Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel will be retiring this month after 16 years as one of the world’s most respected leaders and probably the busiest. Even when in power, she still does her own grocery shopping.
Now with her conservative Christian Democratic Unition party losing to the left-leaning Social Democrats in the parliamentary election, she’ll have more time to shop for bargains.
So, if you happen to be in Berlin at her neighborhood supermarket, be careful not to bump into a meticulously organized, well stocked ex-Chancellor’s cart.
The new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will have colossal shoes to fill as Merkel leaves behind a transformed Germany not only wealthier, but more Angelic.
Paying homage to her distinctly un-highness nature, refugee families named children after her in praise of her having invited over a million immigrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere to live in Germany.
Well before the election Merkel had admitted her party could finally lose power as opinion polls showed support for her party plummeting. Ever the realist, Chancellor said she was always aware her party wouldn’t win ‘automatically.’ Yet her lengthy service was no surprise, for unlike in America where voters like change, in Germany what seems to count more is stability.
While not the most genteel or elegant world leader, Merkel brought a sound physics and chemistry scientific background to the job, along with a razor sharp mind, keen eyes, but maybe not the flashiest wardrobe. She speaks German, English and Russian and led the strongest economy in the European Union in its most potent and prolific part, Germany.
As high as she was on the importance scale, she reportedly received no free state service, no housing, no electricity, no gas, no entertainment expenses, no personal chef, no water, no free telephone from the Budget of the Federal Republic of Germany.
During her 16 years in politics, she has never hired a relative and lives her life humbly like any other German citizen. She does her own shopping (pictured above in a Berlin supermarket), carries her own shopping bags, pays for her groceries and, if she receives a parking ticket, pays out of her own pocket.
A journalist recently asked her, “Do you remember that I took a picture of you in this same dress ten years ago?
She replied, ‘My mission is to serve the Germans, not be a model.’
Besides an inveterate blogger, Tom Madden is an author of countless published articles and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available this summer on Amazon. He is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm serving clients worldwide since 1981 and has conducted remarkably successful media campaigns and crisis management for America’s largest companies and organizations.