Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Calden Story

It's a brief news item out of the German news magazine "Focus", which will get some political interest and maybe get into some German chat forum.

Out of my German state of Hessen.....up in the north of the state, there's Calden.  There's a airport property there next to the town.....which isn't really used much.  The state has put up a refugee camp on the open property which handles two or three thousand folks.

About ten minutes walking from this refugee camp is a Edeka shop.  It's a smaller grocery operation which tends to draw folks because of their meat and vegetable/fruit selection.

Well....the refugees started showing up there after they got the 'camp' going and were being issued pocket money.  Then some problems started to occur.

What 'Focus' says is that the refugees showed up in larger numbers.....I'm guessing thirty or forty at a whack.  Edeka shops are typically not big shops....maybe 150 feet by 150 feet.  With the regular customers, lines got a lot longer (like you'd expect).  Then people brought their kids along and they weren't the orderly type that you'd typically expect out of German kids.  Some packaging or boxes got open during this period.....which maybe you can tie into the refugee crowd (typically, Germans don't open boxes).  Finally, crime increased (shoplifting).

Focus doesn't cite numbers and Edeka won't say how much but it was enough to warrant a change.  So, a security guard was hired for the store and stands at the entry. He's there to ensure a new policy......only two refugees at a time to enter the store and do business.  As each leaves.....another will be allowed to enter.  You can do the math....if they open at 7AM and two folks enter for 30 minutes of shopping....there will be a line out front for most of the day with fifty people lined up and spending three to four hours waiting until they get inside.  Frustrations will arise real quick when regular Germans enter.  I'm guessing after four weeks of this....they may have to shut down the store because of complaints.

Naturally, questions came from the news media, and Edeka didn't really want to say much.  But there was this brief comment.....where they noted they were absolutely in favor of helping refugees and think it's a morale duty....but those who come must obey the law because it's their morale duty.

I've been through's a small town of maybe seven thousand people.  Most people thought the renovated airport would bring more business into didn't.  They probably wonder now about the usage of the airport grounds for a refugee center as being smart.  They might also question how long this situation will last.

As for the security guard concept....if you look around various areas of Frankfurt and Berlin....there are a handful of store operations which have a security guy near the front door.  The electronic shops like Saturn and Media-Markt both employ security guys and actively have to chase down shoplifters.  A business owner has to take appropriate measures to ensure customer safety and success of the store.

My guess is that some news media folks will see this as a negative against the refugee crowd and try to twist it into some significant story.  Strangely.....they aren't the ones running a store or watching events unfold.

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