnhof is one f.)

Shelby – I think the idea is that if you’ve never been to a station you may not know that there is a main clock or may not know where/which is the main clock. In contrast, the meeting points are usually very easy to find and there is usually just one. I guess in the case of this station, you’d have to know to say usual meeting point vs group meeting point vs ebay xchange point (vs blue angel:). Luckily, they’re all quite close to each other and you can see all others standing around any of these.


ab 02.18.06 at 6:43 am

Would be interesting to find out whether/how much eBay pays in terms of rent or license for this.

Of course, something like this is unlikely to happen in the US any time soon. Though I guess the eBay drive-thru might not be far away…


JRoth 02.20.06 at 8:13 pm

Duh, my editor for a column I co-write is named Hoff, and I write that much more often than I do Hauptbanhof. Silly mistake.

True – if every (major) station had an eBay point, then it would be useful as a landmark regardless of familiarity. But as long as it’s station-by-station, it’s no more useful than site-specific landmarks like the angel.

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