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.
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.
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.
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.
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.