Trebah Gardens

Trebah Gardens

As I wrote in a recent post, I am planning to go on a tour in England this summer. Following your very kind recommendations, I finally booked a tour that will take my mother and me to Bath, Glastonbury & Wells, Devon, Cornwall, Stonehenge, and Salisbury on the way back. I am looking forward to it very much! (An added bonus: I will be in England at the time of Prince William’s wedding!)

There were complications, however. My mother suddenly remembered she had an important meeting the week we had originally planned on going (fortunately, she remembered before I booked!). Then I found out that an English friend of mine is in worse health than I thought, and that I really ought to to and see her before or after the bus tour. So my mother and I needed seperate flights back, and I needed further accommodation. With the internet at my disposal it would be easy, or so you’d think. Turns out, it wasn’t quite.

I found flights easily enough, but as not just the day of the week, even the time of the day when I’d have to travel was predetermined by the bus tour, I had very little choice in which flight to take. The relevant weekdays being Saturday and Sunday, there were no bargain flights either – or rather, there were none that would’t have meant either getting up at three in the morning, or spending the night at the airport in anticipation of an early morning flight. So I finally decided upon the most convenient times for my travel schedule, and while I didn’t quite pay through my nose, still the tickets were not as cheap as others.

Rather surprisingly, this caused a minor inner crisis. For a while I felt almost ashamed for having bought the comparatively expensive tickets. You are told all over – in ads, by colleagues at work, by friends and relatives – how small an effort it takes nowadays to buy everything, and most of all flight tickets, at absolute bargain prices, if only you are clever and streetwise (netwise?) enough. So I felt dumb after I’d bought my tickets.

After a while, I came out of the dumps and realised that while I had not excelled in the field of thriftiness, at least I had arranged everything so it would be most comfortable for myself, and my mother. Still, if colleagues should ask me how much I paid for the tickets, I don’t think I will tell them.

Have you been caught in this tight spot between economy and convenience? Do you feel there is great social pressure always to watch out, keen as an eagle, for every bargain possible? Or could that (heavens forbid!) be something that’s typical for German society at the moment?

– Rike Horstmann

About the author

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High school teacher. Soccer fan (Werder Bremen, yeah!). Knitter and book-binder. Devotee of mathematical puzzles. German.