January 4, 2011

Shoplifting in Munich, Germany?



    As the Munich, Germany, shopkeeper looked at me with suspicion, I knew he was about to call the police to accuse me of shoplifting.

     We spent two weeks in Munich, Germany, visiting my son when he held a post-doctorate position at the Max Planck Institute. While there, I was almost arrested for shoplifting another local newspaper.

     Early one day my husband and I stopped at the newspaper office, located off the main square. It was a site I wanted to visit, since I’d written for numerous local newspapers—all in rural towns.

     The lobby was akin to those found in large city newspaper offices. There was a manned desk, with a gate preventing entry to the offices to all but those with authorization. 

     “Can I purchase a newspaper?” I asked the woman at the desk, hoping she would understand me, since my grasp of the German language goes no further than “Sprechen die Deutsch?”   

     The woman, in broken English, communicated to us that they didn’t sell newspapers in the lobby.

     “You have to go to the kiosk in the square,” she instructed.

     We left the lobby and stopped at the ticker tape outside the office. I casually leaned against the stand, and held up a copy of the Greensburg (Pennsylvania) Tribune Review (Fay-West section), acting like I was “reading” it. Monte had the camera to take the picture.

     Suddenly, three people ran out of the newspaper office, yelling at us. It stunned me—what were we doing wrong? (more…)

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