Monday, November 07, 2005

Honor System

Germany seems to be a very trusting place. Newspapers, for example, are just kept in a box. Take a paper and you are expected to drop the coins into the little coin container one side of the box.

The same concept often applies to road-side vegetable stands or flower fields. Pick your own, drop the money in the box. Nobody is around to watch.
In my office, nobody locks the doors, and people just leave their laptops out on the desk--often unlocked. It's a bit different there though, since the whole building is secured, so only people with valid badges can enter.

Public transportation is also generally on the honor system too. You are expected to have a valid ticket, and checks usually only happen at the beginning or end of the month. (I've only been checked once in the 3 months I've been here). Just recently they finally started checking tickets on buses, but only after 9 pm.
If you're caught without a valid ticket, however, the fine is 40 Euros--nearly US $50. Beth has been checked three times.

Ironically, however, Germans seem to be paranoid about locking the doors of their homes, and most doors lock automatically behind you. It's important to always have your keys with you, even if you're just running downstairs to check on the laundry. And my tire pump was stolen off my bike.


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