Yeah, the Germans can do some great work...but only if they have the right tools, materials, etc. The story above about the third world tech. trying to hammer in a screw is true...but if an American thought this was the only way to get the job done, he would give the tech a bigger hammer!
The Germans on the other hand, would refuse to touch the job until they had that #2 schraubenzieher and no other. Consequently, the task would remain untouched and incomplete until they received the proper screwdriver from a tool and die maker back in the Vaterland.
I've seen a German engineer tear his hair and leave the site in a huff because the Greek stonemason couldn't read his blueprints and consequently did not put a hole in the wall at the proper place for a waveguide run. The American, on the other hand, would just tell the mason to get out his hammer and chisel and knock a hole in the wall THERE, where he marked it with chalk. Give me American ingenuity anyday!
The French engineers always cried and complained they could not get started on a job because a) there were not proper toilet facilities close enough b) it was too hot/cold c) they were on sympathy strike with the French railroad workers/fishermen/chicken farmers/vintners, etc.
The Brits never complained about anything, but they never really accomplished anything...were more into keeping a stiff upper lip and appearances than actually doing the work.
My favorites were the Danes. NATO decided that all NATO troops should eat the same food and the Danes got the contract to provide on-site food for all the military.
They delivered wonderful meals: ham and eggs and biscuits and toast for breakfast, meat and potatoes for lunch and excellent fish suppers. After a week or two, I noticed that the Greek soldiers were not very enthusiastic about their mealtimes...they should have been starving by the time the chow wagon arrived.
They would usually invite me and the other on-site reps to partake of their meals with them...there was plenty to go around. One day I asked if I could help repay them for their kindness...it was a couple of hours ride down the mountain to find a place that sold food.
They said if I wanted to contribute to their olive oil fund they would be very thankful. "What was the fund for?", I asked. They explained that the wonderful NATO meals had gotten them all constipated and only by saturating all the wonderful Danish catering in olive oil were they able to achieve any degree of regularity.
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