Germans

“It’s not polite to talk about yourself, but I haven’t seen anything like it,” says Mr. Wash Chief Executive Richard Enning. A few of his 32 other outlets are almost as big. Germans love cars. They also tend to like things tidy. Now they’re building temples to clean cars. The Stuttgart Mr. Wash is probably the world’s busiest and most expensive carwash. It cost roughly $40 million to build five years ago and employs about 40 people on a busy day for cleaning. Drivers can also tank up or get an oil change. Mr. Enning wants Mr. Wash to be the spot for a spotless car in Stuttgart, the hometown of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. From afar, the orange structure with curved silver protrusions resembles a glitzy shopping mall or some sort of spaceship…Inside, classy touches include a man in white gloves who directs drivers to conveyor belts for robotic sudsing. After that, patrons can sip complimentary coffee amid potted plants and the strains of classical music while teams polish and vacuum. Staff are even instructed on how to fold and refold wiping cloths so dirt doesn’t move from one surface to another…Few things make serious German drivers smile like inching through a foam bath and undulating scrubbers, said [branch manager Robert] Kerbler [WSJ]

Is the temptation to check your work email while on vacation stronger than your weak, easily manipulated self? Do you make a big show of saying you’re not going to even look at your phone the whole time you’re away, and the sneak into the bathroom and turn the faucets on to cover up the tapping noises like some kind of email junkie? After everyone has gone to bed, do hear your phone calling out to you, saying “Check it…come on, just check it, just for a second. I’m not gonna rat you out.” Have you tried everything from leaving your phone at home only to break out in a separation anxiety-induced rash, to rigging up your device so that any attempts to check your inbox result in an electromagnetic shock to your scrotum, which does nothing to solve the problem but does leave you with third degree burns?

Or maybe you’re able to resist the temptation but to sneak a peek, but return from your time away with a feeling of total dread, knowing there are thousands of messages to respond to from people who don’t understand the words “I’ll be out of the office for the next two weeks”? Have you come to terms with all this and are now the point that you just want help?

If you work in the United States, tough shit. Your company isn’t going to be happy until it sees you crawling around on the cobblestoned streets of Rome, attempting to collect the millions of little pieces your phone splintered into when, in a fit of disgust with yourself, you threw it to the ground and watched it shatter, moments before shouting “Sweet Jesus, what have I done?!” and “No, wait, I think I can fix this.” If you happen to be in Germany and employed by Daimler, today is your lucky day. Read more »

Sayeth a German academic, contra everything that every hedge fund lobbyist has said (and that everybody believed) since 2007. Read more »

  • 03 Dec 2013 at 5:49 PM
  • Banks

Commerzbank Is Entertaining Some Uninvited Guests Today

A couple hundred German tax officials from the state prosecutor’s office thought they’d have a look around the place. Read more »

  • 31 Oct 2013 at 5:11 PM
  • Banks

Maybe Think Twice About Accepting That Deutsche Bank Board Seat

While the U.S. has at last gotten around to maybe kinda sorta prosecuting a few banks for their crisis-era misdeeds, you cannot throw a bank in jail. And no U.S. bankers have been thrown in jail for doing things that, cumulatively, contributed to a situation that led to the expenditure of $1 trillion taxpayer dollars, give or take.

The Germans have chosen a different strategy: They are going to try to put an entire bank’s board of directors in jail. Or at least fine the crap out of them. Read more »

Germany said it believed that U.S. intelligence agencies may be spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone, an intrusion that it said would constitute a “grave breach of trust” between the longtime allies. Ms. Merkel called President Barack Obama on Wednesday and made clear that such surveillance among allies would be “fully unacceptable,” her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a statement released late Wednesday in Berlin…The White House said Mr. Obama assured Ms. Merkel in a call Wednesday that the United States “is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel.” “The United States greatly values our close cooperation with Germany on a broad range of shared security challenges,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said…Ms. Merkel sends text messages frequently, sometimes in public. [WSJ]

  • 23 May 2013 at 2:13 PM

Anshu Jain’s Rosetta Stone Tapes Are PAYING OFF

“Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, liebe Aktionäre” [Ladies and gentlemen, dear shareholders]. “Herzlich willkommen zur Hauptversammlung der Deutschen Bank” [A warm welcome to Deutsche Bank’s annual general meeting]. Deutsche Bank’s co-chief executive, Anshu Jain, Thursday awed shareholders by giving a two-page introductory speech at the bank’s annual shareholders meeting in…German. It was the moment some shareholders had been waiting for. At last year’s AGM, some German investors had voiced concern as to whether they would need to learn English in order to understand the newly elected co-chief executive of “their bank.” Mr Jain, an Indian-born with a British passport, took office almost a year ago after the shareholder’s meeting, along with co-chief executive Juergen Fitschen, a native German speaker. [WSJ]

  • 13 Mar 2013 at 4:39 PM

Commerzbank To Have Cake, Eat It, Too

Appreciative as it is for the €21 German taxpayers threw it, Commerzbank has had quite enough of living under the government’s thumb. So it’s going to finish paying back those taxpayer loans by conveniently diluting its shares such that the German government can’t tell it what to do anymore. Read more »