Bonn. An online chat with the help desk at a major telecommunications company. It’s about my mobile phone service.
German Company: “A hearty welcome to your personal online help, etc. You are speaking with Hans.”
Magee: “Hi, Hans. I have an xyz contract. Can I add my 17-year old son to it?
Hans: “No. Your son can only have his own contract after he turns 18.”
That “No” struck me as rather direct, hard, immovable.
An “American Hans” would have written something like: “We would love to add your son to your contract. And we have all sorts of flexible ways for you to configure your family plan. To give your son, at age 17, his own contract is unfortunately not permitted by law. We apologize for the inconvenience. Would you like to hear about our family plan options?”
But the chat with Mike continued and he gave me helpful information and quickly. I was thankful.