Fun at McDonald’s

After last night’s late night and an early start this morning resulting in just a coffee before I left home, I decided to grab some breakfast at McDonald’s in Oberstedten.

In the middle of the restaurant there were lots of people standing around in red t-shirts, some talking on their mobile phones, others in general discussion.

Almost all tills were open, most of them are staffed by two people, but the queues were not going any faster than normal. My first thought was: “they’re being trained”. Well, I was almost right.

I joined the queue at what turned out to be till nr. 8 (“Kasse 8”) and ordered bacon and eggs with orange juice (unfortunately we haven’t had the “Big Breakfast” in Germany for several years now).

The question “maxi or normal” took me off guard. “I didn’t know there was a maxi breakfast menu” I replied. There isn’t (unless you want a large coffee) – the management and administration (“Verwaltung”) were serving, and they were being assisted by the regular staff.

“I thought if you are in admin you would know what products are available” I said – well, it seems maybe not.

Anyway, my breakfast was ordered and my orange juice poured. A 0,4l orange juice. “If I’m honest to you, can I still keep the orange juice?” I asked – it should have been 0,3l and I couldn’t resist pointing out the mistake.

I took my orange juice and my plastic nr.2 for my breakfast and went off to the breakfast bar – but couldn’t find any butter or cutlery. “Kasse 8” was already off to my aid. “Are you looking for something?” – butter and cutlery came quickly from somewhere behind the counter near “Kasse 4”.

Armed with my butter, cutlery, salt, pepper, orange juice and, most importantly, my plastic nr.2, I sat myself down in the middle of the restaurant with a good view of the serving and cooking areas, and enjoyed watching people being shown how the numbers on the chutes work, where the breakfast bar goes, etc.

Fairly soon, someone came with a try with the other half of nr.2 on it, but with a croissant and not my breakfast. The nr.2 was returned to the food chutes, and then someone else came laden with food and numbers, and asked me what I was waiting for. “That number over there” was my reply – pointing to the chute. I got a smile back and she went on her way.

Eventually a cheeseburger came down the chute where my nr.2 was waiting. I don’t know quite who spotted it, as there were so many staff standing there, but someone realised that this package could not be my breakfast, so my nr.2 was placed on a different chute (ok, so middle top is for cheeseburgers…)

I drank my orange juice and waited, grinning. I checked my receipt and after I’d been waiting almost 15 minutes and was getting ready to tell everyone that in England you used to get a free hot apple tart if you waiting more than 20 minutes for your food, my breakfast arrived – with compliments from “Kasse 8” and a voucher for a cappuccino at the coffee bar.

I ate my breakfast and carried on watching the fun in front of me. Two people in red t-shirts passed by. “What do we do with the music system?” I heard one ask. I smiled. I think I was spotted at this point, because someone laughed at my smile.

After breakfast I looked at my cappuccino voucher, and saw that it was only valid today. OK, I’d have to stay and use it straight away or it would be no use to me. I went to the coffee bar. Beige t-shirts here. “It’s my first cappuccino” the lady told me prowdly. Someone explained the mixture to her – one third expresso, one third hot milk, one third frothed milk. Then they proceeded to make a four-leaved clover pattern in the froth using the end of a spoon, and washing the spoon off after each leaf. It tasted good!

Reluctantly I then left to go home. I wonder if “Kasse 8” will ever read this blog entry and know how impressed I was. If only I’d had my laptop with me. I could have logged into the hotspot and stayed there all day!

Late-night game shows

Last night (well, sort of this morning), we watched a lone presenter on a late-night phone-in game show.

How it worked was this:

you had to call in and name 6 German cities ending in -BURG.

Easy? Well we got loads together, but when we rang in (for 49c/call) we always got told that we had a line that didn’t go through to the studio. Of 100 lines, only 5 at first and later 10 actually got you further.

On closer inspection, for over half an hour no-one was sucessful and the poor presenter was left trying to think up things to say to encourage more people to call.

This is unusual: normally the questions on such games are really easy to get people to give it a try – all lines are then open and the winner is picked at random. We thought this sounded harder and was worth trying out.

Well, for reference, here are the cities that were already named and so no good to us:

Hamburg, Flensburg, Lüneburg, Saarburg, Madgeburg, Oldenburg.

And here are the ones that we thought of:

Siegburg, Marburg, Coburg, Rottenburg, Altenburg, Neuburg, Meersburg, Homburg (Saar), Offenburg, Freiburg, Ginsheim-Gustavsburg, Ludwigsburg, Weilburg, Westerburg, Weltersburg, Limburg and of course Bad Homburg.

If you want to add to the list, feel free to do so in the forum – but we can’t offer any prize money!

Meanwhile, we are going back to playing the SMS game on “Wer wird Millionär?”…

Shopping for longer in Hessen

Hessen has changed it’s laws on shop opening hours. From 1st December onwards, shops can stay open round the clock from Monday to Saturday, Sundays and Bank Holidays are generally only allowed for six hours – and only then after the main church services.

Well, living in Hessen I’m waiting to see if any of the shops in Oberursel extend their hours. In the town centre the shops shut on Saturday at 1pm at the moment, even though they could stay open a lot longer. So maybe this new law won’t make that much difference and only one or two large supermarkets will stay open any longer.

One large shopping centre, “Main-Taunus-Zentrum”, is trialling longer hours in December, so maybe we will go there and try out the late-night shopping.

We’re used to the 24-hours supermarkets in England and it’s always a highlight of our trips there to go out shoppinig in the middle of the night to stock up on the things we want to bring back to Germany with us.

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