Those were the days, writes one New York Times journalist, when Germans we’re hooked on the slogan “Geiz ist geil” (stinginess is cool) and only the lowest priced product was gerade noch (just barely) good enough for them, when an advertising tagline summed up an entire nation’s mood. That is apparently changing now, or so the claim.

That couldn’t be further from the truth, of course. Although it may be true that Saturn will begin phasing out its famous phrase for something new due to an upswing in the Germany economy, this causing the slow but steady disappearance of the rationale behind the saying, it would be wrong to believe that stinginess (or frugality, if you prefer) in and of itself will ever disappear here.

Stinginess isn’t a mood in Germany, it’s a national obsession that’s about as German as you can get. They drink it in with the water I guess, or it’s in the mother’s milk or maybe even in the beer here, hell if I know. I’m convinced that it’s always been here and will never go away. And it doesn’t really matter how much money one has here, strong economy or not, it only matters that one spends as little of it as Germanly possible.

So Saturn and co. didn’t hit upon a mood, they just made it fashionable for folks to openly admit that they were stingy for once. I’ll miss the saying. I’ll miss this mood. It was refreshingly open for once.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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