June 2009



Unlike the United States where the only organization legally allowed to put stuff in your mail box is the United States Postal Service, here in Germany there are multiple postal services and your letter box is constantly being filled with “Werbung”—which translates as advertising, courting, publicity, promotion, or propaganda.

One can get stickers for your mailbox that specifically decline Werbung—and I had such a sticker at my old apartment. Unfortunately I don’t have one for my new apartment and at times it can be a struggle keeping my mailbox empty for the things that I really want delivered. I thought about creating my own sticker, but also realized that I could keep a log of the crap that arrived in the space of one week for an amusing blog entry.

It wasn’t until last Tuesday that I actually started doing this—and I forgot about the elections that were held on Sunday—so there is a bit more political Werbung in my post box than normal, but the list below should give you a good idea of what I filter through in the average week.

Actually, usually I don’t filter through it, other than to make sure a piece of legitimate post didn’t get stuck inside one of the other things in my box. Most of the time I take it out of my box, walk about 5 steps to my right and stick it in the conveniently located trash can—and often right on top of five or six other copies of the same thing.

Tuesday, June 2:

  • Telkom Shop News (From T-Com featuring T-Home and T-Mobile)
  • Notice from telephone book company that I can pick up the new/current editions at the post office between now and June 27. Unfortunately for the Yellow Pages company, I have Google.

Wednesday, June 3:

  • Allgemeiner Anzeiger “newspaper” with news of interest to people in Weimar and Apolda, complete with assorted “news” items, advertisements and inserts promoting:
    • Globus (a large hypermarket. Nearest location non on any local bus route-in vicinity of Jena)
    • Edeka Herkules Supermarket. Location nearby in Weimar Atrium—walkable
    • Mobilecom, a wireless communications marketing company promoting all mobile companies.

Thursday, June 4:

Friday, June 5:

  • Election Campaign Material:
    • FDP for Frank Müller
    • FDP for Dr. Silvana Koch-Mehrin

Saturday, June 6, First Wave:

  • Oscar am Freitag (A Day Late, obviously. “Newspaper” with articles about being single.)
  • Globus Baumarkt Flyer
  • Globus
  • Election Campaign Material:
    • FDP for Bernhard Oedekoven

Saturday, June 6, Second Wave:

  • Die Hallos in Thüringen (Thick, folded in half, end sticking out of post box into the rain, so it had a rather moist tip)
    • Newspaper with Picture of Obama laying rose on cover, filled with lots of small advertisements.
    • MediaMarkt pullout (Nearest MediaMarkt is in Jena, maybe one in Erfurt)
    • DGS – “der Getränke Spezialist”
    • Müller (Drug Store)
    • real,- Hypermarket with groceries, clothing, and more
    • Netto Marken-Discount Discount supermaket, makes Aldi look la-di-da.
    • Hear the World (Get a hearing test–are you DEAF? GET A HEARING TEST!)
    • Autonews Section
    • Aldi Markt
    • Edeka Aktiv Markt
    • Envelope with faux stamp and, inside, a flyer for POM Lady-You will get thin. At first I thought faux stamp showed a lady wearing panties and a strange device covering up her crotch. Honestly my first thought was it was going to advertise charcol filter panties for gassy women, and then I realize the envelope also said, “Schlank and Straff is Schöner” – “Slim and Tight is Beautiful”. After that I wonder what kind of fat0vibrator was going to be promoted.

Sunday, June 7, First Wave:

  • RathausKurier, regular edition
  • Allgemeiner Anzeiger – this managed to smash my copy of the Economist in the mailbox. Second edition in this week.  Newspaper features photo of Barack Obama with Elie Wiesel. Inside: “news”, Trabi Love, lots of little ads, Travel classifieds (rent a house on the Baltic!), Sports section with housing adverts and other “news”.  All of this wrapped around inserts for:
    • tegut (Supermarket, nearest location hard to get to from where I live)
    • ProMarkt (Electronics Store somewhat like Circuit City, only dressed in Yellow)
    • toom Markt (Hypermarket type of store, hard to get to from where I live)
    • Schlecker (Drugstore)
    • Lidl (Supermarket)
    • Thomas Philipps (Never heard of them-looks like some kind of faux housing store with low quality crap at prices that are both expensive and cheap at the same time–nearest location: Erfurt or Jena.)
    • Edeka Hurkules (Supermarket)
    • Rossman (Drugstore)
    • Dietz Hair Salon.
    • Versatel
    • Saturn (Electronics Superstore–think Best Buy but better quality staff)
  • Election Campaign Material
    • SPD for Sven Steinbrück. Randomly, I find it funny that the first pieces of information that we learn about Sven is that he was born August 12, 1984, in Weimar, and is single.

Sunday, June 7, Second Wave:

  • “Tip der Woche” — the “newspaper” for Kaufland, a shop I’ve only heard rumors that exists, and there is a location, surprisingly close to nowhere. Judging from the advertisements its a combo clothing, food, and bedding shop.

Monday, June 8:

…and then there was none.

7 comments to Werbung

  • I need to get one of those anti-Werbung signs. We can’t put one up ourselves, though.

    One of the delivery services for these things actually leaves a big stack of them in front of our building on the step some days. Then whoever actually delivers them comes to pick them up from there. Every time I’m so tempted to take the whole pile and throw it in the trash!!

    • I would guess that unwanted Werbung is one of the leading contributors to the recycling or trash bins–if it was opt-in instead of opt-out, the environment would be a lot better off.

  • “monday – and then there was none.”
    HA HA!

  • Jul

    “…featuring stuff you buy when drunk”

    Like greasy food, expensive taxi rides, and hookers?

  • G

    Kaufland is a great supermarket we were finally able to reach when we got a car. Prices are half what they are in central Berlin and they have a great selection of produce (including elusive items I usually need to go to halal markets for-like risotto rice and celery). Very like American supermarkets.I don’t go to Lidl anymore, or the local Kaisers.

    We just taped “Keine Werbung” on our box and we don’t get anything at all.

  • @Anki: Monday was the best.

    @Jul: In this case, non-prescription reading glasses and Slovenian Euro coin sets.

    @G: I could get to one on a bus here, but I value my time more–the Kaufland is up a nasty hill and probably a good 45 minute to hour walk. I have three markets that are 4 minutes away, and if I extend my circle to a ten minute walk I have at least 6, if not more.

    • G

      I like the indented reply feature.
      Yes, that’s why we never went to it until we got a car: I couln’t have safely made it there and back after dropping the children, to have time to get them. Although I don’t “need” a car in Berlin, it has made a vast positive difference in my life. Primarily in ferrying the children around while still having some time left over, but also for things like being able to save 50% on marketing and shopping.