How Things Should Be

I’m back. Bonn and the DAAD Freundeskreis convention were great. We’ll construct a main portal with space for each regional group, so this unprofessional pell-mell of private emailaddresses, not standardised or even missing websites is soon going to end. Since having a website depends on having a tech-savvy member in the group we’re going to centralise all regional groups and build-up a technical support group for the clubs who need help.

And now to something completely different: I’ve been in the city today – too bad I didn’t have a camera, because this is what I encountered. A vibrant crowd strolling through the city, enjoying the day (despite of the snow) and shopping. Please note that today is sunday – which doesn’t mean much to people who don’t live in Germany. On sundays, German cities look much like this. See the difference? There’s nothing wrong with Germany’s economy when you look at the export. We’re top-notch exporters of high-quality products and services – but the national economy is ailing. The regulation of opening hours strangles consumption and lowers employment. I’m well aware of the sociocultural (and even religious) reasons to keep things as they are, but as far as I’m informed there’s no other country in Europe keeping the lid on the opening hours as we do here.

The first time I got to experience the pleasure of being able to go shopping in the middle of the night was in Jackson, Michigan in 1995. I don’t remember anymore what I bought, but I can recall my fascination about some mall in the area being open at midnight as if it was yesterday. Four years ago I had the opportunity to buy new glasses for a couple of ? on a sunday afternoon and get them adjusted to my visual acuity in no time. Good luck with getting your local optician to do that for you in return for money in Germany.

I can only hope the new coalition is going to do something about the national economy, but their coalition agreement doesn’t look too promising.

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