Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Holiday Spirit

Mountains. Snow. Christmas Markets. What else could you want?

Oh. Maybe the holiday spirit?

That's the one thing that was missing at the Innsbruck Christmas Market. Happy people.

At one store, I was buying a few Christmas ornaments with a friend so I asked for an extra bag. Nicely. In German. The salesclerk then threw the ornaments on the counter, got another bag, and threw them all in the other bag. Excuse me for giving her business.

At another stand, I picked up a wrapped loaf of bread to figure out what it was. It looked tasty and was covered in chocolate and I was considering buying it until all of a sudden I received a scathing lecture from the seller for touching it. I apologized, but this woman kept yelling. One of my friends, who speaks fluent German, stepped in and told this women we were sorry, we just thought her breads looked good and we wanted to see what they were. She kept yelling, "you should know better than to pick things up!" My friend told her that then she should have a "do not touch sign." "No!" said this woman, "It is common sense not to touch things!"

She was still yelling but I wasn't going to take it any more. I wished her a "Frohe Weihnachten" and then I walked off.

Later, we passed her booth and here's what we saw:

Happy Holidays from Austria.


Susan said...

Have you been to the Bremgarten Christmas Market? I'm guessing you have, but in case you haven't - next year you must go.

I've been 3 years in a row now, and they are the nicest bunch of people. Seriously! They have a lovely selection of vendors, and many of the items are hand-made. The Gluehwein cups are darling, too. Next year I'll have set of 4!

We sat in a warm, cozy tent and had Raclette with a friend who moved to Switzerland this summer. She confided in our server that it was her first tasting of the yummy stuff. And our server brought us an extra helping, just to be nice!

I found that remarkable :-)

Chantal said...

Bremgarten is a surprisingly beautiful and large town. I've been to several markets in Bremgarten and enjoyed them, although the Easter market seemed to have more confederate flags and vacuums than actual Easter stuff. But an extra free serving, wow, something free in Switzerland, I think you hit the jackpot!

Allison L said...

It must be a European to not want things touch while shopping. My husband is always commenting and making jokes about how I always touching things when I'm checking things out.

Why would I want to buy something if I can't look and touch it.

Anonymous said...

I have a big smile on my face after seeing the picture with the improvised don't touch sign (holy smokes in a jiffy!) You have to admit, they sure can be efficient! Funny how customer service can be so different culturally! I have found myself surprised both by situations like you describe (many of those!), and the other extreme - where I've been given an expensive product to take home and try out - with nothing other than my phone number for collateral.

Anonymous said...

It's a shocker when you get that kind of treatment. It happened to me several times when I lived in the German speaking realm, and I never got accustomed to it.
A tip: Speak only English and act rich and snooty. That is the way to get good service.

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