Dec. 4, 2015

Excuse me, sorry sorry

Als ich Ende 2013 zurückkam nach Deutschland und den Reverse Culture Shock erlebte, habe ich auch darüber geschrieben. Zum Beispiel dies:

Excuse me, sorry, sorry

The other day we went to the Christmas market in our little town. It was very crowded, stalls are close to each other, there was not much room for people to walk. All of a sudden I caught myself mumbling “Excuse me”, “sorry”, “Excuse me” while trying to make my way from one end of the market to the other. In German of course “Entschuldigung”, “Entschuldigen Sie”, “’Tschuldigung”. That’s what you do. Right? Or maybe not? At least not here in Germany? I was the only one. And I didn’t even push people aside, I just squeezed by.

It happened again. In the supermarket. Same thing. Nobody got hurt. I just maneuvered my cart around other people’s carts (the supermarkets are small, aisles narrow). And I mumbled “Excuse me”, “Sorry”. In German of course. And again, I was the only one doing this. Something had happened the past four years. Some kind of conditioning. Here is my observation (and please jump in if you don’t agree): I

n Germany you only say “Excuse me” or “sorry” in a supermarket or at a Christmas market, if there is a real incident, let’s say if you pour hot mulled wine over somebody’s pants or really crash into somebody’s shopping cart. Whereas in the US you are almost “uber-polite” and apologize before something happens or for maybe increasing the risk that something could happen by pushing your cart through the aisles at a higher speed. It reminds a little of the “How are you”-game (I wrote about it some time ago), which I miss dearly.

I think I will just keep being “uber-polite”. I like it. The more the merrier.