PDA

View Full Version : Europeans please help!



Bonecrusher Doc
2009-05-27, 01:02 PM
A request to anyone who has ever lived in Europe, especially Germany -

My family and I just moved to Germany. The movers will be coming tomorrow with all of our stuff. I have been told by various conflicting sources that it is traditional to offer them:
snacks?
sandwiches?
a full lunch?
non-alcoholic drinks?
beer?

Which of these is/are correct?! I would like to be appropriately hospitable but not look foolish tomorrow. What do you suggest I do?

Serpentine
2009-05-27, 01:10 PM
Have all of the above available! :biggrin:

<.<

not european v.v

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-27, 01:23 PM
A request to anyone who has ever lived in Europe, especially Germany -

My family and I just moved to Germany. The movers will be coming tomorrow with all of our stuff. I have been told by various conflicting sources that it is traditional to offer them:
snacks?
sandwiches?
a full lunch?
non-alcoholic drinks?
beer?

Which of these is/are correct?! I would like to be appropriately hospitable but not look foolish tomorrow. What do you suggest I do?

I live in Britain rather than Germany, so I'll give what help I can but believe me when I say that cultural differences can be staggering.

In Britain, it would be traditional to offer tea or coffee throughout the day, and perhaps biscuits, small cakes and possibly sandwiches.

Don't give alcohol to people you've hired to do work. Think about it...


I would still suggest you get another opinion from a German-born individual. There is a lot of cultural variation between European states.

ufo
2009-05-27, 01:31 PM
Here in Denmark we usually give them a bottle of beer (or two :smallbiggrin:).

GrlumpTheElder
2009-05-27, 01:38 PM
It's Tea in England, so maybe Coffee in Germany?

Worth a try.

Ichneumon
2009-05-27, 01:41 PM
I'm Dutch and it is custom here to offer them them maybe non-alcoholic drinks like coffee or tea and maybe an ashtray if they want to smoke.

Mauve Shirt
2009-05-27, 01:57 PM
Ooo, where in Germany?

Bonecrusher Doc
2009-05-27, 03:31 PM
Wow, I guess it just shows cultural differences - I couldn't imagine sipping hot tea or coffee after lugging a sofa up three flights of stairs.

I went to the grocery store and kinda went for the "all of the above" option, but got stuff that my family will still enjoy in case the movers don't eat/drink it. In addition to juice and powerade, I did get some bottles of beer and lemon-beer, but nothing with a real high alcohol volume. I would think that a big moving man can drink one beer without it affecting his work. On the other hand the legal limit for blood alcohol content is 0.05, so I should probably ask who's driving. (.05 is very low, compared to .08 in most of the United States; .10 in some states. And according to my drivers' course, if you get in a fender bender in Germany after drinking you can be charged with driving under the influence even if your BAC is LOWER than .05!)

Even though I've done the shopping, I'm still looking for advice so that I have a good idea of what is expected!

@Mauve Shirt - I'm afraid I'll have to pass on your question. The counterterrorism/counterintelligence guys would already freak out at the amount of personal info I've put online.

Dr. Bath
2009-05-27, 03:34 PM
Well, here it's tea and biscuits (maybe cakes). Just offer a drink and some kind of sweet snack, that's polite enough.

RTGoodman
2009-05-27, 03:43 PM
Well, if my German classes and textbooks from college are any indication, it's ALWAYS beer time in Deutschland. Students meeting their professors in der Biergarten, bosses taking potential new employees out for lunch and having Wienerschnitzel und Bier, and all that.

(Of course, that might not actually reflect actual German life, but it's what I've learned. :smallwink:)

ThunderCat
2009-05-27, 03:48 PM
I second ufo about the beer in Denmark, but we're among the nations who consume most alcohol per person (though the Fins recently beat us as the most alcoholic Nordic country, by half a litre (pure alcohol) a year :smallannoyed:), I'm pretty sure the German tradition will be different. It also depends on how long it takes. We usually offer beer and soft drinks, and then coffee and cake if they stay long enough to have a break in which to eat it, and lunch if we're having it anyway. And about not wanting hot tea of coffee after hard work, maybe it's the difference in temperature?

