Aside from a piece on Charlotte Roche rather low in new content, today's Observer also picks up on a Spiegel report from last month. Apparently, the Germans are all much of a muchness. You can read the rather long original article here.
Spiegel compiled all sorts of statistical information on consumer behaviour from various sources and then filled in the gaps with its own survey of 1000 Germans. So that counts out a lot of the people living in Germany, for a start. But what they came up with were statistical averages - German women eat 57.3 kilos of fruit a year. German men walk 4.2 km a week. 2/3 of German women know what a probiotic yoghurt is. 43% of Germans make phone calls in the kitchen. The latest books on their shelves are Harry Potter, Moppel-Ich, The Easy Way to Stop Smoking and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. All very interesting for advertising companies.
But what does it tell us about the actual Germans? Just because the statistical average is 57.3 kilos of fruit a year, that doesn't mean that the woman next door eats more cherries on a Tuesday than I eat bananas, does it? It's a generalisation, and Spiegel admits as much. Joe Q Public and his wife Rhonda-Lou don't actually exist, they say. But - the Germans recognise themselves in those averages more than they find comfortable.
Join in the fun and find out just how German you are in the Spiegel's quiz. I scored 8 out of 10. Not bad, eh? Although some of the questions actually identified me as a functioning European adult - "Can you cook?" for example.