The Cautious Nature of the German Gentlefolk


Don't expect me to be too harsh here--the article implies waste but I don't think you can call it a waste of money when it does, in fact, bring peace of mind.

The Germans appear to be a very cautious and careful group (there are exceptions of course). Based on living in Southern Germany now for about two years, I think there is an admirable trait expressed in planning and care for a "rainy day." We live in the Black Forest region; cutting and stacking wood appears to be a regular hobby with many people. It is common to see wood cut precisely and stripped of bark and dried and stacked and covered virtually everywhere. Over the course of two years, the same wood piles that were in place two years ago are untouched. Apple trees are groomed and harvested with regularity; apples are rarely wasted. Bricks and stones and anything of excess is saved and reused.

I think there is a cultural belief at work here; waste is wrong. Waste is to be avoided. But the act of doing things that, seemingly, don't save money is mitigated by the fact that doing these things brings peace of mind.