InaVegt
2009-05-27, 03:49 PM
Well, if my German classes and textbooks from college are any indication, it's ALWAYS beer time in Deutschland. Students meeting their professors in der Biergarten, bosses taking potential new employees out for lunch and having Wienerschnitzel und Bier, and all that.

(Of course, that might not actually reflect actual German life, but it's what I've learned. :smallwink:)

That's student life, I've never heard of any western country where the students weren't in love with alcohol.

Beer at dinner/lunch might be a german thing, though.

As an eastern neighbour of Germany, I'd suggest keeping a few beers cold and making coffee, and just ask them what they want.

You can never go wrong with a choice between beer and coffee. (Make sure the coffee is strong, not the weak stuff that Americans apparently like [even the strongest coffee from the American coffee machines is undrinkably weak.])

GrlumpTheElder
2009-05-27, 03:51 PM
Well, you can't go wrong with Pie and Pint.

ThunderCat
2009-05-27, 03:58 PM
You can never go wrong with a choice between beer and coffee. (Make sure the coffee is strong, not the weak stuff that Americans apparently like [even the strongest coffee from the American coffee machines is undrinkably weak.])I never thought about that, but now that you mention it, every coffee drinker in my family who visits our relatives in the US, always talks about how thin they make their coffee. My mother's aunt even bring her own instant coffee to strengthen it with. But I was never sure if that was just my our US relatives, or if it was more commonly American. Another interesting titbit I encountered while trying to find the English word for instant coffee, is this (from wikipedia): "The drink "Americano" is popularly thought to have been named after American soldiers in WW II who found the European way of drinking espresso too strong; baristas would cut the espresso with hot water for them." So apparently it's pretty common for other countries to brew coffee stronger than in the US :smallamused:

Tiffanie Lirle
2009-05-27, 04:00 PM
Anywho, as I have lived in Germany for most of my life, I'll just throw in what I can. Since summers starting up, or so it seems at least with the heat we're getting lately, you'll want to find something cold but not too thick/sticky. So soda's/colas are a nono. Homemade Lemonade is always a good choice, beer is more or less something you'd all have together once the job is finished. And coffee isn't that great of a choice for movers unless they're taking a lunch break. Would be far too warm of a drink if you've just spent the last 2 hours moving furniture around. Plus it really doesn't do much for thirst.

Offering sandwiches should be fine if they're those tiny finger sandwiches. But don't go overboard on the snacks, most of the time a drink is plenty.

Canadian
2009-05-27, 04:03 PM
In Canada it's traditional to watch them very closely to make sure they don't break or steal any of your stuff. Being a mover in Canada is pretty much regarded as a "casual" labor job and the people who work in the business are pretty transient.

Tipping movers is not generally done in Canada. If it's hot out I offer a cold non alcoholic drink. If you get them hammered and they crash the truck you're partly to blame.

They'd also like Tim Horton's coffee and timbits.

If there's a chance I can get the guys to under bill me I'll offer them a bribe.

Mauve Shirt
2009-05-27, 04:04 PM
In Canada it's traditional to watch them very closely to make sure they don't break or steal any of your stuff.

Seconded. When we moved back to the US from Germany they put a mattress right through our stained glass window.

Canadian
2009-05-27, 04:51 PM
Seconded. When we moved back to the US from Germany they put a mattress right through our stained glass window.

Yeah... That's movers for you. I bet it wasn't even your mattress.

Doh... Wrong house!

xPANCAKEx
2009-05-27, 05:52 PM
in the uk, offers of tea is mandatory.

If they're taking a while to move everything in then offer some light refreshments (sandwiches)

and a tip is always welcomed regardless of the work (we tipped two guys 20 each after they moved my grandma into her new digs - but they did an exceptionally quick and professional job)

Bouregard
2009-05-27, 06:11 PM
A request to anyone who has ever lived in Europe, especially Germany -

My family and I just moved to Germany. The movers will be coming tomorrow with all of our stuff. I have been told by various conflicting sources that it is traditional to offer them:
snacks?
sandwiches?
a full lunch?
non-alcoholic drinks?
beer?

