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Was it 6 or 7?


Time for a quick story here. Went out to our favorite cocktail bar for drinks tonight. It was a very fast night, only 2 hours, and at the end we asked (of course) for the rechnung (bill).

The waiter then asked, in German, how many drinks did we have… and for the two of us, for some reason I thought I had 4 cocktails and Janet had 3 (before you cry alcoholic, these drinks are very light on the alcohol – but expertly made) – so I said 7. Ok, I was wrong – it was 3 each, but I didn’t realize that until we were walking home. Oh well, only a few Euros, and we love the place anyway, so no harm done.

Then came the cost. Between the noise of the bar, and his pronunciation, all I could hear was “zwei und …something… fünf… something”. Not sure exactly what he said, I gave him a 50€ bill, knowing that would cover it, figuring that 7 drinks at 6€ a piece would be 42€ – so it should be something close to that.

Now, in Germany, usually you would hand over the money, and say how much the waiter should take. If I had heard 42,50€, which was the amount he said, I would have said 46€ (normal tip would be 3€, great tip would have been 4€ – so a 3,50€ tip is right on considering it is one of our regular places). Instead, I gave him the money and figured I would get the change, check how much I got back and quickly calculate the tip. I got 7,50€ back but before I could tip him, he was wishing us a good weekend and heading off. I had to call him back give him a 5€ bill and say “Drei Euros, bitte” (take 3 Euros please), and then in a moment of good will, as he thanked me and turned to walk away, I gave him a fourth euro because the bar was slow so I thought I would make up for the lack of tips he would be receiving.

I don’t know – it just felt off. I screwed up the drink count, messed up the payment, and had to call him back twice to give him the tip that I wanted to. If I just heard the “zwei und vierzig fünfzig” (42,50) I would have just said “sechs und vierzig” (46€) and walked away feeling fine. Instead, I just feel – well – disappointed that I made so many mistakes in such a short time period.

Even when you feel like everything is coming together language wise and culture wise, sometimes you just feel like a stranger in a strange land.

Then again, at least we didn’t underpay or undertip.

Posted in Munich Life.

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