Vorsichtig Mit Jener Axt, Eugen

Ever since the change from D-Mark to Euro in 2002 I still hear from many Germans the following phrase: Was? x Euro? So eine Frechheit! Das ist 2x Mark! Das kann nicht angehen!

For me the DM to Euro transition was pretty easy because I was new to the DM and didn’t get to use it long enough to get very comfortable with it and because the Euro was more inline with the Dollar. So when I hear people making DM comparisons and do the quick conversion, I wonder if it would give them more peace of mind if they would stop doing that. Start finally living with the Euro and train your brain not to automatically convert to DM. Live in the here and now. You’re not spending DMs, your spending Euros. But that is probably easier said than done. Especially when the DM is your only point of reference. I still find myself doing quick Euro-Dollar conversions in my head, so what the hell am I talking for?

The plus side to this is a sneaky trick to make the Germans think you are one of them. They like to do this thing which, to the uninitiated outsider, might be described as complaining, and they like to do it a lot. It is actually a way of discussing and analyzing a problem to a pulpy mess. Vertiefen you might call it. Often these discussions involve prices of various goods and services. This is an important topic for everybody, even the rich, because Germans tend to be more modest than Americans and not show off. There are exceptions of course, but this seems to be a common observation. Anyway, when the conversation starts going in that direction and some says, “Alter Schwede, I had to pay 50? just for blah blah blah.” Okay. This is your cue to say, “50?!? So ein Scheiß! That’s 100 Mark! Das kann nicht angehen!!”

Boom! You’re in like Flynn.

They will now think that you understand and agree with the basic principle of their argument and that you are one of them united in the struggle against whatever it is you are struggling against. Herzlichen Glückwunsch Mensch! Laß uns Brüderschaft trinken!