Which of these is/are correct?! I would like to be appropriately hospitable but not look foolish tomorrow. What do you suggest I do?


Coffee lots of it. Trust me never goes wrong. We germans love our coffee.
And if the weather stays hot as it is soda helps too.

Sandwiches are a good idea but in my last 5 movings we never really done something except some sandwiches and coffee (I repeat much of it).

Beer is a problematic thing. non-alcoholic, while available is something that you better not show off in germany... stick to alcoholic variant. I would use it as a award for good working at the end.

Depending on what guys you hired there they could end up drunken or at least not that carefull if you give it at the start.



Oh and on a small sidenote:
Why on earth do you want to move TO germany? I mean there are like 1000 more interesting places in the world...I think actually about moving away from germany... Want it somewhere more silent. Norway sounds good.

ThunderCat
2009-05-27, 08:19 PM
I just thought of another thing, though it's not related to snacks: Think a little about what you mean when you use the word 'European'.

You're about to move to Germany, but you asked for 'Europeans'. In many cases, that wont give you a useful answer, because European countries are quite different, and a country can easily have more in common with the US than with many European countries. Furthermore, it can be seem as somewhat offensive, or just annoying. Of course, it varies, but Europeans generally don't identify as Europeans the way Americans identify as Americans :smallsmile:

Lupy
2009-05-27, 08:51 PM
I just thought of another thing, though it's not related to snacks: Think a little about what you mean when you use the word 'European'.

You're about to move to Germany, but you asked for 'Europeans'. In many cases, that wont give you a useful answer, because European countries are quite different, and a country can easily have more in common with the US than with many European countries. Furthermore, it can be seem as somewhat offensive, or just annoying. Of course, it varies, but Europeans generally don't identify as Europeans the way Americans identify as Americans :smallsmile:

Pfft, you all have the same money and speak foreigneese. :smalltongue:

Not trying to offend anyone, it's all just in good fun.

Pyrian
2009-05-27, 09:18 PM
...but Europeans generally don't identify as Europeans the way Americans identify as Americans :smallsmile:Most Americans don't identify as Americans, but as Canadians, Brazilians, and so forth. Only U.S. citizens identify as Americans. :smallcool:

InaVegt
2009-05-28, 02:40 AM
There's also lots of weird culture things that shouldn't be there, like a West-Germanic nation that borders on Germany, is traditionally considered part of the Deutsch people, yet speaks a mutually incomprehensible language (when spoken, which is what counts) and has a culture that is more resembling north-germanic (Scandinavian minus the Finns), including such things as the five most democratic[1 (http://a330.g.akamai.net/7/330/25828/20081021185552/graphics.eiu.com/PDF/Democracy%20Index%202008.pdf)] countries being the North-Germanic countries + the Netherlands.

I would also estimate most Dutch people being less offended if you'd call them Scandinavian rather than German.

Or how about the Basques, who speak a language of whom we know no relatives.

There is also thing that, as of yet, there has been no century where there wasn't at least one major European war where most political powers of Europe at that time got involved in, this had several effects, most importantly an eternal race to develop weapons better than the other and a feeling of nationalism that's present in most people, though it's often a love-hate relationship.

Bonecrusher Doc
2009-05-28, 03:15 AM
Yeah, I would have said Germans please help, but I thought I wouldn't get enough replies. Also many times here in Germany it seems that workers are from another country in Europe, for example, the guys laying bricks behind our building are Sicilian.

Bouregard
2009-05-28, 05:42 AM
Mhm. Ok if you need help from someone actually living in germany
(since 1987!) ask me either via PM or the forum.

To the silicians: thats fairly normal.

German people are mostly not that happy to do lowpay jobs. But our german "lowpayment" for jobs like garbage collector, harvester or construction worker is actually a fairly good payment for Polish or other eastern or southern europeans.
Ironically we germans are cheap workers for Switzerland. Our engineers, construction workers or waiters are pretty cheap for swiss standarts and can also do high quality work.

European borders are mostly open, and germany is right in the middle of europe so foreign workers are not somtething unusuall.


