Monday, February 8, 2010

Darn Those Germans!

So this was just too funny not to share. I recently sent a care-package to my sister in Germany. She's currently an aupair for an eight year-old german boy, and I figured she could use some good old 'merican treats, so my girlfriend and I packed a little box full of chocolate and socks, and sent it off on the 7th of December. I kept it a secret from her at first, but after three weeks without a word of thanks, I asked if she'd received any packages lately, to which she replied in the negative. Two months later, this showed up at my house:

As you can clearly see, there was insufficient address information, or "Adresse insuffisante."
Now I'm not claiming total innocence here; I did place the house number on the wrong side of the street name. It should have read as such:
But for fuck's sake German Postal Service, couldn't you have just figured out what I meant? It's not like I addressed it to a different town, or the wrong street -- no, I just made a minor syntax error. What thoughts went through the postal worker's mind, as he or she decided to return my package?
Were they condemnatory: "Stupid American! I'll show him not to place the house number on the wrong side of the street name! BACK TO AMERICA!"
Or maybe they were reluctant: "Oh bummer -- I know exactly what address he meant to write on there. It's really too bad I can't deliver this package; it came all the way from Washington State. Oh well, rules are rules -- BACK TO AMERICA!"
Or possibly just oblivious: "No such address. BACK TO AMERICA!"

My theory was that this failure to correct this mistake was indicative of the difference between German and American culture. I tested my theory, with a little investigative journalism. Here's a card addressed to myself, with the house number placed on the wrong side of the street name:

As you can see, my mailman made the (infinitesimally small) mental leap, connecting what I meant with what I wrote, and delivered my mail -- not only that, he added a fucking smiley face! Talk about service!!! I'm sure I'd love traveling through Germany, but thank god I live in America.


sixtothe20 said...

Yay for experiments that confirm our hypotheses! And for a mail carrier with a sense of humor.

Martin Criminale said...

Nice application of the scientific method. :) If Germans are overly orderly, what are Americans?

Mandel said...

I'm impressed you went to that length to prove something, our blog is way lazier with our hypotheses.