Eurotrip diary will continue with impressions from rural Netherlands, but I'm writing this in Schoenefeld airport, on my way home, and I am astounded by the level of customer service in Germany.
In two words, it Sucks Ass.
Over three days in Cologne and Berlin, I have encountered more assholes per square kilometer than anywhere else I've ever been - and I've been to Paris, South California, and Russia. Maybe I need to go to Bavaria for the stereotypical experience, but up to now I've seen all the twisted, illogical downsides of Ordnung without any of the benefits.
I can comprehend, logically, that there is a reason why shops would prefer one type of card over another, and not take credit cards. I think it's stupid, because I live in a country where anything carrying a Visa logo or the Mastercard double globes is accepted everywhere except the cinema. I've had it explained, by a specialist in the field, why everyone in Germany uses Maestro.
What I don't understand is why, when I find out from a shop floor girl at a gadget supermarket who was standing around chatting to the other assistants that I cannot buy the item with my embossed Visa, and put down the box at the nearest shelf, she demands in an insulted voice that I put it back in the proper location. You get paid to put the box back, you stupid cow.
I don't understand why I can't buy a bottle of mineral water with a bank card at Frankfurt Airport, a major international hub with massive numbers of passengers travelling from one country that doesn't use the Euro to another one. There is no reason to expect me to have cash. Seriously.
I don't understand why the girl at the Deutsche Bahn information desk at Berlin Hauptbahnhof cannot explain to me how to force the ticket machine to actually issue a ticket to Schoenefeld, and not just an itinerary. I'm fairly fucking sure that I'm not the first person to be asking the question.
I don't understand why I have to pay three Euro to leave my bag at the left luggage at ten minutes before midnight, then have to pay another three Euro to retrieve it at 5am because it's two separate days. Even though Every Single Fucking train station in the civilized world charges per 24 hours, including the rather cool auto-stackers in Cologne.
I don't understand why I can't check in to an easyJet flight at the Berlin hub earlier than two hours before the flight, whereas I can do the same thing online 24 hours prior, and can check in way earlier at tiny little Tallinn airport, where airside is quite a cramped affair.
But I swear, if one more German fucks with me today using a completely arbitrary and moronic rule designed to make my life more difficult, I am going to respond by doing the Sieg Heil salute and shouting 'Muskatnuss!!!'.
5 weeks ago