Or do you know any Germans (or Americans) who would be willing to dig up white asparagus out in the hot sun a few weeks each spring for five or six euros (roughly $7 or $8) an hour? No, I don’t know many, either. But to make matters even worse, Polish workers, the traditional asparagus diggers/pickers in Germany, are starting to lose interest, too.

That Germans are mad about white asparagus is one matter (inexplicably so, I can take or leave the stuff and usually leave it), but that the Poles are now moving on to greener pastures in Britain, Scandinavia and the Benelux countries is another one altogether (these countries pay better). And now due to the lower unemployment figures in Germany, the annual, ritual cry for “make the unemployed do it” is even less realistic than it was before. In fact, it even appears to have been canceled for 2007 altogether.

“Merkel’s government dropping German unemployment under the politically sensitive level of four million for the first time since 2002 really bites it,” says one irate asparagus farmer in Beelitz near Berlin. “As we all know, The German labor office says that 3.9 million people were without work in April, compared with 4.1 million in March and the postwar high of just above 5 million two years ago under Schröder. April’s seasonally adjusted rate was 9.2 percent, compared with 11 percent in April 2006. *!#$?!#! What a catastrophe,” he said, kicking around in the dirt in rage.

“So like now that the Poles are jumping ship, how the hell are we going to call for the unemployed to help us?” he continued. “The few that are left are out there getting real jobs. I mean, does the government expect us to raise our wages or something? Then Germans would have to pay a fair price for the food they eat. And we both know that that’s never going to happen.”

“*!#$?!#!” he repeated. “These politicians are really a little weltfremd (live in an ivory-tower) sometimes.”

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

Be Sociable, Share!