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ANHANG zu: Impacts of Interdependencies between Strategies on an Individual's Increase in Relative Status - An Exploratory Study

©2011 Masterarbeit 511 Seiten


Es handelt sich bei dieser Datei um den Anhang der Masterarbeit 'Impacts of Interdependencies between Strategies on an Individual's Increase in Relative Status - An Exploratory Study'
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Interview Guide
Sample and Notes from the Author about the Interviews
Interview Transcripts
Interview 1
Interview 2
Interview 3
Interview 4
Interview 5
Interview 6
Interview 7
Interview 8
Interview 9
Interview 10
Interview 11
Interview 12
Interview 13
Interview 14
Interview 15
Interview 16
Interview 17
Interview 18
Interview 19
Interview 20


Interview Guide

General Questions:

- How do you define status for yourself? If you hear the concept of status what comes into your mind?
- Would you say that status is only material things (houses, cars) or rather immaterial (education)?
- What kind of tangible and intangible things do you value most when you think about status?
- How do your show your status to different people?
- Do you look at other families?
- Do you just define for yourself what satisfaction is?
- Do you feel status worthy if you have the feeling that you do better than other people?
- Do you think it’s a logical consequence of mainstream society that people always try to be better than others?
- Do associate something positive or negative with status?
- How do you make sure that you communicate your status to someone who you do not know in a relatively short time?
- How do you create your self-esteem?
- Is there anything in your life that makes you proud?
- Does it make you happier to get compliments without prior notice?

Demographic implications:

- Do you try to maximize your own status with the help of your children?
- Did / do you plan to have a certain number of children?
- Do you think that your children’s education could affect your own status if your children?
- How important is the education of children for you?
- How important is it for you to do things which others in your life are not anymore able to do?
- What impact had the upbringing through your parents on your definition of status?
- Do you often reflect what you have already achieved in life? With whom do you mostly compare yourself?
- Do you think it was advantage for you to be an only child to achieve a certain status?
- Can you profit from the status of your husband?
- Do you tend to compare yourself with your colleagues children or do you tend to compare yourself with what your colleagues have achieved, academically or scientifically?
- Does your opinion about status reflect how your parents define status or did you deliberately took a different stance?
- Do you tend to compare yourself with people of your own age or deliberately with younger people to put some intrinsic pressure on yourself to look just as young?
- Do you think that you can improve your own status situation through the education of your children?
- How do you describe your role in your family? In what way do you behave differently to your family?
- Do you show others your achievements in your job? Do you think there is a need for you to communicate this to other people?

- Did you show your status in a different way when you were younger?

- As a child, did you often show things you got from other people?
- Was there something you wanted to impress other people with?

Buying rare & expensive goods:

- Do you feel satisfaction through consumption?
- What do you think of luxury goods? Do you consume them?
- Is it important for you to buy branded products?
- Is it important for you that you are the first one who owns a specific product?
- If someone tells you how much he spent for a gift, is this a reason for you to spend more?
- Do you want to be perceived as an exotic person?
- If you buy certain products what is important for you?
- Is it important to safe your money for a big investment than doing several small investments?
- How important is the visibility of brand labels for you?
- Is important for you to involve also others in your consumption patterns by showing them your status?
- Do you specifically consume eye-catching products?

Change of the reference group:

- Did you change your group of friends in the past? If yes, why?
- Do you care to belong to a certain class of people?
- Did you systematically choose your friends to have a relatively good status position?
- How do you explain that you place such importance on other people’s opinions?
- How did your social environment change over the time?
- Have you made the experience that someone in your environment has changed significantly?
- Do you remember any special incident which might have changed your friendship?

- Were there people in your circle of friends whose behavior disturbed you? If

yes, did you decide to turn away from them?

- Why did you break up the friendship? Envy?

- Do you feel kind of special in your group?
- If you see that anybody does not listen to you anymore and nobody cares about your opinion. Would this lead you to change your definition of status?
- How do you deal with people you don’t like, who don’t esteem you?
- Is it important for you that others have a certain impression of you?
- You are xx years old, do you see it as a status symbol that you have achieved so much and are able to withdraw from professional life already?
- Do you pay attention that you are the only person in your circle of friends who consume specific products?
- What led you to change your reference group?

