All right, that’s two complaints. But it seems people in Germany have few qualms about bumping into – or downright stepping on one another, without so much as an Entschuldigung (excuse me).
You see it in the trains, busses, shopping centers, streets, Christmas markets (where people in white winter coats are carrying two mugs of Glühwein…AHEM) – everywhere. Thomas says the “pushing thing” is just a big city problem, like in any country. But I’ve seen this behavior, albeit on a lesser scale, in smaller German towns we’ve visited as well.
|Sure they look politely packed in here. But that's because they're standing still.|
And of course, (and I have to credit Thomas for this observation), the quantity of excuse me’s in the U.S. seems to correlate with the climate. In Arizona, where it’s nice and warm, people tend to be more friendly, and even overly-polite at times. But in Wisconsin during the cold-as-crap winter, people’s personal space bubbles (and respect for others’) tend to shrink. When it’s -20° C, each word seems to decrease your body temperature. So apologia is reserved for more sever social transgressions, like perhaps coming within 1.5 feet of stepping on someone’s toes in the heat pack aisle of Farm and Fleet. Perhaps this upward temperature/politeness trend will occur in Munich as well (I’ve only been here since November 2010). We'll see...
Maybe we just have bigger “personal space bubbles” in the U.S., and we get wigged out at the thought of violating someone else’s. But even still, I have to say that’s one thing I miss in the U.S. At least my local dry-cleaner gets a little extra business.