Wie bitte(r)?

June 19th, 2008 · 98 comments

As our submitter Peter points out, the residents of Berlin — with their trademark Berliner schnauze — are not known for mincing words. But this sign, found at a coffee shop of sorts in the U-bahn station Kottbusser Tor, takes that characteristic Berliner directness one step further.

Peter’s rough translation: “Anyone who doesn’t buy anything PLEASE leave the store!!! Thanks.” (That’s at least one request we haven’t seen at a Starbucks…yet.)

WER NICHTS KAUFT VERLABT Bitte DEN LADEN!! DANKE

related: Danke!!! [for the sarcasm]

FILED UNDER: "customer service" · Berlin · Deutsche · more aggressive than passive


98 responses so far ↓

  • #1   unholyghost2003 bang

    I think the real difference between this place and Starbucks is that THIS sign says “Please” and “Thank You”

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:22 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

     
  • #2   RunBarbara bang

    this doesnt strike me as particularly passive or aggressive. i think it is polite, to the point and magnificent as a young show pony! in fact, i am going to post that sign every where i go. unless you intend to buy something you shouldn’t go into a shop. that classifies you as riff-raff and, as you all know, i have no patience for riff-raff! i also have no patience for hippies as they smell like a fake leg full of fish sticks.

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:26 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   TC

      And patchouli.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 12:29 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.2   frostedflake

      i liked riff-raff. he was cool. but frank n. furter was cooler….

      Jul 2, 2009 at 1:27 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.3   MAMARILLA2 bang

      Dammit, Janet.

      Aug 2, 2009 at 12:09 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.4   T imo® bang

      Magenta was dreamy.

      Aug 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.5   MAMARILLA2 bang

      Let’s do the Time Warp again.

      Aug 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #3   TC

    …except David Hasselhoff. He can loiter all day and buy nichts!

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:27 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

     
  • #4   GhostWriter bang

    …and just like that, all the German baristi walked out of the shop.

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:29 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   secondsout bang

      And by “walked,” we mean goose-stepped.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 12:34 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

       
    • #4.2   RunBarbara bang

      and by “shop”, you mean tank.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 12:37 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #5   zchamu

    This could be applied to numerous situations. Unless you plan to give me money PLEASE LEAVE MY HOUSE! Unless you plan to mow my lawn PLEASE GET OFF MY PROPERTY! Unless you plan to give me sparkly presents PLEASE GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!

    I’m going to start using this.

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:29 pm   rating: 29  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   RunBarbara bang

      unless you plan to trim my hedges GET OUT OF MY “GARDEN”!!!!
      (well, for zB anyway…)

      Jun 19, 2008 at 12:33 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

       
    • #5.2   zombieBlanco bang

      “trim my hedges”

      Jun 19, 2008 at 12:35 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #6   zombieBlanco bang

    ✔ Block letters

    ✔ Hasty underlining

    ✔ Extra exclamation marks

    Passive-aggressive = the universal language

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:31 pm   rating: 25  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   Voca Popula

      All this sign needs is a pair of tiny hearts to replace the umlaut.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 3:33 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

       
    • #6.2   Mishee bang

      or two little happy faces.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 4:16 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #6.3   amazon bang

      I dunno, German is a weird language that capitalizes random letters. For all we know, ALL CAPS is grammatically correct for that statement.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 4:56 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

       
    • #6.4   Jenny

      German capitalizes at the beginning of every sentence and nouns. That’s all that’s grammatically capitalized.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 9:02 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #6.5   Canthz_B bang

      interesting. all nouns or just proper nouns?

      Jun 19, 2008 at 9:21 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #6.6   amazon bang

      all nouns. it’s very odd for an english speaker.

      p.s. for jenny: http://xkcd.com/386/

      Jun 20, 2008 at 1:16 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #6.7   Jenny

      Why does everyone send me that link? I was just trying to be helpful… :(

      Jun 22, 2008 at 12:13 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #6.8   get figgy with it

      I found it interesting, Jenny. I think (hope) amazon’s link was put up in good humor.

      Jun 22, 2008 at 1:07 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #6.9   Canthz_B bang

      I think that amazon was just joking that her earlier joke really did not require a serious response, but I have been known to be wrong.
      Besides, I was curious about the all nouns thing, so I learned something new from both Jenny and amazon! :-)

      Jun 22, 2008 at 3:11 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #6.10   Canthz_B bang

      Sometimes jokes here are really subtle…like the fact that I used no caps in comment #6.5.
      Totally out of character for me, but missed by all. :-|

      Jun 22, 2008 at 3:19 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #7   GhostWriter bang

    Please, Bin Laden- Thank You!

