Sunday, July 22, 2012

Germans and Summer Vacation

There are a number of things that an American would tend to notice after a while....when it comes to Germans and the summer vacation period.

First, a lot of Germans take a minimum of two weeks off in the summer....sometimes even three to four weeks.  It's kind of tied into the schedule of schools being off.  If you noticed....each state in Germany has a slightly different period for schools shutting down.  So the parents work up their schedule and take off from work.

It would be a correct assessment to say that when you start to conduct business with a German office....whether public or private....the odds are that the one guy who could answer your question....might not be there in July when you call.  The response will be that you need to wait two weeks until Dieter returns.  For an American, it's an odd response because you'd assume that offices would never allow vacation periods to extend out like this.  But they do.

Second, Germans have two views of the vacation period.  If you have actually go somewhere.  Maybe France, maybe Italy.....maybe off to some island or to Turkey.

If you don't have the money....fine, you end up buying a card for the local pool and you spend every afternoon at your local town pool.  You might do wall-papering while on vacation, but somehow....there's going to be some relaxation involved.

Third, if you tend to watch German start to notice reruns of various shows from five to twenty years ago.  A crime drama from Sweden might suddenly appear on German prime-time TV on Sunday night.  Some lesser known US comedies might suddenly appear for a couple of weeks.  The truth is that the TV networks know that fewer viewers are why waste their effort?

Fourth, politics suddenly stop.  For roughly six just don't see much in terms of politics.  There's bound to be a interview or two with some four-star speaker for a party, while vacationing on the Rhine River.  It'll be a softball question type of situation....nothing difficult.  For all practical purposes....most politics shutdown and the political players all go off to drink and goof-off for their summer period.

Fifth, stores tend to run with three quarters of the normal you don't see that many sales going on.  Vacations are in full why bother with a sale to have a bunch of folks show up....when you can't really handle that?

Sixth and final.....maybe it's my own personal observation and just an odd thing.....but you just don't observe strikes by anyone in July and August.  The train guys always prefer the other ten months of the year for a strike.  The airport guys are the same.  The garbage guys are the same.  Strikes just don't seem to happen in the summer period.  My assumption is.....the guys are happy and sitting at some bar in Ibiza....drinking and discussing future strike plans.

No comments: