Pin It
Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Why Everything is Done Properly in Germany

By

I grew up in Germany, where according to English folklore, everything is done properly.

As always, there’s a bit of truth behind that and now that I live in the U.K., I find that truth in places I did not expect, for example insurance sales calls.

I have taken a lot of insurance company sales calls lately because two of our short-term insurances ran out—the one for the car we recently bought and the one for our fridge freezer we purchased a year ago. That’s right, welcome to the U.K. where you buy a fridge freezer with insurance.

To cut a long story short, the woman trying to sell me an extension for the fridge freezer insurance managed to annoy me. As soon as I had told her to email my wife she hung up on me mid-sentence to optimise her time.

This behaviour does not automatically create a bad feeling about the shop that sold us the fridge. As everyone knows, they are outsourcing the insurance to some insurance broker. When I realised that I was at the “over my dead body” stage with that particular insurance broker, I suddenly could see how far away from my roots I am.

Growing up in Germany and even living in France, it would have never even occurred to me to differentiate between insurance vendors and shop owners. In Germany, we are used to a much more monolithic view of things. That includes telephone operators that send their own technicians, gas repair people that work directly for the gas supplier and so on. If I had this experience in Germany or France, I would have mentally added the shop to my personal black list. The sub-contracting jungle that is the U.K. was pretty alien to me when I first arrived.

Now I’m sure that Germany and France are going the same way essentially, but I think (hope?) they’re both a couple of years or decades behind.

The fun part is my daughters will grow up knowing about this and they will totally adapt to it. It will be second nature for them that of course the guy who repairs the boiler does NOT work for British Gas! Papa! *roll eyes*

So there goes a part of my culture, a bit of primordial knowledge that had been planted deeply into my belief system and has now been uprooted completely. I’m sad to see it go, I must admit. But I know now why the English claim we’re doing things properly: because we do.

© 2012, Jan Petersen. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Circumcision Wars

She fought her Turkish in-laws on it--did she succeed?

Many Languages, One America: 25 Proud Bilingual Children

These kids make clear what language the U.S. speaks.

How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000

It's cheaper than you think to make that move abroad you always dreamed about

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Jan, who is German, works mainly from home as a software engineer. His wife, who is Algerian, stays at home to look after their three girls aged 7, 4 and 1. They live in the U.K. and are raising their children multilingual in Arabic, French, German and English.

Leave us a comment!









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
[…] Peru, 97 percent of newborns are breastfed, according to LLLI. In Culture Parent reported that 69 percent of Peruvian children are breastfed exclusively from birth to five months, and ou...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Hi I was googling Islamic beliefs when I came across your post. We are American and our neighbors are from Pakistan I think. Our kids love playing together but their dad doesn't allow the kids to co...
From An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline
Mother’s Day is the most perfect and accurate Occasion to express your Love and Gratitude towards Mothe...
From Holi Craft: Straw Painting
[…] Muslims fast for 30 days every year for Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan this year is happening during most of the month […...
From Ramadan: June 28-July 28
[…] Raising a Little Buddha – Part 1, InCulture Parent — Post by a Buddhist Minister about raising an enlightened child.  It starts with intimacy, communication, and community. [R...
From How to Raise an Enlightened Child — Part I
[…] Breastfeeding in Jordan, InCulture Parent — Not as restrictive as one might think. […...
From Breastfeeding in Jordan
[…] Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother, InCulture Parent – “The 2010 Mothers’ Index rates 160 countries (43 developed nations and 117 in the developing world) in terms of th...
From Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother
[…] Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids, InCultureParent — Interesting look at how our values impact our interactions with our children (babies in particular). […...
From Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids
[…] Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon, InCulture Parent — a fascinating look at cultures in the Amazon where pregnant women have sex with more than one man as a means...
From Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon

More from Our Bloggers