Eight weird habits you’ll pick up in Germany


Eight weird habits you'll pick up in Germany
In Germany men sit down when taking a pee. Photo: DPA
When you go back the homeland for your Christmas hols don’t be surprised if people look at you a bit funny – you’ve probably picked up one of these peculiarly German habits.

Not crossing the street until it’s green

Berlin’s famous Ampelmann. Photo: DPA

In the Anglophone world it might seem like perfectly reasonable behavior to step out into the road if you’ve scoured both horizons and not found a vehicle in sight.

But in Germany it’s considered downright reckless – and a bad example to children, who might be watching out of windows even if they’re not there beside you on the street.

Give yourself a few months and you’ll be waiting with the crowds for the little man to turn green – if you don’t, prepare to get shouted at.

Saying hello and goodbye to shop owners

A small late-night convenience store. Photo: DPA

It would seem downright rude to ignore a shopkeeper or cashier in Germany, even if you don’t end up buying anything.

Germans may not be known for their friendliness, but they never fail to greet you as you come into the convenience shop, grocery store or pharmacy and almost always sing a melodic “Tschüß” as you walk out the door.

Perhaps it’s because shops tend to be smaller and thus feel more intimate than they do in the US – just imagine greeting all of Walmart’s workers as you walked in.

Clapping when the airplane lands

It’s always an entertaining clash taking a flight from the US to Germany and witnessing the German half clapping upon landing while the rest look around utterly baffled.

                                                 Photo: DPA

Especially when there’s a bit of a bumpy ride beforehand, it’s actually quite a nice gesture to show appreciation to the folks upfront who managed to bring an enormous, flying metal bird back down to Earth safely.

Obsessively collecting bottles for Pfand

Getting Pfand for empty bottles. Photo: DPA

Germans take recycling seriously – as you can tell by each apartment complex’s courtyard dedicated to an elaborate system of specific bins.

Beginners’ German classes sometimes even spend time explaining the process, almost as a matter of German pride.

But on top of that, supermarkets make it extremely easy to turn in bottles for their Pfand deposit and immediately get the cash reward through automatic machines.

Thus you will see long queues of folks on weekends awaiting their chance to earn a few extra cents per bottle – and huge collections of bottles amassed in each German’s household, rich or poor.

Simply tossing a beer bottle in the normal garbage bin would feel almost sacrilegious when you know the next passing bottle collector could put it towards their next meal or good night’s sleep.

Sitting while peeing

For men, sitting down is a must. Photo: DPA

If you come from the barbaric Anglophone lands where the lesser sex still stand up while doing a number one, you may have to deal with weeks of passive aggressive muttering from German flatmates before they finally concede their ire at the fact you don’t bend the knee when taking a pee.

This isn’t just something that will bother female flatmates, German males are often just as insistent. In fact it’s an issue taken so serious,one landlord recently took a tenant to court over it.

Throwing in English words while speaking German

                                                Photo: DPA

German culture is so heavily influenced by American culture that sometimes it seems like every second word has been pinched from English – even for words that already exist in German.

After a while you’ll feel that it’s too weird to use the actual German word you learned so diligently in school and start using the English one instead – but with a heavy German accent to it of course.

Being totally cool with nudity (and mixed sex saunas)

Naked sunbathing in Munich. Photo: DPA

This is the one that us prudish Anglo-Saxons probably take the longest to get used to. But it is accepted – if not widespread – to be naked in certain areas at the beach or by the lakeside.

If you are a member of a gym in Germany you will also have to get used to the fact that you’ll be the only one wearing speedos in the sauna if that’s how you choose to go about it.

And there’ll be naked members of the other sex too. This is one habit that is sure to cause a storm if you take it back to the Anglo world with you.

Having lightning speed hands at the cash register

She’s never as decisive as when packing her shopping. Photo: DPA

When you head to the checkout counter at grocery stores in Germany, you have to be both physically and mentally prepared. Those cashiers don’t mess around. And no one is going to bag your food for you like stores in the States.

Nope. German grocery store checkouts are survival of the fittest, a competition between consumer and cashier to see if you can keep up with their lightning-speed hands, throwing veggies, milk and eggs across the scanner as you scramble to pack things in a bag before they read out your total.

Those who are too slow should expect frustrated sighs and passive aggressive watch-checking from both the cashier and the customers behind them.

Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

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