If you want two advices about Europe:

First: Treat every country as a single unique entity. there are big differences between germany and france for example

Second:Social stereotypes and prejudice should be used carefully. Find out what is true yourself. Some are outright bull****, but some are at least in some areas quite true.

InaVegt
2009-05-28, 06:05 AM
Second:Social stereotypes and prejudice should be used carefully. Find out what is true yourself. Some are outright bull****, but some are at least in some areas quite true.

You mean Germans aren't all violent alcoholics with a lust for war, blutwurst, and tankards of beer? :smalltongue:

Bouregard
2009-05-28, 06:17 AM
You mean Germans aren't all violent alcoholics with a lust for war, blutwurst, and tankards of beer? :smalltongue:

Tankard of beer? Where? *drool*
Depends on the person beer is a pretty traditional drink in germany. Younger people don't drink that much beer anymore but other more problematic things.
But everyone beyond the 20-30years mark loves beer.

Oh and the warthingie.... do you really think that a nation that stops the use of their best tank in afghanistan because of environmental effects, is capable of a new war?^^
And don't let me get startet on the eurofighter fun...
A new war would just kill potentional customers. Or who would buy a VW or BMW if he's dead or at war with us?


Those violent alcoholics? Sorry was never really drunk in my life...I myself usually stick to the drunken enough for fun but not drunken enough to wake up in a police station. The secret? Beer!

And Blutwurst? Tasty. Not something to buy every day. But definitly something nice with a bit of mustard and bread.

InaVegt
2009-05-28, 06:21 AM
I forgot that you're supposedly all fat.

But I don't do stereotypes, I've seen enough that, at best, they're a mockery of the average.

ThunderCat
2009-05-28, 07:47 AM
Most Americans don't identify as Americans, but as Canadians, Brazilians, and so forth. Only U.S. citizens identify as Americans. :smallcool:I know, my original example was going to be calling someone from Chile 'American', but since US citizens tend to call themselves Americans, I was not sure they were going to identify with how offensive it can be for some people.

There's also lots of weird culture things that shouldn't be there, like a West-Germanic nation that borders on Germany, is traditionally considered part of the Deutsch people, yet speaks a mutually incomprehensible language (when spoken, which is what counts) and has a culture that is more resembling north-germanic (Scandinavian minus the Finns).Finland isn't part of Scandinavia in the first place, at least not as the term is used in the Nordic countries (of which Finland is a part). Other countries might not care though.

I would also estimate most Dutch people being less offended if you'd call them Scandinavian rather than German.I wouldn't know about that. In my experience, they're most sensitive about their language, but it varies a lot depending on the individual.

BooNL
2009-05-28, 08:00 AM
I would also estimate most Dutch people being less offended if you'd call them Scandinavian rather than German.



Really?

I live pretty much on the border between Germany and Belgium and besides dutch I regulary speak german and our own strange dialect here (a combination of dutch, german and french). So I'm usually not offended when some stuck up snob from "above the river" calls me a back up german.

Anyway, customs. I don't think germans are all that different from us dutchmen. So: coffee, tea or soda. Ashtrays and after the days done a nice cold brew.

The first thing you should do in germany is befriend some people and the best way to learn the country is to listen to underschooled, underpayed vagrants drinking up your beer!

I think you'll like it in Germany, it's a really cool country.

Canadian
2009-05-28, 08:30 AM
Really?

The first thing you should do in germany is befriend some people and the best way to learn the country is to listen to underschooled, underpayed vagrants drinking up your beer!

I think you'll like it in Germany, it's a really cool country.

I know someone who did that in 1939... :smallwink:

Ichneumon
2009-05-28, 08:56 AM
I would also estimate most Dutch people being less offended if you'd call them Scandinavian rather than German.

Yes, but that is mostly due to the war and all of that.

InaVegt
2009-05-28, 09:30 AM
Yes, but that is mostly due to the war and all of that.

True.

Doesn't change the fact that Dutch culture is more like Scandinavian than German.

This is because of a long history of the Dutch buying cheap wood from Scandinavia and building ships with it.

We also did the whole pillaging thing, just a while later, and in West Africa and the East Indies rather than Europe.

