Hessentag 2011 and the lack of information for business owners

The Hessentag trailer parked outside the RathausWith the Hessentag fast approaching, I don’t think that it is unreasonable to ask how local businesses are meant to cope with the town being closed off for over a whole week, especially those who rely of being able to get to their customers.

For the past year, most events in the town have had an stand selling T-shirts for the event giving out “information” about what to expect.  It’s that information that I find very lacking.  When I asked how I was meant to get to my customers at an event back in May, I was told that they didn’t have a concept for local businesses yet.

A bit late, you might think, seeing as they must have had a concept to bid for the event in the first place.

Then a few weeks ago my business received an invitation to an event taking place where people were to be honoured for their services to the town, and the “first information about the Hessentag” would be given.

That information turned out to be nothing more than

(a) the town has planned the event with a deficit of €3 million
(b) there is an information evening on a couple of weeks
(c) many questions will not be answered until a few weeks or even days before the event itself

A particularly interesting example of (c) was how residents are going to get in and out of their properties.  I’m sure many in the town centre are delighted to know that this is going to be a list minute thing!

Anyway, feeling rather misled in that I now had to sit through 2 hours of speeches and come back another evening, I was excited to see that there was an official “Hessentag Info-Centre” in the town hall as part of the Christmas market.

Of course, I made sure to go there and ask my own personal question about getting to my customers.  “There is an information evening on 8th December at 19.30” was the reply.

I pointed out that I was aware of that evening, but thought since there was a dedicated office I could ask there instead of sitting through a possibly uninteresting evening of other information.  “No, you’ll have to go to the information evening” they told me.

I wondered what information they had for local businesses at all?  “We don’t have any, it will all be announced at the information evening” was the answer.

I told them that I didn’t see the point of an Info-Centre, if that was all the information that they had.  In fact, they might as well just have hung up a sign on the door with the appointment on it, rather than getting (paying even?) two people to sit there and just send people away again.

The mayor of Oberursel has said that he wants to get everyone on-side and involved in the event.  I don’t think this is the right way to go about it.  In fact, I’d probably close the business down for a week and go on holiday, except that even that’s not possible, as for some reason the whole thing takes place during term time!

Don’t even think about asking how children are meant to get to school…


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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