25 June 2013

German Punctuality

I love German punctuality. When they say they're gonna show up at 8:00, it'll happen. Of course, when it's a meeting of friends, people get delayed, and yes, that is expected, but when it comes to services, oh, they come precisely at the time they said they would come. And that makes life way easier. Here are a few examples.

For example, reading the meter for electricity here is done once a year. So they read your meter, and then they provide an estimate of how much you will pay monthly, and when the next reading comes a year later, they will adjust everything and they either reimburse you for the amount you overpaid or they will ask you to pay the amount you underpaid. So the meter reading happened last March. A week before, they told us what time they will show up, and they said that they will show up between 9:00 and 11:00 on a certain Monday. So I didn't go to the office and worked from home instead, and sure enough, they showed up at 9:15.

Another example was when my balcony window had to be painted. I first had to set up an appointment by calling a number. And after picking up a date, we set up a time. We agreed for 7:30 in the morning. It was a little early, but I wake up around 6:00 anyway so that is not a problem at all. I woke up at the usual hour, had breakfast, and took a shower. In fact, I was a little worried because I thought I was running late. I got out of the shower at around 7:25. And guess what? 5 minutes later, the doorbell rang.


This system totally beats the American system, even. Not to mention the Filipino system. I remember that whenever something like this has to happen, I would be told that the personnel would arrive between 8:00 and 17:00. That, in effect, blocks my whole day. While here, I could plan around the event, as things are more precise.

There are things I don't like about German society, but this one is definitely something that I like.


  1. German are generally seen as reliable and it's fun to hear that the stereotype is true! I think French are fairly punctual too... at least, they are expected to be, unlike in most Latin cultures!

    1. Zhu,

      Ah, the Latin cultures; I never knew it was true even in the European Latin cultures, but it was definitely true when I was in South America! Timetables are more relative than absolute, and so people loved their siesta!

  2. It's a mixed bag for me in the Big Apple as far as punctuality is concerned. Some were on-time, some showed up several minutes late and there's an instance where one even cancelled at the last minute! Being a melting pot of cultures may be the reason for such inconsistency for me.

    1. Dennis,

      Ah I think you're right, that might be a factor. Although I remember in Buffalo, the biggest thing I was annoyed with was that they would tell you to wait the whole day, not just a couple of hours, effectively killing the day from any productivity.