Miklus
2009-05-28, 12:13 PM
You can never go wrong with a choice between beer and coffee. (Make sure the coffee is strong, not the weak stuff that Americans apparently like [even the strongest coffee from the American coffee machines is undrinkably weak.])

I have never been to the US, but my Dad has. He used to say that the stuff they sell as coffee in the US would be sold as tea in Denmark... :smalltongue:

To answer the original question: I would go with some non-aloholic cold drinks. Make some sandwiches if you feel like it. I assume this is professional, payed movers? If friends and family help out, you must give pizzas. Also, you must leave one unopened roll of TP and a pizza menu folder in the location you leave.

Bonecrusher Doc
2009-05-28, 03:06 PM
Well, it turned out the movers were native Germans, though one of them was half-Russian. They didn't ask for anything, but the Powerade disappeared first, then they were happy to eat the lunch of chicken stew, bread, ham, and cheese with apple juice and cookies, then I gave them a six-pack of beer on their way out the door to enjoy at home.

Totally Guy
2009-05-28, 03:16 PM
This is because of a long history of the Dutch buying cheap wood from Scandinavia and building ships with it.

We also did the whole pillaging thing, just a while later, and in West Africa and the East Indies rather than Europe.

You can really see the Dutch influence on South African language and antiques from what I remember from my trip there.

zeratul
2009-05-28, 03:22 PM
That's student life, I've never heard of any western country where the students weren't in love with alcohol.

Beer at dinner/lunch might be a german thing, though.

As an eastern neighbour of Germany, I'd suggest keeping a few beers cold and making coffee, and just ask them what they want.

You can never go wrong with a choice between beer and coffee. (Make sure the coffee is strong, not the weak stuff that Americans apparently like [even the strongest coffee from the American coffee machines is undrinkably weak.])

As someone from the US I have to say, never use coffee machines! They are baaaaad! Get coffee from a coffee shop (and I don;t mean starbucks I mean a real non chain kind) or brew it yourself. Those seem to be the best bets. You can get good coffee here but you do kind of have to do a bit of research to find it if you aren't from here.

Bonecrusher Doc
2009-05-29, 01:01 PM
While I've got your attention, does anyone know where in Germany I can buy dog/bear spray (mace)? From what I understand, pepper sprays labeled as anti-human are illegal, as are animal sprays purchased from the U.S.

InaVegt
2009-05-29, 02:47 PM
As someone from the US I have to say, never use coffee machines! They are baaaaad! Get coffee from a coffee shop (and I don;t mean starbucks I mean a real non chain kind) or brew it yourself. Those seem to be the best bets. You can get good coffee here but you do kind of have to do a bit of research to find it if you aren't from here.

But proper Dutch or German coffee machines do it just fine, maybe a tad on the weak side, but not that black water that pretends to be coffee that comes out of the American ones.

I like my coffee like I like my chocolate, pure, dark, and bitter.

Eldariel
2009-05-30, 02:00 AM
Finland isn't part of Scandinavia in the first place, at least not as the term is used in the Nordic countries (of which Finland is a part). Other countries might not care though.

Finland isn't a part of Scandinavia geographically, but it's still treated as a Scandinavian country. So speaking of Finland as a part of Scandinavia isn't really wrong unless the discussion is strictly geographical and it's all about the mountain range.

Bouregard
2009-05-30, 06:04 AM
While I've got your attention, does anyone know where in Germany I can buy dog/bear spray (mace)? From what I understand, pepper sprays labeled as anti-human are illegal, as are animal sprays purchased from the U.S.

I would say you won't need it. The last bear was shoot a year ago in bavaria... and even he imigrated from austria. (Google for "Bruno")

And dangerous dogs are also pretty strict controlled by law.

If you mean by "anti-dog" something to stop dogs leaving their feces on your lawn I would try a "home-improvement market" (that says the dictionary to "Baumarkt")
Ergo "Praktiker", "Obi" should have such things.
I would look there in the gardensection.

But a direct replacement for pepperspray or something you won't find here. Weapon laws are pretty strict in germany and cover practically anything that isn't a tool or kitchenknive.