May Day Madness

Last Friday I get a call from Oliver at 6:45 in the evening to grab my bag and be ready to jump in the car because tomorrow is May Day.


As Michelle over at Jewelled Concrete laid out so well, Germany, actually Bavaria, is great for having a ton of holidays that can bulk up the average person’s vacation by up to 13 days a year. Heaven, right? But given the fact that stores are closed on Sundays, when a holiday falls on a weekend, well, chaos can ensue.

The last place you want to be – if you can avoid it – is in a grocery store, within an hour of closing on an evening before a holiday, or worse a series of days, that will interrupt normal shopping patterns.

It probably has something to do with the tiny fridges that most people make do with here. And the fact that those tiny fridges have even tinier freezers. And of course the fact that Germans are, as a rule, frugal people who are less like to say (as I would), “Screw it, we can order in or eat out for the weekend”. Also, factor in that most people work late enough during the week that they don’t make it before the 8 pm closing time and … then take Saturday grocery shopping out of the mix: Bam, you have a crisis.

Germans would rather not spring for take out. Just say no to Chineese Foooooood.

We rushed to the store and found, with a good 45 minutes left to spare, that sections were already picked bare or clogged with lines of folks trying to get those sausages and that last loaf of bread. We moved quickly through and grabbed the essentials and got in line with a good 20 minute cushion.

Is that the check out counter up ahead?

Still, the lines were already stretched to the back of the store. Now for those that don’t know, Germans and lines don’t mix well. They just don’t do them.  Now imagine stressed out Germans forced into line formation. And then imagine those lines don’t move. At all.

These are not happy people.

It was evil tension out there. It needed to be broken. Oliver and I found inspiration where we were queued up: in the wine section.

Now this made the wait much more tolerable.

We got a few cheers, some nods of respect and more than few looks of vicious envy from those who didn’t have the guts to step away from their cart to get their own. It made the wait in the line much more enjoyable. I highly recommend it in any country with a tolerant open container law.

In this case: Germany – Win; USA – FAIL.


5 responses to “May Day Madness

  1. Ha!

    I went to the Real in Weimar that Friday morning around 10, and it was already jam packed!

    • That was definitely good planning that went unrewarded Adam. No fair. But amazing how they stock up for the apocalypse isn’t it?

      I’m surprised we haven’t had old ladies trampled at the cash register…yet.

  2. At least your husband warned you…I woke up Saturday morning oblivious to the holiday and had my father-in-law coming over for lunch. Kind of felt like I was doing a quickfire challenge on Top Chef. How to make lunch and dinner with only a bakery and gas station at your disposal.

  3. @LB – LOL! So true. I was faced with the same situation, and my future in-laws won’t eat anything they deem “foreign.”

    @Megan – Might as well make it fun. You two are the bomb.

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