- Why don’t you anymore compare yourself with the typical discounter consumer after several years?

- Do you want to impress others with your style? If yes, whom?
- Do you make any differences in your behavior between your private and your business function?
- What kind of role does your personal environment play when you make certain decisions?
- Do you think you did not make so many friends later in life, because later everything is more about competition?
- Do you have certain role models in your life?
- Why do you compare yourself to specific people?
- Would you change your circle of friends in order to be happier?
- Do you define your status satisfaction compared to others? Or do you think that status is more about the own satisfaction and happiness?
- Do you think it makes someone successful if he’s able to fulfill many different roles?
- Does it put pressure on yourself if someone around you shows-off in the city? Would you go with such a person through the city?
- Do you feel that other people could feel envious towards you?
- Do you shop with other people who can afford much more than you?
- Do you feel devalued in your personality if your friend can afford everything and you preferably go into smaller shops?
- If someone in your circle of friends defines himself through material things, would this be a reason for you to turn away from him because you would not recognize yourself in this friendship?
- What influence do your friends or the people you know have on things you consume?

Status Races (Overconsumption):

- Does it sometimes happen that you buy a product which exceeds your financial possibilities?
- If yes, what kind of products were these?
- Do you consume more than you would rationally do in order to compensate your envy?
- How important is the visibility of the brand names, logos etc. of the products you consume / wear?
- Do you follow the consumption wave? If yes, why?
- Do you wear certain clothes from certain brands in order get a certain status?
- Do you try to be the fish which swims against the stream?
- Do you often show your possessions to others?
- Do you think you could reach a certain status by showing others that you not as mainstream as most people?
- How important is money for you?
- You do you only buy ‘specific’ products at H&M which are not as conspicuous?
- Do you look on other people and say that you want to be dressed better than him or her?
- With whom do you compare when you consume a lot?
- What do you compare with others (rather tangible goods or intangible goods)?
- Do you try to compete through consumption?
- Do you think that status is only visible if you give more than other people?
- Would it put pressure on you if someone suggests having a certain status?
- In Germany it is very common to buy a car on credit. Do you think that this is necessary because other people do this as well? Does it make you confident that other people also purchase their car on credit?
- Have you ever taken a loan? If yes, for what kind of investment?
- In what sense do you compete with others? Rather in terms of tangible products or rather intangible products?
- Is it important for you that your name appears on lists?
- Do you need to consume more than others for more happiness?
- Do you have an IPhone?
- What did cause to spend so much money for a cell phone?
- Do you specifically like IPhones?
- If the new IPhone 5 hits the market, will you be the first person to buy it?
- If an identical mobile phone than the IPhone is available on the market for half the price, would you buy it?
- Have you ever tried to escape from the addiction of consuming more than others?
- Are there many people around you who just buy the products due to the status they carry?
- Do you consume more because other people do?
- Do you want to be perceived as an innovative person, as technophiliac, who always owns the “derriere cri” regarding technology?
- What do you think of transparent bags, which allow to exactly see what you just bought?

Sharing instead of owning:

- There is a trend that people tend to exchange their things among each other instead of buying them?
- What do you think about this trend?
- Why would you do this?
- Would you feel ahead of other people by doing this?
- In this community of sharing, how would you define your role? Is it important for you to be the main contact person?
- What do you think about those people who rent public bicycles?
- There is a trend of giving instead of taking things from society:
- Do you donate money?
- Does the amount of the donation play an important role for you?
- Do you donate blood?
- In how far do you think that the family can influence the decision of spending blood?
- Would you donate organs?
- Do you tell other people about your donations?
- Why? / Why not?
- What you start a status message on Facebook about the donation?
- If the donors are mentioned by their names, does this give you a positive feeling?
- Do you prefer to donate by yourself or together with your family?
- Did your parents teach you that donations are important or is that something you developed for yourself?
- Do you use internet blogs to spread information?
- Do you consider yourself as the person who likes to initiate such things? If so,why?
- Do you feel the need to give something back to other people, by helping them or is this not important for you?

