Life's journeys: Language, culture, communication

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Deutschland – Servicewüste?

Another glorious day for German sales services and German sales people.

So I’ve been sick for a week and I’m entering the pharmacy to get some vitamin gummy bears and maybe a nose spray.

The only shop assistant present is busy going through the entire cosmetics product range with a middle-aged woman.

Besides me, there is another lady with a 7-year-old kid, looking undecided. I start to sweat under my shawl waiting. Eventually, a second shop assistant (male) appears. I let the lady with the kid go first, even though I was already clutching my gummy bears and I was sweating through every pore.
And then I wait.

She had ordered a sucking cup for a baby bottle the other day and is here to pick it up. The guy brings her 4. She realizes she doesn’t know which cup will match the plastic ring for the bottles she has at home, if at all (ever occur to you to bring one along for size???). So then the shop assistant launches a thorough database search and comes up with 225 different types of plastic rings he could procure (yes, no kidding, actual number). He gets briefly interrupted by a dog, his pet, escaped from the back office (again, true!)

In the meantime, four more people, all of them old, have entered the pharmacy and are waiting in line looking tense. The first shop assistant is still describing facial treatments. She completely avoids eye contact. Nobody seems to notice the 5 drained customers standing like 5 white elephants in the middle of a very cramped store. The woman with the feeding bottles is still undecided, the shop assistant moves in fastidious slow motion, letting her spill all her irrelevant beans, catering to her drawling indecision. Now he’s giving his opinion on which supplier is more trustworthy and willing to accommodate different combinations.

Too much for me. After almost 10 minutes, I hang the gummy bears back on the peg they came from and rush out dropping a frustrated “this isn’t worth my while!”. My transaction would have taken exactly 50 seconds of their time…

And I wonder. Do they realize they are in the business of serving sick and old people? And what are these autistic customers thinking? Do they lack social interaction so much that when they finally grab hold of a shop assistant they can’t let go???

Or perhaps it is the other way around. Perhaps these sales people are trained in indifference, to boost a positive feeling of gratitude in customers when they do reach the blessed counter. To have them burst in teary sobs of joy and to exercise blissful humility.

After all, it’s like confession there.

By the time it’s your turn you will have had enough time to meditate. You remember what you had for lunch 30 years ago on a Thursday and what was the last big lie you told your mom in high school.

Pharmacy. By the time you reach the counter, you’re cured!

At any rate, the system is sicker than you. Reckon they’ll manage to sell themselves a cure? 😉

P.S.: Did I mention this is the pharmacy I always go to because it’s close to my home? I mean, it’s not like I am the freak occasional customer off the street looking to do 50-cents’ worth of business. My cupboard is full of medicines – all from this one pharmacy…


One response to “Deutschland – Servicewüste?”

  1. 🙂 e doar felul de a fi al nemtilor… si eu traiesc de mai multi ani aici dar m-am obisnuit intre timp. ca bucurestean, iti dai seama ce greu mi-a fost


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