A New Sense of Direction….Posted: June 6, 2012
Yesterday I went shopping with a friend of mine on the economy. I usually do not venture far from post but today I needed to get out and see the German countryside. I was so hungry for some kind of old fashion shopping, like a mall to find clothes that I could buy for the family.
We found this place that my friend had wanted to show me as it always gave her a little taste of home. So, off we went, using our sense of direction to find the place. Thank goodness for known landmarks like Burger King to guide through the tight German roads; yes, a good GPS works wonders too. Who would have thought knowing to turn right at the Burger King would make me feel like I was at home. When I lived in the States I never ate at either McDonald’s or Burger King. Now they bring me a nostalgic view of home.
Part of shopping in Germany is first understanding the signs, which I always mess up and knowing how to calculate the Euro, which I also have not mastered well yet. Signs, thank goodness for pictures. I know how remedial to rely on pictures to help understand the signs. A red sign with a % sign on it means the same here as in the States. Discounts, that is what I was searching to find.
I was feeling a bit daring and decided to split from my friend and shop on my own with her daughter, who actually was driving her crazy. I was beginning to feel like I was at home even though I was having considerable challenges reading signs and labels but rather than get frustrated I embraced the cultural activity I was participating in. Feeling really proud, I wondered into a store that was a combination of food, home goods, etc. like a Wal-Mart. Feeling like I had just stepped into Wal-Mart, my eyes were overwhelmed with the products before me. Up to this point my shopping experience had been limited to very small selections and very little variety. We wandered around aimlessly and before I knew it, I was not lost, just misplaced.
We needed to get back to the rest of the group and we came upon the entrance we had come into when we had gotten to the store but there was one problem, the steel bars that opened for us as if to say, come right in, were now closed shut and not letting us past. It appeared that we were not going to be able to leave the store the way we came in.
Then it happened, a bunch of people proceeded to make the steel gates open! To my delight I figured we could just walk past them and we would be home free.
So, we started to walk, almost through and then I heard the most ear piercing alarm go off, and the bars were closing on us. My girl friend’s daughter was horrified and I was looking pretty ridiculous myself. We turned back and just stared at the bar, how were we going to get out?
Thinking it may not have been us, we tried again and the same thing happened. This is when learning the language of the country you living in is a good thing to do. It was then that I thought it be a good idea to ask a women who was near by, how do we get out of the store? Through a series of sign language and broken German, she came to our rescue by pressing a button under her desk top and the doors opened without any alarm. We were free, free at last!
I was glad not to see any police come running towards us as we existed and we decided it was time to stop shopping and go get a sandwich. Ordering a sandwich is another story but all I can say is I felt right at home. I can not remember now how many times I have set off store alarms when something I had bought had not had the sensor tag taken off.
With the day a success, we traveled back home, following the Burger King signs and a new sense of direction for shopping in Germany.