The strange case of doctor Zinniker and his wife Jeannette




Some time has gone by and my friend Giovanna has finally accepted the fact that she has been taken for a ride by a strange couple. It is now necessary for me to recount what happened to her in order to extract some moral lesson and to avoid that other people fall in the same trap.

I have never met doctor Rolf Zinniker and his wife Jeannette. What I know is that he is a quite renown person attached to the prestigious Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and precisely to the Institute for Electronic in Gloriastrasse (Zürich). And that his wife Jeannette organises French courses in the region of Olten.

Anyway. These are the facts.
My friend deals in Vintage handbags, bags to whom she gives a new lease of life by repairing and cleaning them and putting them again to good use. One day, it was January 2015, she got a phone call from a woman who was interested in seeing some of her bags for a possible purchase.
So, a few days later, Madame Zinniker with her husband Rolf went twice to my friend's apartment to be shown some bags. Madame Zinniker must be a charming person because she captured the confidence and trust of my friend to the point that, under request by Madame Zinniker, she confided to her four bags so that she could examine them better at home and decide which one she wanted.
Madame Zinniker promised to return the bags she didn’t want within a few days.

The woman was charming. The husband a renown scientist.
Why not have confidence in such a decent couple?
However things turned up very differently.

Madame Zinniker disappeared from the scene. My friend, after days had passed without any sign of life, wrote a message to inquire about her decision.
The reply, when it came, was nonsensical and also quite disparaging about the handbags of my friend. She wrote that my friend had to pay her for the costs incurred in coming to see the handbags and that the vintage goods were of poor quality. At the same time she did not want to return them or pay the agreed price.

At that point, after having heard the story from my friend, I decided to help her by writing a letter to her husband, the renown doctor Rolf Zinniker, sure that he would rationally intervene to sort out this matter. I sent a letter by the Post because I did not want to use the e-mail address of the Institute of Technology of Zürich that his wife was using as a personal address while dealing with matters that had nothing to do with the Institute.

This is the letter.

Dear Mr. Zinniker

You don’t know me. My name is Gian Piero de Bellis and I am the friend of Giovanna.
Recently you went twice to my friend’s apartment because your wife wanted to see some handbags.

In the last occasion my friend allowed your wife to take home 4 handbags with the promise that she will send back those she did not like and pay the agreed price if she wanted to keep one of them. The handbags were supposed to be returned within a week but nothing has happened so far. This represents a clear breach of trust.

My friend got in touch with your wife and she said that she had made some alterations to one of the bags. She was not supposed to do that, because none of those bags did belong to her. By doing so she has committed a second breach of trust.

After a further exchange of messages with my friend Giovanna, your wife has told my friend that she wants to keep two bags but she doesn’t want to pay the agreed price. She suggested paying half price, adding disparaging comments about the quality of my friend’s bags.

Probably you are not aware of this situation otherwise, I am sure, you would have intervened to put things right.

Now, what I ask you is to redress this injustice committed towards my friend and send back the 4 handbags in the state they have been confided to your wife.

I am sure that you agree that this is the only honourable thing to do in order to put an end to this matter.

I added my e-mail address for a propmpt reply.
But no reply ever came from him. Only another message to my friend from the wife with the same nonsensical content and abusive tone of the previous ones.

So, a week later I sent a further letter to doctor Zinniker.

Dear Mr. Zinniker

A week ago I sent you a letter concerning the handbags that belong to my friend Giovanna and that your wife is keeping without any intention to return or to pay.

I was expecting a reply from your part and an intervention to put things right but nothing has happened so far.

Perhaps you are not aware about the recent behaviour of your wife, What she is doing is not acceptable amongst civilised decent people. It amounts to pure and simple cheating.

I hope you are not condoning this type of behaviour.
That’s why I ask directly to you to send back the 4 handbags that your wife is keeping against all sense of moral due.

I sincerely hope that prompt intervention on your part will take place in the next few days.
Otherwise I will feel free to take any legal or other action to defend the legitimate rights of my friend.

Again, no reply whatsover.

Now, some months have elapsed from that unsouvoury experience. With the passing of time the bad feelings associated to this experience will evaporate. However, I think necessary to draw some lessons and to share them with the readers.

The most important is the fact that professional expertise, technical knowledge, and links to a prestigious institution are no guarantee that honesty, decency, or, in other words, a moral fiber, are all present in the same person.

And secondly, that, irrespective of minor accidents and misadventures as this one, we should keep trusting people. In the end, those who betray our trust, they are the miserable and pitiful ones.
The only thing we should do is to circulate information about our bad experiences so that others will be spared, if possible, to fall in the same tricks at the hands of the same dishonest people.

And that’s all.


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