    Those Germans can never be counted on in our War on Terror.

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:33 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

     
  • #8   GhostWriter bang

    Is it my imagination, or does the photographer reflected in the window have a huge Herman Munster-like head?

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:36 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   secondsout bang

      Shh, you don’t want to give Peter a complex.

      *Hmm? Vas? PETER SMASH!*

      Jun 19, 2008 at 12:40 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

       
    • #8.2   Peter

      thanks secondscout. until you pointed it out, it didn’t, but now i DO have a Herman Munster Head complex. It’s common in Germany, tho. We call it the German HMH complex. It’s a medical term. Look it up.

      Jun 20, 2008 at 5:13 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

       
    • #8.3   Mishee bang

      Is there a medical insurance code for that Peter? I wonder if German medical codes are the same as US codes…

      Jun 20, 2008 at 8:05 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #9   Mishee bang

    “Hurry up and buy!!”

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:38 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

     
  • #10   Kev Orng

    WENN SIE DICH DIE MONGOLEI POTLUCK SORGEN MÖCHTEN, HOLEN SIE BITTE 5 EURO ZU CASEY IM PERSONAL FÜR IHREN HUT.

    DNK SANDRA

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:43 pm   rating: 49  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   TC

      Now that’s brillant.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 12:46 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #10.2   kalieris

      This is a thing of beauty…

      Jun 19, 2008 at 3:34 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #10.3   Peter

      This is deep. I’m going to print this out. Maybe on a shirt ;)

      Jun 20, 2008 at 5:14 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #10.4   Ami

      I understand what the words mean, but I don’t get it.

      =[

      Sep 4, 2008 at 11:26 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #11   Canthz_B bang

    Scram you dirty browser!
    What do you mean you’re looking for the perfect gift?
    Figure it out and come back when you know!

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:45 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

     
  • #12   paranoiagirl bang

    I love that “please” is the only lowercase word, as if they’re dragging it out slowly and quietly before exploding into “LEAVE THE STORE! Scheiße!”

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:46 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   djr

      …. and yet, it warrents TWO underlines.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 4:21 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #12.2   Canthz_B bang

      …even warrants them! ;-)

      Jun 19, 2008 at 4:42 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #12.3   djr

      Oh look at you and your spelling things correctly! XD

      Jun 20, 2008 at 11:42 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #13   Quite Contrary

    So, in PAN land, does this mean I need to leave the bathroom if I’m not going to do drugs there?

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:47 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   TC

      Not as long as you BUY your drugs there and then use them.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 12:49 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

       
    • #13.2   amy d bang

      No. It means you must leave the website if you are not going to be snarky.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 12:50 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #14   Mishee bang

    ooh, I see on the menu that they have chocolade

    Well, it is the Land of Chocolate, after all!

    Jun 19, 2008 at 12:53 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   Mark bang

      It’s like Kool-Ade (or its ghetto cousin, Flav-r-ade), but made of chocolate.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 12:59 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #14.2   TC

      Who needs that fancy packet of Kool-Aid when you can make City Punch!

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=city+punch

      Jun 19, 2008 at 1:05 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #14.3   Moonsilver

      That chocolate was f…
      On second thought, German chocolate isn’t that good.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 4:08 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

       
    • #14.4   Jenny

      German chocolate is better than American chocolate.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 9:07 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #14.5   Canthz_B bang

      Everything German is better, just ask any German.

      But not in Hershey, PA.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 9:18 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #14.6   amazon bang

      The sausage is especially good in Germany ;)

      Jun 20, 2008 at 1:18 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #14.7   MAMARILLA2 bang

      I thought the Dutch were in charge of the good chocolate.

      Aug 2, 2009 at 12:31 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #15   claw71 bang

    Germans are very efficient people. There’s no such thing as shopping to them, only purchasing. Shopping is for the French and it is why the French were defenseless in WW2.

    Jun 19, 2008 at 1:04 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   secondsout bang

      Oh, the French had a defense. The Maginot Line was its name and all the guns were pointed at Germany. The French must have forgotten WW1, where the Germans invaded France through Belgium. They did so again, and their guns were sadly pointed the wrong direction. Eh, Bonjour, we surrender!

