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Is the German practice better than the American one? The point is that expats need to understand that there is a reason why Germans do something one way, while Americans do it a different way.Saying one way is 'better' than another is simply making a judgment based on your own background and experiences.The age issue is clearly observable in countries that had have passed through some historical event, a war, revolution of a change in political systems, like previous satellites of the ex-USSR where there is a huge generational divide between those who grew up in the 'Communist era' and those who did not, the same is also valid to those under Fascist regimes, these deep social changes have an impact in what is deemed appropriate behavior in a society.
Recently a friend suggested that I read what turned out to be a rather disheartening rant published by an online expat website (the names shall remain anonymous in order to protect the guilty).
Even the regions of Europe do not have common manners.
For example, a Dane will prefer direct speech while a Finn will tend to prevaricate.
The writer, an American lady, was complaining about her life in Germany, a lament brought on by a recent visit to her local (pharmacy).
She was whining about the fact that she had to take the extra time and trouble to consult with a German pharmacist (in German of all things) in order to obtain a medication that she could have bought over the counter in the US.
Several people left comments pointing out that the German system actually provided the benefit of helpful, professional advice that would have required a visit to the doctor in the US.