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View Diary: Lessons from Germany (for Republicans): How to overcome the fear of freeloaders (87 comments)

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  •  Yes, your observation on (2+ / 0-)
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    llywrch, citisven

    "Well, it's not in my job description, so too bad!" is quite common here. On the other hand, employee contracts are pages and pages long, and taken very seriously. I swear, when I was teaching English a few years ago, one student worked in the personnel office of multinational company, and she was shocked - I mean really SHOCKED - that a US employee contract that had crossed her desk was only one page long. She asked me about it incredulously. I tried to explain that we don't see the need for lengthier contracts, but not sure I got through. At least that's the kind of thing I can smile about. Not so funny is the very poor customer service in some industries, the German banks being one of my pet peeves. Just about every single one I've had dealings with seems to think they are doing YOU the favor of letting you park your money there, and I'm not exaggerating.

    „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

    by translatorpro on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:11:04 PM PST

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    •  Well, the way to deal with the poor service (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      translatorpro

      is to play the "friendly American" attitude for what it's worth. From what I've been told, smiling & saying please & thank you on a regular basis -- & attempting to speak German -- will lead the salesclerks to fighting over waiting on you. (I never had the chance to test this out on an extended basis, but I never encountered the ugliness I have heard of in my chance encounters.)

      On the other hand, this approach probably won't make a diference in German banks; it often won't work even in US banks. And I wouldn't be surprised if customer service at the German equivalent of the Department of Motor Vehicles is something out of one of the circles of Hell...

      •  Well, I've been here such a long time (0+ / 0-)

        that I'm part of the scenery, and am completely fluent in German - it helps I grew up bi-lingual, so I think I'm beyond trying to change anything, really. I've resigned myself to the fact that one person is not going to be able to do much about an entrenched attitude. The civil service employees are not bad, on the other hand. I've had some very pleasant experiences with them, if they happen to be having a good day.

        I saw a funny cartoon about German banks once, where the customer walks in with a thought bubble showing him wearing a crown and the employees are treating him like royalty. The bank employees' thought bubbles show them holding him upside down by his feet and shaking the money out of his pockets. I never saw a more apt portrayal of how things work here.

        „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

        by translatorpro on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:42:25 PM PST

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