5 things an Expat in Germany or Austria understands

Sometimes when moving abroad, frustration kicks in. This is my personal way of draining.

1) Toilette paper or sand paper!?

I truly don’t get it, are they trying to save the rain forest by selling the worst toilette paper imaginable? Are the toilette paper companies not caring about our “derriers”? Why do they sell purple toilette paper in Ikea? Even the “Premium” brands are worse than the normal quality back home. That is saying a lot I am from Latin America, and normally we don’t have as much variety either.

2) Only Cash? Really?

The only available form of payment in most places is Cash. Why????? You have to carry bill and coins everywhere, or if you forget to bring any you have to look for ATMS and banks everywhere. Even in restaurants or stores, credit cards or debit cards are not accepted. This is so annoying, the other side of the world is talking about APP and phone payments, and here we are carrying cash everywhere.

3) Sunday no store day

Life work balance is important and everything, but why do all stores have to close on Sundays. On Saturdays they are already closing at 6:00 pm, so you barely have time to go shopping or getting errands done during the weekend. Not even pharmacies are open, what happens if you get sick, or you need some medicine? I have not found that out yet, but I guess getting sick has to be planned.

4) Unfriendly Service

Most of the time when going to a restaurant, cafe or bar I am soooo afraid to ask something or complaint to the waiter or waitress. They have this are you kidding look, or they will mumble something to themselves in German. Don’t even talk about exchanging things in stores, it’s like you are the worst person for not choosing correctly the first time. I miss smiles, and friendly questions about the weather. Miss welcome greetings when you walk through the door or the inviting what can I do for you today?

5) Furniture Stores – 40 days and 40 night waiting periods. 

Except Ikea, which has really good service, furniture store timings are extremely long. Waiting for a couch for two months, or a bed for 5 weeks it’s just crazy. Come on, we are moving from another country and you don’t have a faster availability. Not even if paying extra? Apparently they manufacture orders, as they are placed, so most items are not available to take home immediately. My house is 95% Ikea, 5% local stores (still regretting buying at Leiner, no couch until December)

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3 thoughts on “5 things an Expat in Germany or Austria understands

  1. Yeah, it takes time to adjust to a new place (and some things you never get used to). I also don’t appreciate stores closing early on weekdays – how is a working person supposed to buy clothes? But the Sunday closures I really like. One day of peace and quiet in the week is fine with me. There are “duty pharmacies”, that is, some are open or available upon phone call 24/7. Like in Vienna:
    http://www.wien-vienna.at/index.php?ID=1583

    • Thanks michael for the information! It is great to know the options just in case of an emergency. Anyway, I guess most of these things are the normal frustrations from moving. Thanks¡

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