The Wal-Mart effect certainly hasn't reached customer care in its German competitors' stores. A British couple based in Germany visited a Real store recently and wanted to buy a statuette. Unfortunately it didn't have a price label so the husband, who speaks fluent German, went in search of an assistant. Finding one wasn't easy because wearing a uniform (at least in the service sector) does not appear to be part of the German psyche. Having found an assistant in plain clothes stacking shelves, he asked whether she could find out the price. "Well I'll have to go into the storeroom, there's a huge price list and it'll take me ages," she said, showing no willingness to do so. So he asked whether they could help at the checkout, to which she replied: "Oh no, if you do that they'll call me over. I'll have to stop what I'm doing and look up the price." "You don't really want me to buy this do you?" he asked, and got a curt "no". Showing typical British resourcefulness, he found another price label and stuck it on the statue. Luckily the till operator didn't notice when it came up as bananas. {{COUNTERPOINT }}