Fraudulent Symbols:

- You certainly heard about the trend that people wear fake name brand products, clothes etc. What do you think about this trend?
- Why do you wear fake products? Why do you think others in your environment wear fare products?
- Do you think certain people have a need to have fake products? Do they want to make themselves better than they actually are?
- If no one know that the product is a counterfeit except you, would you wear it?
- Do you prefer original products even though they are much more expensive?
- What role does a person’ age play in this subject?
- Do you know people who deliberately try to achieve a better position through the consumption of counterfeits?
- What role do fakes play for you?
- Is there a feeling of being afraid to lose friends or to become unpopular, which makes you avoid consuming fake products?
- If someone asked you if the bag (which is a fake) is original – would you say the truth?
- Would counterfeit products give you a feeling of certainty? A feeling of belong to a specific group?
- What do you think of other people who run around with obvious fake products?
- Are you afraid that this could degrade you?

New Lifestyles:

- There is another trend mentioning that more and more people go back to the country, also graduates, and say to themselves: here I am happy, here I will start a new life away from the stress in the city. What do you think about this statement?
- Is there any trend which you define for yourself? A trend which is important for you?
- Which trends or new lifestyles come to your mind if you think about the improvement of status?
- Could you imagine start playing golf or sailing because these are considered status symbols?

Green Credentials:

- What do you think about the eco-trend?
- Do you think it would make a positive impression on others if you use wind energy or solar energy?
- Is this something you want to achieve?
- Would you put a small wind mill in your garden?
- Do you think that a solar cell on the roof could function as status symbol?
- What do think about the eco hype around the world after the tragedy in Japan?

In the Know & Skills

- Do you want to show your knowledge to other people? Do you have a need to communicate it to other people?
- Is it important for you to regularly read the newspaper in order to know more than other people?
- Do you pay attention to reading a certain newspaper in a certain situation?
- Does it make a difference for you whether you get the new from the internet or from the newspaper?
- Is there something that you use to show that you are superior towards other people?
- Do you pay attention to what you read in public?
- Is there anything you feel superior towards other people?
- If yes, would you like that or not?
- Do you correct other people in a discussion if you know certain things better?
- What could lead to start considering your knowledge as status worthy?
- Which newspaper do you read? How many daily newspapers do you read?
- Is there a newspaper which you just read to impress others?

§ Would you sit down in the train and start reading a specific newspaper in a way that the others get a positive impression of you?

- Do you consider yourself an expert in a specific area?
- How important is it for you to be the first person in a ranking?
- Assuming you have a very high academic title (e.g. PhD or Professor) would you write the name on the sign on your door?
- What do you think of further training (e.g. a MBA or a PhD)?
- How do your normally spend your holidays?
- Are you rather the standard traveller who prefers standard hotels or are you more an explorer?
- Do you search for places which are rarely visited by others?
- Do you prefer individual holidays in terms of the route of the trip? (A trip which can’t be booked from the brochure)
- Are you a typical backpacker?
- Does it make you happy if you can benefit from your knowledge you have been gaining over the years?
- How important is it for you to possess innovative products?
- Do you like to be the opinion leader for innovative products?


- What do you think about social networks like Facebook, Xing or linkedin?
- Do you try to present yourself in the best light on Facebook?
- Do you upload pictures, so that others can see you? If yes, why do you this?
- Do you use social networks because your friends use them as well?
- What do you think about other people who post a lot? Does this create a kind of pressure for you?
- Is the number of ‘likes’ important for you?
- Would you upload things on Facebook everybody knows (e.g. songs)?
- Do you show the number of your friends? If so, why?

§ Is the number of friends important for you in order to show that in reality you are a very different person than you are in real life?

