Service

Criticism of the German Service Culture.

creator: x14km2d | build: 2021-12-28 | update: 2022-01-06

Essay

There are things that only become apparent when you have a comparison. For example, as a temporary German, I have never noticed how bad the service in Germany is in the retail sector. Why did I notice that? Today I went to the main station and had to do something there. Afterwards I wanted to buy an Amazon credit card. So I went to the newspaper kiosk and took one of these cards. There were two ticket offices. One of them was behind a concrete pillar, and I couldn’t see the box. I went to the cash register which had a closed sign, because behind it there was a staff member working and I had the assumption that this one would open the cash register again after she finished her work. Instead I get yelled at why I don’t stand at the other cash register. I took the Amazon card and put it back on the shelf, wished the employee a nice day and left. By the way, the employee of this shop did not wear a mask. At the exit there was a sign saying that unskilled workers for the newspaper kiosk were wanted. Somehow this did not surprise me. Then I bought my card in another kiosk. What does the ideal employee expect? Should I let her yell at me? Am I her lightning rod for her bad mood?
We are all under stress because of the pandemic and if I were to take my anger out on any innocent person, I would have been beaten to death and thrown into the ditch. That is the difference in Germany compared to other countries.

In the 2000s I sailed down the entire east coast of America. From New York City to Key West. For 2 weeks I had the time to see America Culture from a different perspective. Not from the media or a ARTE documentary. There are many things about Americans that bother me. The intrusive and unsolicited touching, the smiling razzmatazz and the constant telling of oral histories in so many small talks. I have never met so many people who went to university with Musk or Obama. Everything is so fake and you can assume that 90% of Americans simply lie in everyday life. But that’s OK. For example, if I go to a sandwich shop and there’s a note that says my food will be brought to my table within two minutes by a fellow employee, then that’s the way it is. Employees smile all the time and ask if there is anything else I can use. Is that Swiss cheese? Yes, of course it is Swiss cheese. The best Swiss cheese you’ll ever eat!

Maybe it’s different and I’ve had two weeks of luck with the American retail staff. Of course these people want to sell me something and they know that if you talk to customers in a friendly way you can convince them to exchange products for money. In Germany there is no such philosophy. Buy something and then fuck off as fast as possible. Do not expect any extra questions or any helpful service. This is one of the reasons why so many shops in the city center have had to close in the last few weeks. If you shout at your customers they won’t come back. For a shop with friendly staff I walk up to 10-30 minutes more. I expect people who work in retail to treat me in a friendly and courteous manner. There are enough shops and the pandemic will bring hundreds of them to economic ruin. If I go into a newspaper and bookstore and buy an Amazon card for 100$, I should ask myself as a shopkeeper why this is so. Why doesn’t this person buy the books for his money from us? Because the workers are shit heads and cock fuckers.

When I shop in retail, I don’t want to feel like I have to fight for something. I want to have a good feeling. I want to take something positive with me. I want to look forward to the book that this super nice bookseller has sold me. Germans simply cannot do that. They don’t smile. They don’t lie to me in order to sell a more expensive book, which I could get cheaper in any online shop. They are unfriendly. They wait until you run after them and then talk to them. Some even run away and have to do something very important tasks. Most are lazy, unfriendly and always in a bad mood. Most Germans working in the retail trade are uneducated and stupid. I don’t want to go to such shops to buy my products. This has become so bad that I go to such a bad provider like Amazon and buy my products there. Since February monthly about 100-140$ per month. That is between 1200 and 1680$ per year. Amazon gets the mos. Nobody in the German retail trade has seen a cent of it. These are all just small items like books, electrical components, tea etc. These are all products that I go shopping on the supermarket.

In November 2020 I spent a total of $71.91 on books. I did not buy any of them in the German retail trade. If you add that up to several people, that’s a lot of money and I simply don’t care if the bookstores in the city center go bankrupt. Most of them are bookstore chains and live off their bad image, just like every other chain on this planet. Some bookstores only exist for university literature and scientific books. Are the employees there in a bad mood. No. They are not. The employees take time for me, we talk a little bit about the weather and they advise me on books. In most cases I pay three times higher there, simply because I want to support these shops. Germans must finally learn that a good service sells more products. The employees want to win the capitalism game, then they should train in hardball selling or simply leave the field, because in this sense I am not dependent on the employees. If I want to buy a book, I can just do it online.

I knew Amazon is a hyper capitalistic and merciless provider, but I just want to save myself the trouble and I have no interest in being the lightning rod for every German shop owner who cocks around. I have worked in retail myself as a student and it is not nice to have to smile all day long. I know that, for example, when your grandmother has died and you have to be in the shop in the morning, you have to smile. That is what the customer wants. If a Karin comes, get the security and throw her out. Smile at all other customers until you feel the pain in your face. Be friendly, not pushy. If you treat your customers like a peace of shit you will go bankrupt. Period. The pandemic is now sorting things out even worse. And this is not only true in retail. The digital trade with goods, services and co-workers is a competitor. If your bookshop doesn’t stock books in English, I’m not your customer. If your bookstore doesn’t stock scientific literature, I’m not your customer. And if your employees shout at me because the person is a picky cock fuck, I’m not your fucking customer. If I put a book in your shop because I want to give your fellow employees a chance and it was forgotten after a week, I am not your customer. I’m not wasting my very important and expensive life time with unfriendly employees who can’t control their feelings. Germans have to learn this, because popular american brands push their service to the top of the performance spectrum.

In 2020 I was in a american E-Car shop in Düsseldorf because I was toying with the idea of taking a driving license (and a car). The staff was well groomed, smelled very good, was friendly, had good manners and was well educated. I said from the start that I didn’t want to buy a car at the moment, I just wanted to have a look. Nevertheless I was treated like the best customer on this planet. The staff was well groomed, smelled very good, was friendly, had good manners and was well educated. I said from the start that I didn’t want to buy a car at the moment, I just wanted to have a look. Nevertheless I was treated like the best customer on this planet. I will never in my life buy a german E-Car car. Never. I would never even take a car from these brands as a gift. I would immediately sell it on to buy a product in the american E-Car shop. Why? Because this E-Car brand is so great, hip and environmentally friendly (which it is not)? No! Because the fucking employee was just fucking friendly to me. Service. That is the magic word. Treat me like a king and I’ll throw gold at you. It’s as simple as that.


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