There’s a story in today’s Tagesspiegel with the title, “Is Berlin a Service Desert?” (Ist Berlin Eine Service-Wüste?) The answer of course is an unequivocal, yes.

The notion of service at a restaurant, store, government office, or even a bank, is a foreign concept in Berlin. Most places in Germany have excellent service. In fact, Germany has a reputation as being efficient, fast, and courteous. But, as with many things, Berlin is different from the rest of Germany.

So when visiting Berlin, one should expect poor service, it’s the norm. I’ve come to think of Berlin’s poor service as one of those charming cultural differences to be savored like a fine French wine.