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  • Writer's picturePhilip Ammerman

CAN THE LEOPARD CHANGE ITS SPOTS?



This post may sound a little bit naïve, but here it goes.


I’m on vacation in Vienna: we arrived yesterday, walked around, slept, etc. and this morning I went out on the streets of Altwien to try to rustle up some coffee and breakfast.


Google Maps guided me to an amazing bakery called Paremi. Packed. One line to eat in. One line to take away. I took away.


To collect the espressos, I had to go next door to their chocolate house, a tiny Schmuckstuck of place which looked more like a jewellery gallery than a patisserie.


The lady behind the counter gave me the espresso, and I was trying to remember the German word for take away cup cap (which I never learned to begin with). I asked “Darf ich haben …” and pointed to the caps.


She said “Sie koennen haben Alles was Sie wollen.” (You can have everything that you want).


That made my day, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t naughty.


Contrast that to my experiences living in Duesseldorf back in 1992 – 1995. I would go every morning to the same bakery by the office, fully suited and booted, and get snarled at.


Yet every time I go to Germany now, I’m totally impressed by the customer service.


To put it bluntly: the customer service I encounter in Austria and Germany is now among the highest I experience in the world.


I suppose part of it may be the places I frequent. Paremi is not cheap. But the service level was as high at the movie cinema (Oppenheimer) last night as it was at the outdoor café next to our Airbnb as it was by the Airbnb hostess, a dignified old lady in her 60s.


Friendly – from the heart friendly – patiently helping me with my stumbling German – taking the time to interact with the customer – explaining everything – prompt service – excellent quality food / coffee / cinema experience, etc. And really going a step beyond what one would expect.


The price / quality contrast with my homelands could not be greater.


It’s going to be an amazing week.







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