Wednesday, August 5, 2015

There Will Be Payback

This is one of those stories that you just shake your head over.  I read it yesterday in the regional news of Hessen, and it's today in the German national news.  At least a million Germans have come across it and most will grit their teeth and have a fairly negative view.

So, the story goes.....this 20-year old German gal from Marburg had relatives in the US.  They invited her to visit....she accepted....for a four-month long trip.

She got the regular and simple tourist visa, as required for anyone who is visiting from Germany.

She landed in Philly a couple of days ago.  She got to the border folks who looked at the visa, then the passport, then the four month long trip.  They didn't believe the story and put her through the standard twenty-odd questions.....taking away her cellphone and put her through simple interrogation-like situations.

They eventually asked if she was on Facebook and then got her to give some info.....then they browsed.  Nothing was private on the Facebook account.

There was this conversation between her and the cousin in the US....relating to au pair services (nanny work).  This meant it was not a visit-visa but a work-visa.

You can guess the situation very quickly......they took back to the terminal area and forced onto a plane back to Frankfurt.  This was not the trip she envisioned and it's gotten out into German social media and news media.

What went wrong?  Once you put something on Facebook, it's all public and if you hinted of 'work', then it's NOT a tourist event.  Maybe she was naive about this but that's the way that this stupid visa business works.

Comically, she could have flown to Mexico....walked through the border into Texas and worked for days, weeks, months, and years.....undisturbed.  She instead went through a regular airport, where they enforce the rules.

What happens now?  Payback....over the months and years....by various Germans who remember this episode and will make sure Americans who come to Germany.....get paid back in some stupid form.

The customs guy in Frankfurt's airport?  He can make a family of four sit through an hour of bag inspection.  Every gift they brought.....will bring questions.

The bus guy doesn't have to be helpful.  The hotel clerk doesn't have to be nice or polite.  The list goes on and on.

Oh, I agree, the border guy or gal did their job right.  But in this case.....there's payback coming, and it won't be pleasant.

So, my suggestion, if you are a German and coming to the US for four months, and they ask why four months.....you give them the logical reason.

American is full of Americans who are dimwitted and unable to understand German questions.....so you have to repeat questions three or four times, before the American finally understands....so you need to figure a whole month of extra time into a trip.  Because of crime, you need another week or two....as you are always locking doors and windows twice over.  Because of incompetence at American hotels, you need to figure seven more days into the trip as you correct stupidity at the clerks desk.  American cars continually break down.  People routinely get food poison in American restaurants.

When the border guy asks about Facebook....you admit that you aren't familiar with it.  Ensure your settings are put to private viewings and the guy can't browse to hunt you down.

Consequences are a continual thing to worry about.  This gal should have been smarter.  The border guy should have found some of allowing her to change the stupid visa from X to Y.  Now.....innocent and naive Americans end up being the focus point of a German angry over how this young lady was treated.

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