Children are welcome…

… as long as they can be seen.

That was the impression left by a visit to one of our favourite service stations on the way from England yesterday.  The sign on the door says “Kinder sind hier gern gesehen”, meaning “children are welcome”, but actually translated as something like “children are gladly seen”.

Kinder sind hier gern gesehen

"Kinder sind hier gern gesehen"

Anyway, we like this particular stop because they have good value family meals and it is at about the right place to have a break on the 6 hour journey from Calais to Frankfurt.  As usual, we stopped there yesterday and ordered our meal at the warm food counter.  We then let our daughter go to play in the childrens’ area which is located between the food section and the seating.  This was our mistake.

When we came to pay at the cash desk, we were charged the full price for our drinks because the cashier could not see our daughter from her viewpoint.  This all made very little sense, as she was still prepared to charge the food as a family meal, so accepting that we could have the deal on the food but not on the accompanying drinks on the same tray!

Strangely, my offer to go and get our daughter to “prove” to her that she really was with us made her change her mind and she duly removed one of the drinks from the bill.  Perhaps she didn’t want us to hold up the queue anymore?  (Sound familiar?)

Postcards and stamps

Whilst travelling back from England at the weekend we stopped at one of our favourite service stations: Aachener Land.

Situated just over the border between Belgium and Germany it offers a family meal for around 10EUR plus drinks which we find very good value for money.

Whilst I was paying for our meal this time, a lady with a British accent came up to the cashier and wanted a postage stamp from her for her postcard. The cashier politely pointed out in her broken English that there was a queue and asked the lady to join it. She did not – she just repeated her demand and said that she had paid for the postcard and now wanted her stamp for it.

I decided to help the cashier at this point and also told the lady politely, that the cashier was serving us and had a queue of people waiting. But no, she wanted her stamp. She had, after all, paid for her postcard.

By chance I caught a glimpse of her receipt (as she turned to her friends to complain about her loss, then deciding to give up and buy a stamp elsewhere). She had indeed bought a postcard – and just a postcard. Without a stamp.

The trouble is, I believe, that in many countries you automatically get sold stamps with postcards and maybe come to expect it. This is not the case in Germany!

If you want a stamp, then you have to buy it from the post office, or one of their agencies, or from a machine.

In some tourist hotspots (Rüdesheim springs to mind) you may also find that shops selling postcards also sell stamps for them. Judging by the response from the cashier at the service stations they may well do too.

But remember, they sell the stamps as an extra service. The price of the stamp is not included in the price of the postcard.

Oh, and please join the queue!

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