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Monday, November 21

The Mömax Guy

Spoiler alert- we have a couch.

Here’s how it started. When we were on the market for a couch (and a TV, guest bedroom furniture and many other things) we mostly looked at three furniture stores. Massive, retail Lazy Boy type of shops. Germans love paying top dollar euro for high end furniture and there are plenty of shops that cater to that market. We are not that market. We are Ikea folk. The last home we had, we bought nice furniture for our living, dining and master bedrooms. Guest bedrooms? They had Ikea furniture. And although it isn’t bad or won’t fall apart when someone’s sleeping, it isn’t the highest quality of furniture. Knowing that this Germany stint is temporary, for now, we had the same goals as the last time. Get decent furniture for decent price.

The three shops we looked at were Ikea, Mömax and XXX Lutz. (Everytime I read XXX Lutz or see a sign for it, it makes me think it’s a porn shop.) And to make things even more comical, Mömax is owned by XXX Lutz or vise versa. XXX is the higher end of the two.

We saw a couch we liked at Mömax and asked one of the retail guys for more information about material (leather or pleather), cost, delivery and etc. After getting the answers from him, we told him we’d wait a day or two to think things over. As we were leaving, another guy approached us. He said, “I saw that you were thinking about buying that couch.” Do you have any more questions about it? We answered, “No, we just need time to think about it.” He then said, “If you buy it now, I will give you the couch and the matching ottoman for a discount.” Our eyes and ears perked up so we asked about the percentage of discount. As he was walking to his desk to look at the numbers, we followed him. He sat down so we sat down. Then he gave us the discount rate which we were happy with but we wanted to know if we could come back couple days later to make the purchase. He, of course, sternly said, “NO! It’s a onetime offer and he wouldn’t offer it again later.” So then the husband asked about cancellation, “Could we cancel the order if needed?” (The reason for this question was so we could check the living room dimensions with the couch’s and make sure it fits. Reasonable, right?) He, of course, again said no to that also. But he insisted it would be fine and that we should buy the couch. (Imagine an American car salesman trying to meet his numbers and get the commission). After few minutes of discussing (in our language), we decided to decline the offer. And that’s when the man got really angry, really fast. He threw his hands up and said in English “I don’t understand you. You want this couch and I put in all the information in the computer and now you don’t want it.” We tried to explain to him, calmly, we needed time to think about it. And he repeated 3-4 times, very heatedly, “I don’t understand you!” Then he got up, pointed to the door and told us he wasn’t helping us. As he is walking away from the desk, he nodded his head and continued to repeat “I don’t understand this!”

We left, shocked and confused. We couldn’t understand why he was so angry but we conclude that because he looked up the discount rate and delivery information he may have expected us to buy the couch. And of course the language barrier had something to do with it but we can’t confirm anything.

Regardless, we didn’t get that couch. We went to XXX and bought one that we’re thoroughly happy with.

We’ve been back to the store to look for other things since then and anytime we see him, we say “there’s the Mömax guy.”

Thursday, November 17

Let's eat Potatoes and Meat

Last night's dinner was Shrimp Curry that’s really Shrimp Masala. We had an attempt at shrimp curry few weeks ago and that wasn’t successful, actually let’s just call it a failure. So I had to try it again and this time around, it was a huge hit.

But this post isn’t about my cooking. It’s about the German food/cooking.

What we notice regularly is the obsession with potatoes. We know Germans enjoy pork and sauerkraut but they also relish their potatoes. There are potato salads, potato dumplings (Knödel), pancakes and fries. Oh the Germans love fries. When we go to a German restaurant often we see neighboring tables eating French Fries with their meals. Grown adults ordering French Fries. Hopefully after this I won’t be on the French Fry Federation’s hit list because I love French Fries too, not with bratwursts and sauerbraten.

And then the love of potatoes goes beyond that. We’ve had meals come with Knödel and roasted potatoes. So it’s a main meal with a side of potatoes and another side of potatoes.

This isn’t reflective of the German eating habits, it’s mostly how our food consumption has evolved after moving here. Prior to the move we consumed meat 4 times a week, sometimes more and sometimes less. Here we’re finding ourselves eating meat twice a week or less. Although Germans love their pork and eat it very regularly; we, on the other hand, now have a bigger preference for vegetarian meals. The meat we buy is from poultry farmers that have a chicken(Hähnchen), turkey(Pute or Putenfleisch), goose(Gans) and duck(Ente) farm. And our butcher (Metzgerei) has fresh pork, beef and some lamb products. The meat is more expensive here than in the US. I believe the higher costs are reflective of the land that the animals graze on and their feed. (And of course the dollar to euro conversion also makes a difference.) So we’ve accepted our meat comes from a good place and consume less of it.