      Jun 19, 2008 at 2:03 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

       
    • #15.2   Canthz_B bang

      They also were guilty of two-dimensional thinking on a three- dimensional battlefield.
      Airplanes make fixed defenses obsolete.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 2:36 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #15.3   Mark bang

      “His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.”

      “Z minus ten thousand meters.”

      Jun 19, 2008 at 3:32 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #16   claw71 bang

    or
    You learn something new everyday.

    Who would have thought that there are Korean store owners in Germany too?

    Jun 19, 2008 at 1:06 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   Canthz_B bang

      Oh those nutty Asians!
      I heard on NPR yesterday that in South Africa Asians have won the right to be classified as Black.
      And they say there’s nothing new under the sun! Ha! :-D

      Jun 19, 2008 at 1:11 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #16.2   Quite Contrary

      That is actually very interesting. A friend just returned from three weeks in Africa. There is a distinct class/caste system between the whites (the clear minority), the blacks and the coloreds. It’s an actual classification and the blacks want little or nothing to do with the coloreds. My understanding is that most of the coloreds are mixed ethnicities. And blacks are considered “better” than coloreds.

      I’m very much looking forward to Claw’s response.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 1:48 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #16.3   RunBarbara bang

      you know, claw is part black.
      i would tell you which part but it might choke me up…

      Jun 19, 2008 at 2:41 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

       
    • #16.4   Mishee bang

      “choke” “up”

      Jun 19, 2008 at 2:43 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #16.5   RunBarbara bang

      “part”

      Jun 19, 2008 at 2:45 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #16.6   Canthz_B bang

      From my understanding, and I admit to having paid little attention to the report, in South Africa Blacks have been granted some social compensations for the apartheid years and Coloreds have not received the same in equal measure.
      The Asian community seems to have petitioned to be classified as “Black” so as to qualify for the same benefits.

      That was my take on it, I could be very wrong.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 2:53 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #16.7   amazon bang

      Actually, in Germany, the minority of choice are the Turks.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #16.8   Jenny

      Hmm. I thought the Turks were actually had a pretty big representation in Germany. Maybe it’s just Berlin. There’s also a growing population of Africans.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 9:09 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #16.9   Canthz_B bang

      Then you agree with amazon that the Turks are a large minority group in Germany. jeez :roll:

      Jun 19, 2008 at 9:26 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #16.10   Jenny

      Amazon didn’t say how large the population of Turks were. Just that they were the “minority of choice.”

      Jun 19, 2008 at 10:46 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #16.11   amazon bang

      I think I’m developing a little crush on Jenny. *swoon*

      Jun 20, 2008 at 1:20 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #17   Ana

    Where is that café anyway? Everything’s so cheap! A sandwich for 15 Cents?! How great is that? I wouldn’t even mind the rude sign…
    Ana, Leipzig

    Jun 19, 2008 at 1:47 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   karmacoma

      A “Schrippe” is not really a sandwich, it’s just a roll or bun (not sure about the right word in English) without anything on it. But it’s still pretty cheap.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 2:27 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #17.2   Canthz_B bang

      “Lump of dry bread” will do.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 9:08 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #17.3   Ana

      I do know what a Schrippe is (I’m German by the way), but a Schrippe usually has some Wurst or cheese on it, so I’d say that you can compare it to a sandwich…

      Jun 20, 2008 at 1:37 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #17.4   Stylewalker

      Schrippe is Berlinian for Brötchen. Like Rundstück in Hamburg or Semmel in Bayern.

      Jun 20, 2008 at 4:50 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #18   ErikaBlare bang

    Vee haf ovens een ze back for people who loiter.

    Jun 19, 2008 at 2:23 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #18.1   Mishee bang

      “Und, you must sign ze papers, old man!

      But, I cannot sign these papers!

      Why can not you sign ze papers?

      Because you have broken both my hands!”

      100 points to anyone who can figure that one out (without google) – and remember, Would Jesus Google The Answer?

      Jun 19, 2008 at 2:26 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

       
    • #18.2   Mark bang

      But first you need to take a shower… a shower with no water…

      Jun 19, 2008 at 2:28 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #18.3   ErikaBlare bang

      Ah, Mishee, I love you more and more each day. Viva la Cheech and Chong!

      Jun 19, 2008 at 3:26 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

       
    • #18.4   JoeInLA

      Hmm. I would have said Mel Brooks (or possibly Monty Python).

