Faster, faster and faster the world turns. Working life is subject to digital transformation. Those who don’t adapt will fall by the wayside. The beverage retailer doesn’t care.
Every morning, except on Sundays, she fetches the newspaper from the mailbox just before nine o’clock, opens the door of her shop, turns on the neon lights in the shop window, then turns on the cash register on the old wooden table. She swaps her winter jacket with the blue apron hanging from the hook in the small toilet, over which she pulls a blue wool jacket. It is cold here, 60 square meters of an old building, divided into three rooms, in which she breathes life for 36 years.
In the former working-class district of Munich there is hectic activity. Wide and expensive cars meander through the narrow streets, scaffolding blocks the way in many places. The houses, which have not yet been renovated, are hidden behind tarps. Later they show themselves refurbished and divided into individual possessions. “So it is with the inherited houses,” says the beverage retailer, “the old owners die and then everything is split up to share ownership.”
Stacking and calculating
She folds up the green wool cushion on the wooden chair, climbs onto the chair and opens the top tilting window. Fresh and clear, like an autumn day, it smells. Not for old beer, although the empty beer crates, which may still have leftover beer, are stacked in the back room. Proper ventilation is important to her.
The beverage dealer pushes the meter high stacked crates cleverly to the door. On Wednesdays the driver comes from the beverage wholesalers for water, juice and beer – except for the Augustiner beer, there comes the driver on Fridays. Equipped with two empty crates, it goes over the well-worn stone stairs on the sidewalk. The Twenties, Twelve and Six crates are piled together to towers on the left and right of the door. It is best always stacked to four crates, then the calculation for the deposit goes faster. Twenties-crate at 3.10 euros, twenties with ironing closure at 4.50 euros, twelve waterbottles crate at 3.30 euros. Only the beer crate divisible into 6 and 12 bottles is the most expensive with 4,80 Euro – probably because it is so customer-friendly.
“My parents have never talked much.” The father has witnessed two world wars and comes from a small farm in Lower Bavaria. Not being the firstborn, he had to look for work outside. The mother, a Upper Bavarian, 13 years younger than the father, worked as a housekeeper. The beverage retailer can only remember a few stops of her childhood. Too many moves, but Amerang Castle and especially the racecourse in Daglfing are in the memory. The parents had taken over farming there and she and her three siblings helped out in the stables of the racecourse. At the age of 15, she began an apprenticeship as a cook at Dallmayr in Dienerstraße in Munich. “At the Dallmayr is still unlocked today at 9:30 clock as earlier. Nothing has changed.” The apprenticeship was a hard time, and she had to give part of the salary to her parents for living and dining. “Once you get married, you get the money back as a dowry.”
“With you, it’s like being in a confessional, just without penance,” says one customer. “I’m just coming because of you,” says another. Even Till Hoffmann, a well-known member of the Munich cultural scene, has tweeted under @SZ_Muenchen: “We do not know each other, but I admire her.” Why are all these people raving for my drinks retailer? It’s their authenticity.
American social psychologists Michael Kernis and Brian Goldman describe a person described as “authentic” in their impact as particularly “genuine.” It conveys a picture of oneself that the viewer perceives as real, original, unadulterated. It is not a quality of a person, but a judgment of others. Authenticity is a label that is attached to a person or not. You can’t pin it on yourself – the attempt makes it inauthentic.
My beverage retailer designs her shop with a lot of love and her own preferences. On the walls hang photographs of the street sweeper and photographer Frank Eydner (Franky), black-and-white photographs of Munich then and now, painted calendar sheets of brewery calendars with Bayern motifs, the Deutschlandfahne, a horseshoe. In summer, there are geraniums on the windowsills outside, in winter pots of fir green and mistletoe. Advertising posters for trendy hipster drinks can not be found here.
Life’s control centre
She has no website, no Facebook entry, no mobile phone. With her forest green telephone with landline connection, which stands on her small desk in the middle room, she records all orders, delivery dates and customer requests. Here is the control center of her life, the room is office, kitchen, pantry and warehouse all rolled into one.
“It’s hard earned money – that’s why I have the workers hands.” By holiday she always understands only three-day tours: To the mountains for hiking, city tours to Vienna or Rome; The best way to do is to combine mountain and city. She enjoys the work. “I’m almost always in the store, this is my home.” She has worked hard for her clientele. Some put their empty basket in the store in the morning and pick it up in the evening filled again. “I do not deliver.” She sees it as a give and take.
The store bell rings. Raphael, the hairdresser, in the trendy camouflage parka and his pug Christel come in. “As always please.” She exchanges the empties for the three bottles of St. Leonard’s Water, intended for the discerning barber clientele and the two Augustiner bottles, after-work beer, for him and his friend Michael. “4.30 euros.” As a farewell, she strokes Christel extensively on the back “Here she likes most.” Outside the door, I ask Raphael why he doesn’t go to one of the many supermarkets nearby. “I like to come here, it’s part of my everyday life for me. The beverage retailer is interesting, quaint. When there is time, we rattle over our neighbourhood. The store is my resting place, nothing changes here.”