On pillows, and the relative difficulty in locating Them

Posted on Friday, Jul 24, 2015

German pillows are just the worst. Don’t get me wrong, I love Germany, but they just don’t seem to understand the fine art of sleeping comfortably. Instead, they prefer these massive, square fabric bags that they lightly stuff with a powder coating of down feathers. Needless to say, one of the first items on my arrival to-do list was to locate a better pillow.
This was surprisingly difficult. You see, Germany doesn’t have supermarkets like Target or Wal-Mart. They have “Supermärkte,” but these are really just grocery stores, and don’t have pillows. Germans tend to prefer small, specialty shops, and so I dutifully set out to find one that purveyed plush pillows. I tried about seven different stores. Seven.
  • Three turned out to be high-end designer boutiques that sold plenty of throws, but not a single one of my needed “Kopfkissen.”
  • One was an old-fashioned housewares store, which was very neat, but mostly they just sold pricy coffee machines and electric drills, and no pillows.
  • The next two were discount chains: big, international ones. But Woolworth’s had none, and TK Maxx—yes, that’s TK Maxx—sold every bit of household equipment but pillows. 
Finally, I gave up. My independent explorer was exhausted, and so I just asked a clerk at one of the failed stores where I might find a regular old pillow. “Karstadt,” he said. Karstadt is a department store like Macy’s or Dillard’s, and lo and behold, there they were! Thick, supportive pillows just like back home. Unfortunately, Karstadt is pretty high-end, so I paid a decent sum for my bit of American luxury abroad. But the sweet night’s sleep that followed was well worth it.
This is TK Maxx. It's just like TJ Maxx, but with a K. Also, they sell Lederhosen.But to cap it all off, over the course of the next few weeks, I accidentally stumbled across no fewer than three far cheaper stores that sold far better pillows… Oh well, you live and learn. In any case, sleep is worth a sacrifice or two. How about you? Tell us about 
your attempts to sleep comfortable abroad! Bed bugs, straw mattresses, loud neighbors, leg los, Leute!

Hunter Hampton
Institut für Europäische Politik
Berlin, Germany - Summer 2015

Tags: Abroad, Germany, Intern, Life, Pillows