Friday, March 12, 2010

Black is Beautiful

Yesterday I went to a black butcher. I don't mean that his skin color was black. Here in Germany, they have a saying – Black is beautiful. The Germans pay a lot in taxes. Over 50%. Every month, approximately 2 ½ weeks of their pay goes for taxes. Because of this, they frequent black businesses whenever possible. This means that they pay cash, the business owner charges the customer less and doesn't claim it for taxes.

My upstairs neighbor knows a lot of people. We were told from the beginning that things move slow in Germany unless you have a lot of money or you know someone. Lucky for us, we know Armin. If he can't get something done, he knows who can. Ooh, that sounded kinda mobsterish, didn't it? I don't know that he can get that done, but… That's better off left alone. Anyway, I get a bit of a kick when we get to see a part of Germany that most foreigners don't.

So, I got about 2 kilos of freshly ground and made sausage (or wurst), no preservatives or added stuff. This butcher, or metzgerei, makes everything himself. He's actually a retired butcher and now has a 'shop' attached to his home that he opens to customers one day a week. So, of course we had sausage for dinner last night. Which is also a German thing. It's fun and pretty filling. We barely made a dent in what I bought before we were full.

Anyway, I thought I'd share another Bavarian custom with you today. And if you were here, I'd share some sausage.

Have you ever done black business?


Bart said...

In NY we called it "under the table." Refers to payoffs being passed to politicians, but could mean anyone doing business while avoiding official notice.

Hooray for the metzgerei!

GPS said...

OMG! 50% taxes. And I complain about ours. What do they get in return?

Carly Carson said...

Most Americans have no idea how much they pay as a percentage because they never add it all up. Just as an aside.

Anyone who has ever paid a sitter or cleaning person has probably done 'black business'. (I guess it keeps you in the black, huh?) So I've done it. When I had a full time sitter I wanted to pay legally, but NO ONE would consider it. They all had govt. checks they didn't want to jeopardize with a pay check. I learned a lot about the underground economy.

Rachel Lynne said...

We own a business and will sometimes pay employees under the table but you can't do it for long or you end up paying income tax on that money as profit. Every once in a while though helps us not have to meet the match the FICA tax and it lets the employee get a bit more take home pay: and lets face it, Social Security is broke so not receiving a couple of dollars here and there isn't gonna hurt them.
I have to say that the German's are incredibly tolerant to peacefully accept a 50+% tax. Of course, Americans often pay that much and more between Fed and State: NY pays something like 60%! Outrageous and about time we put a stop to the entitlement programs that cause our ever increasing taxes. Ok, off my soap box ...
I wish we had black business' they'd be all I used!

Mary Ricksen said...

I hate taxes!!!

Amber Green said...

Here's a link for US workers to calculate your personal Tax Freedom Day:

I have not checked the accuracy of this one, but such calculations tend to be interesting even when inaccurate.

Riley Quinn said...

I think U.S. taxes end up being something like 37%. That's federal. If the state has a tax, it could be more. The Germans pay about 56% but they also get health care and other benefits. Not sure what all those benefits are though.

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