I’ve already posted this on Quora.But it also fits here.
Some time ago in Hanover-Südstadt I wanted to register for the PostIdent procedure.So I printed out and filled out the necessary documents, got your passport and left for the post office.
There was a huge snake.And only two employees. They kind of worked in slow motion.
A feeling eternity later, it’s my turn.I put down the PostIdent documents and my passport. The postman starts typing everything into the computer.
Do you know this from comic shows, where a character with two fingers taps, sweat beads on his forehead, tongue stuck sideways out of his mouth?And he has to look for the button every time? Congratulations, you have just the right symbol. Tip… Tip… Tip… auweia, wrong… Delete button… Tip…
So he comes to the field of citizenship and starts typing:
United States of America
That strikes me and I suggest simply entering the United States.Oh no, he says with a serious expression, we must not shorten anything. Someone might misunderstand it.
I have to look for my version now, because I suddenly lost it.
Meanwhile, he looks at the screen with his forehead folded. I see that it says:
United States of Amer
The field is too short.So he tries to type it in: United States v.America. What any idiot could have seen that it doesn’t work.And I make the mistake of reminding him that he must not abbreviate anything. Oh yes, right, he says gratefully. Inside, I’m screaming at myself, you idiot!
At this moment (don’t forget, there’s a huge queue and only two employees) the colleague joins in.I suggest simply writing United States.The honourable Member is outraged and says, ‘That is not possible! There are other countries that are called that!” I reply, oh yes? Name which ones. He pusses angrily and storms away.
(I’m a geography nerd and I know myself.More on that later.)
The first postman stands helpless and lost in thought.I implore him to just write USA.He beckons kindly but resignedly. You shouldn’t shorten anything — after all, it might be that one does not know what USA means (quotes!).
In the meantime, the honourable Member appears triumphant with an expression (!!!) from the list of country names.”I knew! There is the United States of Micronesia!” I reply, no, there are the Federated States of Micronesia.He is outraged and says decisively, no, that cannot be the case, Deutsche Post is always right!
So what do they do in the end?
There is indeed the United Mexican States. But there is an official list of country names in the permitted spelling by the Universal Postal Union.
The United States is listed as united States, United States, Ets-Unis, or United States. There really are no other countries with the United States in their name.
In addition, the Deutsche Post website provides an example of this image:
By the way, the address in the picture is incorrect.
We never have a comma after the house number.
Another story: Once in the 90s, during the Bosnian war, I was at the foreigners’ office because of my visa.I was waiting at the door of the office.
I watched a man desperately trying to fill out forms.He was obviously on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Coincidentally, I recognized the sign on his passport: Serbia.
Coincidentally, I can use the Cyrillic alphabet.In fact, the pass was only in Cyrillic or Serbian and he could hardly use the Latin alphabet. So I offered him my help. He was completely relieved. Together we completed the asylum application.
Soon after, it was my turn.I walked in. The office was a double room, with two clerks next to each other. The clerk greeted me kindly and received my documents. We chatted a bit. The usual compliments to my German. Everything in the green area.
Coincidentally, the Serb is also on it and is ordered in.He trembled like a leaf and gave them the request. As soon as the colleague had the request in his hand, he yelled at the poor man. Quote:
What did YOU do for a SCHEISSE?
The man visibly shrugged and tried to justify himself in broken German.Both colleagues have started to finish it. Until I said, “Uh, that was me. I tried to help him with the motion. If there’s something wrong, it’s my fault.’
Suddenly her face changed and suddenly everything was supi nice and friendly.
I will never forget that.And now I am helping refugees with administrative procedures in order to prevent such a thing in the future.