So let’s say you need to set up internet at your house. You have money and you want to give it to a provider, monthly, for the next two years.
You try calling the company of your choice. Let’s call them Schmodafone. As expected, the phone answers with an automated message entirely in German. There is no option in English. You hang up and call a different number. Same thing. You find another number, this one with an English option. You press “1”. A German voice picks up. In the best German you can muster you ask if they speak English. They say “no” and hang up on you.
You try chat. The support agent tells you to call the number and press the English option.
You throw your phone across the room.
You go into your nearest
Vodafone Schmodafone store. The Turkish guy behind the counter speaks perfect German, English, French and Ancient Greek and you almost offer your first born child as a thank you. He proceeds to explain the process of getting internet set up in your house.
First, you must sign 12 different contracts, of which you cannot escape, not even with a fee. If you move to another country, you must switch to the Schmodafone based in that country. Fine. Signed.
Then you must wait 12 weeks for a letter in the mail. This letter will have a code. This code will expire 23 minutes after delivery. If you are not home during this time you must request a new code on the company website, then bike to their headquarters in Frankfurt and wait in line for two days for a new code. You must bring your passport and work visa. Oh, and a registration card. And you must present them with a 3-page essay explaining why Currywurst is superior to all other foods.
Don’t have a registration card? Please go to your nearest city registrar and take a number. The wait will be approximately 18 minutes. Not bad. You sit and wait. The registrar’s website translation told you to provide the following documents: current apartment tenancy agreement, work contract, original birth certificate, original marriage license and college diploma (specifically the one they gave you at graduation), a sample of your blood, and the complete sequencing of your genome (if available). When your number is called you are ushered into a cubicle. You ask the women behind the desk if they speak English. They say yes, but answer in German. You proceed to hand over your documents and they say something very fast to you not, actually, in English. They don’t even look at the documents you brought (punched with two holes, not three, and signed in black ink, not blue).
Through hand gestures and grunting, you learn that to receive your registration card you will be emailed seven different temporary passwords. Only one password is correct. To guess the right one you will have to solve a riddle involving a series of mathematical symbols. The correct answer will contain the third symbol in one of the seven passwords they sent you. If you guess incorrectly after two tries, your account is locked until the next German Unification Day. (They suggest going to Starbucks for your remaining internet needs should that occur.)
Meanwhile, at Schmodafone, your Turkish friend has scheduled an agent to stop by your house and install the connection. Before they arrive, you will receive the connection device in the mail. To receive the device your name has to be on the doorbell (German apartments don’t have numbers or letters). To get your name on the doorbell you must speak to your landlady who, while delightful, has better things to do. You can of course, add your own name to the building, but if it does not match the exact font size, type, letter spacing, ink and background color, the postman will be confused and think he is being tricked, at which point he will scurry to one of the underground bomb shelters still riddled throughout this country. You will be fined at 1.5x his yearly salary, prorated by month, for every day he is in the tunnels. The fine also contains a sales tax by both the German and American government, with a 3.719% EU convenience charge.
So you can’t get the device delivered and if you don’t have the device, you don’t have internet. The only other option is to order a new internet service from Schmodafone and spend the next two years paying for both services. The only other way out is death.