Those foreigners....

At the hairdresser's this afternoon the woman to the right of me started complaining that there just aren't any German restaurants in the area anymore. Thai, Greek, Italian, Turkish, Chinese -- all sorts of foreign stuff, but you can't even get a good Currywurst here. The woman doing my hair said that she had heard that the foreigners get a special deal on their taxes for the first year or so, so that's why so many open up and then close after a year, in order to get the special deal for every shop they open. The woman to the right muttered "those foreigners, they get all that special treatment."

I rather exploded (although I was in the process of getting perm liquid washed out of my hair) and pointed out that this is a very typical rumor that people pass around that supposedly supports the arguments of those who are against all these "foreigners" in Germany. I explained that every person who starts a business gets a special deal the first year to help them get their business going. And that those restaurants that go out of business mostly have trouble generating enough business to pay the sky-high rents.

Oh yes, the hairdresser had seen the sign down the street, a landlord wants 2100 € a month for a 70 square-meter store that's been empty for a few months. That's 300 € a month that has to be generated by every square meter, in addition to paying for the merchandise and for the store owner and sales tax and what have you. It's the greedy landlords, I noted, curious to see if they would pick up on this and continue bitching.

They didn't. Silence, as the water kept rushing through my hair. Then the elderly lady on the left changed the topic: when she was young, you used to get a schnapps with your perm instead of just a cup of coffee.

And then they both went back to their gossip magazines.

These are your average Germans, I'm afraid.