And the VAT went up…

For the last year one of the main topics for German consumers has been the planned rise in the VAT (MwSt) level from 16% to 19% from 1st January 2007.

The Government has been accused of damaging the economy, just as it was starting to get going again. In December, a lot of fuss was made to persuade consumers to spend their money fast, before the 19% took hold. Actually, unless you are buying something big, like a car, then it will only make a few cents difference and a lot of basic items such as food and books are not affected any, as they have a lower VAT rate of 7%.

Well January came and now a lot of shops are offering to “pay to VAT” for their customers in January – effectively leaving prices alone but including the 19% instead of 16%. I wonder how long this will last?

I myself have rounded up my hourly rate for IT services, but have rounded down my travel costs to try and keep the figures simple and yet not overcharge my customers.

One of the best pieces of advice I read was in our television magazine, TV14 – if you went to a party on New Year’s Eve you could pay 16% for a meal (starting before midnight), 7% for a taxi afterwards (up to 50km) and 19% the next morning for your hotel room!

Same procedure as last year?

Millions of Germans will tune in to a little-known English-language sketch called “Dinner For One” this New Year’s Eve.

Filmed in 1963 with British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden, it has become a traditional part of the evening and is shown in several versions (colour, original, etc.) on different television stations. As such, it used to have an entry in the Guiness Book of Records for the most frequently repeated TV programme.

The sketch is simple: Miss Sophie is celebrating her 90th Birthday. Unfornately, the companions of her own generation are long since deceased, so it is up to her butler, James, to take on their roles. As the meal progresses, James becomes more and more drunk and outrageous, whilst Miss Sophie calmly orders the next course with the appropriate drinks.

However, even though the sketch is performed in English, almost no-one in England these days has ever heard of it.

Want to see what you’re missing? Watch the clip at the NDR homepage.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas or “Fröhliche Weihnachten” too all my Blog readers!

The weather here is still very mild with no sign of snow yet, not even on the Feldberg (880m).

Feldberg Webcam

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