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Dot-Black-SML.gif OF GERMAN LINES AND PYTHONS” from SPIEGEL ONLINE’s current project, “Help us write the Germany Survival Bible” (or, help SPIEGEL compile a survival guide for tourists to Germany).

Dot-Black-SML.gif Regarding “queueing” (standing in line for goods/services) in Germany:

…Queueing at bus stops doesn’t exist, so there’s nothing to work with. Quickness and/or brute force are your best bets.

Perhaps not alone in the world, Germans cannot stand the smell of garlic. Eat lots the night before and then breathe heavily while standing in line. Alternatively, look threatening and malevolent. It will discourage people from trying to get ahead of you.

Remain ALERT. Should you, for example, be next in line in the rail ticket office when a new counter opens up, make a dash for it. If you don’t, you can be sure those behind you will. (And you were wondering why everyone walks around in Pumas and Adidas training shoes here….) DO NOT expect anyone to politely point out that a new counter has opened. The same holds true at the grocery store and post office.

Another little trick to watch out for is the tendency for people not to stand directly behind you in line, but slightly to your side. As the line progresses, they will gradually advance until they are beside you and then, before you can say Überschallgeschwindigkeit, actually ahead of you. A polite Entschuldigung (“excuse me”) may resolve the issue, though throwing a tantrum helps too.

…keep in mind that Germans have grown up with such non-lines and you need to watch out for everybody. While the worst offenders tend to be impatient middle-aged men, you also have to watch out for old ladies who can be quite shameless in their queue-jumping.

Dot-Black-SML.gif Of related interest (and amusement):

Can You Survive Germany?

THE DARK SIDE: ‘Optimists Are Idiots’

Germans take a strange pride in their ability to celebrate the bummer — and it all goes back a long, long way. Charred linings found in the fluffiest white clouds can be found not only in present-day personal conversations but in nearly every art form throughout Teutonic history. Such cheerful pieces of German literature as Goethe’s 1774 Sturm und Drang hit “Die Leiden des jungen Werthers” (“The Sorrows of Young Werther”), which allegedly spurred a rash of suicides after its appearance, or Nietzsche’s 19th-century nihilism are hardly exceptions.

German opera is no different, with most long-winded productions ending in a finale of flames of doom — or a beached whale like in a recent Stuttgart production of Wagner’s “Siegfried.” And it goes on: In Berlin, the just-ended blockbuster art exhibition at the New National Gallery was called “Melancholie.” One of the top German films last season was “Requiem”…(even) Berlin graffiti is full of it: One message scrawled on a wall…reads: Ist eh alles scheisse — or “Everything is s*** anyway.”


“The cult of the German garden gnome is one of the country’s more popular traditions.”

C O M M E N T S : now closed