Why is the German economy so strong? The Turks?
September 1, 2011 § 2 Comments
I have no idea.
My son Arnold would say: The Germans are horrible business people. Now that’s from his perspective, which is that of a 15-year-old American teenager. But he does make some good points.
Take our experience yesterday as an example.
We’re in the supermarket Reichelt trying to by some luncheon meats. The store’s deli counter is closing, but they see we are there. Instead of trying to make a sale, the counterperson says.
“Wir haben schon Feierabend,” which literally means it’s party evening already — as in time to party and not to work, but basically means “We’re closed.”
We buy some prepackaged meat. Arnold is sure, as am I, that if this were Fred Meyer in Portland and they were in the process of shutting down, but a customer was there, we would have gotten our sliced turkey from the deli counter.
Now contrast that with our stop at the Doener Kebab stand on the way home. It’s a place we visit often and we’ve come to know the Turkish man who runs it. As we approach the stand we see that there is no meat on the spiraling spit from which the owner shaves off the delicacy.
I say,”Oh — too bad. We really wanted a Doener.”
The Turkish guy says: “Sorry. It’s been busy. There was nice weather today. But I can give you a chicken Doener (a slab of fried chicken cutlet instead of the lamb) or I have Turkish pizza” (essentially a piece of flat bread with a reddish sauce and some chopped meat with salad). He is really keen to make a deal.
We end up getting both. The chicken isn’t great, but we’re hungry.
Arnold says: “If that guy had been German he would have said — “Sorry. No more Doeners. You need to come back tomorrow.”
I chat with the Turkish guy and tell him about our recent supermarket experience in which they were closing up and so refused to give us any turkey because it was already past closing time.
“That wouldn’t happen with me,” he said .
He didn’t have to tell us that.
“If customers are here and it’s past closing, I serve them.”
What a novel idea? Catering to the customer.
And so when I look at the German economic figures and see how well they are doing, I wonder: Do they act differently when they sell abroad? Is this anti-customer attitude just reserved for the average Joes at home? How did this country get so strong economically when they have no clue as to what customer service is?