      Jun 19, 2008 at 7:24 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #19   Brad

    I prefer the Babel Fish translation:
    “WHO ANYTHING DOES NOT BUY REFRESHES request the SHOP!! THANKS”

    Jun 19, 2008 at 2:29 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #19.1   Joe bang

      B Rad? Stay away! We don’t need your stinking herpes!

      Jun 19, 2008 at 2:59 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

       
    • #19.2   Kev Orng

      Babelfish is the greatest site ever. Try sending something like a nursery rhyme or a famous quote through five or six different languages, then back to English. The results are breathtaking. The more common the words, the more mangled the result; fancy-speak is more likely to be translated in a specific way.

      Start with the little passage in German I posted above. That was a babelfish hack-job to start with, and it’s even funnier when you put it back through to English.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 3:21 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #19.3   bob

      IF THEY LIKED YOU MONGOLIA POTLUCK CONCERNS, GETTING THEM REQUEST 5 EUROS TO CASEY IN THE PERSONNEL FOR YOUR HAT. DNK SANDRA
      according to yahoo babelfish

      Jun 19, 2008 at 3:57 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #20   Ewan

    Surely it is impossible to get into the shop if you have to buy something before you can enter.

    Jun 19, 2008 at 4:44 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

     
  • #21   amazon bang

    My (German) boyfriend sent me this link yesterday.

    http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa080299.htm

    Apparently politeness is just plain trifling and nasty in Germany.

    Jun 19, 2008 at 5:05 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #21.1   TC

      More people should use the word trifling.

      Jun 19, 2008 at 8:09 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #21.2   Jenny

      Germans just don’t subscribe to the American “fake-nice” notion of shopping. :p

      Jun 19, 2008 at 10:44 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #21.3   Kev Orng

      Not sure which is worse – “Fake Nice” or “Real Rude”

      I usually encounter a healthy mix of both in my daily travels.

      Jun 20, 2008 at 12:20 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
    • #21.4   Cristina

      “Apparently politeness is just plain trifling and nasty in Germany.”

      Try continental Europe in general.

      Jun 24, 2008 at 4:16 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #22   Cricket

    oh, you crazy Germans.

    Jun 19, 2008 at 6:50 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

     
  • #23   Stylewalker

    Here is something about the location of this shop. In this very metro station there are tons of people hanging out there ALL the time. Selling stuff, doing drugs maybe, drinking. Nothing harmful but just hanging there all the time. I can understand that shop owners only want to have REAL clients in there store and not all the rest of the usual hanging out people.

    Jun 20, 2008 at 4:55 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #23.1   Peter

      Stylewalker, it’s not like there’s enough SPACE in this shop for even two people. When I took the photo, the shop keeper even started yelling in me and asked for money ;)

      Jun 20, 2008 at 5:17 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
    • #23.2   Fnnkybutt bang

      Doing drugs and drinking, maybe… but nothing harmful. :|

      Jun 20, 2008 at 8:52 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #24   Andre

    You know, where I come from (i.e. the Internet) “WIE” stands for “wiener/willy in email”.

    Women are sometimes bitter after recieving WIE.

    Not mine, you understand.

    Jun 20, 2008 at 10:04 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

     
  • #25   Ana

    I am SO glad I don’t live in Germany anymore.

    Germans are the crankiest people I have ever met…ugh

    Jun 20, 2008 at 3:34 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

     
  • #26   SavageCarmina bang

    I worked in a large bookstore chain that has one of those LOVELY Starbucks-esque cafes. Every night at closing, one of the managers would make the closing announcements over the intercom starting at 30 minutes before closing time. Without fail, one manager in particular would announce, “If you are not making any purchases, please exit the store at this time. Thank you!” Not the same as making a sign and posting it, but the same general effect. :)

    Jun 23, 2008 at 10:20 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

     
  • #27   that girl

    Well! Enschulegen!

    Jun 23, 2008 at 5:53 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

     
  • #28   foobar

    dunno if someone said it already, but this is normal language use in german. no idea what’s supposed to be special about this sign.

    Jun 24, 2008 at 7:13 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

     
  • #29   mathias

    For everyone that has never been to that station:
    Kotbusser Tor is full of drug-dealers and yunkees that just linger around everywhere. I guess, the store-keepers just want to keep them out.

    Aug 4, 2008 at 12:47 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

     

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