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  • Writer's picturekatjagschulz

Made in Germany - what means quality to the world, results in horror for me

Of course, it means that something was manufactured in Germany.

I still remember how I went all the way down to kneel with both legs, hands flat on the floor, and to bend my head as far as possible underneath a bike that was standing on display at Halfords. I was desperate to see the label stuck under the lowest bar of the bike to find out whether it would read “Made in Germany” or not. If I had seen those three words, I’d have pulled my head away immediately again and abandoned the idea of purchasing that bike.

But, relieved, I stood back up again and whispered into Neil’s ear: “Thank goodness, it isn’t made in Germany. It says ‘Made in Tunisia’”.

And of course, I then felt the embarrassment caused by my action and what all the other customers around might be thinking about me: “What is that lunatic doing there, crawling around on the floor?”

Neil said that maybe they just thought I was an expert on bikes and where to look to determine whether it was a good one or not. Yeah, in fact I did – I was looking for “Made in Germany” after all – the quality tag.

As a country, Germany uses the “Made in Germany” tag as a brand. These three words are synonymous with quality, durability and reliability. The term has its own Wikipedia site. “Made in Germany” is the world’s leading quality label; Germany comes out on top as most trusted, with Switzerland in second place.

I also still remember how I once explained my OCD to another couple with whom we are friends. I had told them that I avoid everything to do with Germany as it makes me dirty. We also told them, on the same day, that we were looking to get some bikes to be able to get around easier. The man of the couple works at another bike company and said, “Well, when I tell my customers that this or that bike was Made in Germany, they will always say, ‘Great, we take it!’”

When Neil and I lived in France, I made us buy a Spanish washing machine. The button for the 90°C-programme broke within the first 6 months. There are people in Germany who have had their washing machines for 15 years.

The Tunisian bikes that we bought from Halfords, three years ago, here in England, are partly rusted, the lights are broken, mudguards are wobbly and all in all, they just aren’t very good. Rickety, I would say!

Germany makes good cars, washing machines, fridges, electric tools, window frames, computers, clothes (adidas, Puma) bathroom products (Schwarzkopf) etc. The list is looooong!

And YET, for me, “Made in Germany” means horror, emotional suffering, anxiety, discomfort etc. Not quality. My Emotional Contamination OCD is all about Germany and my parents. See previous post: When OCD Gets Out of Control (

It saddens me that I am still unable to use German things as much as I would like. However, I am definitely making progress. Last Sunday, I took another step. And apart from ‘freeing’ myself more and more, I received a sweet reward afterwards: while I’ve used shower gels, a hair shampoo and a body lotion “Made in Germany” already, I had shied away from using a German hair-colouring product. I felt that ‘sticking’ it permanently to my head was simply too much. I remember someone recommending Schwarzkopf to me, maybe a year or so ago, and I thought to myself “No, never ever will I be able to use that. I will always have to find a different one.”

I coloured my hair with the French product L’Oréal instead. I had some difficulties with it, since my hair turned out too yellow each time. On Sunday, I was brave and finally used the Schwarzkopf product made in Germany, and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the result. Nothing was too yellow. What a reward!

This is how ERP works the best – when you get a wonderful reward at the same time that makes you smile in addition to fighting back against your compulsions.

A paragraph from my book, One Of Us Has To Go, on “Made in Germany”:

The slats of my blinds are dusty. They need cleaning. Softly, I move my finger over one at chest height. Sonja wouldn’t stick her finger into that kind of dirt. Not without protecting it. She would use something like a tissue. Maybe even put rubber gloves on. Brushing dust off the slats with a naked finger is forbidden. But it’s not the dust that is the problem. No, the dust is not the dirty thing. It’s the slats of the blinds themselves. Made in Germany is written on one of them. That’s why they are dirty. She still hasn’t come to terms with her own roots.

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out my website as well: 😊

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