We aren't exactly sure why there is such a large difference between customer service in the USA and Germany. He notices it, she notices it, and it is something often discussed and blogged about by other expats. Although we do not believe that people who work retail in Germany love their jobs anymore than people who work retail in the USA, Germans seem to have a loyalty to their company that is unexplainable. Something is broken and you want to trade it? Not going to happen (unless there is a law that says they must accept it, but that is for another time). Bought french fries at McDonalds? Better expect to pay for ketchup if you bought a small not a medium. It doesn't matter how much you try to flirt with the guy or girl behind the counter, that is how it is going to stay.
Here is another example. She bought an article of clothing from a store in the USA. She got to Germany, wore it, and it broke within a few wears. She writes an e-mail to the company explaining that the article broke rather quickly and she is very disappointed with the product. With no evidence, no receipt, not even a discussion, a coupon shows up in the mail for the same value of the bought item. This also happened to him (with a tech gadget and not clothing). After multiple e-mails and a lot of complaining the company offered to accept the item back and replace it for a different (and unneeded item) if he paid all the shipping charges! This is just one of many examples of the difference in customer service between the USA and Germany.
The entire thing is quite odd. On an individual basis Germans and no more rude or unpleasant than Americans, but when it comes to client - customer relationships the difference is huge.
Have you traveled and noticed a difference? What do you think is the cause of this? What makes one culture decide customer service is at the utmost importance and another not care? What makes people keep going back to these stores with no customer service? We are interested in what you think.