- How important are applications for you? Do you use them regularly?
- What do you think about status messages on Facebook?
- What do you think about people who regularly create status messages?
- Wouldn’t make it more interesting in your circle of friends if you were the only one not to use Facebook?
- Is it important for to be one of the few people over 60 to be on Facebook?
- Do you think that status messages from other persons makes you look worse in some cases and that is why you do not like them?
- Do you think it’s a pressure, being faced with social networks everywhere, even in daily life?
- Do you use the web in order to create something like a second identity?
- Do you consider the web as a second chance for yourself and the case that you are not successful in life?
- Do you think, you can benefit from social networks?
- Does the numbers of pictures you upload, your comments, the way that you add someone as a friend correspond to your daily life or do you behave differently?
- Do you know the game Farmville?
- What do you think motivates people to play this game?
- Might be the connection to Facebook be the reason for the success of Farmville?
- Does it make you proud to possess certain things in the virtual world?
- Is there any other reason why you use social networks except for communication?
- Do you think it is easier to make yourself interesting online than in real life?
- Do you yourself often click on the “like” button or is it important to you that your name appears in connection with the “like” as seldom as possible?
- Would you “like” something which would cause a negative effect on your relative status?
- Do you use internal communication tools from your employer such as blogs or wikis?

Beauty & Nutrition

- Do you think that your own appearance, your behavior can create status?
- Why do you think people want to stay younger?
- Do you think that there is a competition among your friends?
- Can the usage beauty care products for men enhance the status?
- Is it important for you to present yourself as fit and as attractive as possible to your peers?
- What do you do in order to work against the ravages of time?
- Do you think you status is supported by a haircut which is standard or by one which is rather extravagant?
- Do you have to adopt you level of showing beauty to others by how you want to gain status overall?
- What do you think about esthetic surgery?
- Why would you do it? Why not?
- What do you think about the trend that people want to stay healthier and healthier?
- Have you subscribed to a fitness club?
- Do you think that the things determined by nature can stop you from achieving status?
- Do you sometimes go to the coffee shop?
- Why are you willing to pay three times or twice as much for a coffee than in another coffee shop? Just to be there?
- Do you take the coffee as take away? If yes, why?
- Do you drink the coffee as takeaway? Do you like to present the cup of your coffee from Starbucks to others?
- What do you think about the organic food trend?
- Are you willing to pay a price premium for healthy food?
- Would you buy organic food just in order signal others that you care about your nutrition?
- According to which criteria do you choose your gym?

Voluntarily simplicity:

- Do you prepare some products by yourself?
- Do you make your own bread?
- What do you think of so-called drop outs who blank out everything and do their own thing?
- What stops people from living according to this?

Redefinition of status norms:

- Did your definition of status change over time?
- Did you show your status in a different way when you were younger?
- What must happen before you decide to change the status?
- If you realize once a day that you would not proceed in your job or in your career, would this lead you to define your status differently in order to be happy somewhere else?


- Scenario 1: Assume that you friends would not change at all, their character would not change, but they would advance more and more and become a CEO, a chief physician at the hospital, and you would stay at the same level. How would you react to that, what do you think?

- Scenario 2: If you have the choice between four bags – one bag from a discounter, one from a more expensive supermarket, one from the organic food shop and one from the fancy shop market, which one would you take?
- How important is it for you with which bag you walk around?
- Do you think other people would judge about you based on the bag?
- Do you think a beautiful bag make other people envious?
- Would go with this bag through the pedestrian zone?
- Would your choice depend on how many people can see you?
- Scenario 3: Let’s assume you go to the train and there’s a Bild newspaper at the seat. Would you take it and read it?
- Would you care about the people who might see you with the newspaper?
- Scenario 4: If I would give you a fake Rolex that I bought from Dubai – would you wear it or not? Why?
- Would your answer be different compared when you were young?

Other Questions:

- What do you think about the branding Made in Germany? Does it make you proud?
- What do you specifically do to show others what you can do, what you have achieved?

illustration not visible in this excerpt



We´ll start with the general definition of status – what is status, how do you define status for yourself?

For me, personally, status is my situation of life, my present situation, financially and also with regard to partnership. With regard to the future perhaps also education, with regard to the children...(6) For the rest I´m pretty satisfied with my present situation.

Could you explain that point with your children – does it mean you´re trying to maximize your own status through your children?

No, not in the sense of a financial maximization but in the sense that, one day, I will perhaps have grandchildren. For me, this would be an important aspect, to have grandchildren when I´m older.

How about your children´s education – do you think that it would affect your own status if your children have a good education? Did you plan to have a certain number of children in order to provide them a good education, hoping that they would become successful so that you would benefit from them?

I never thought of having children in order to benefit from them when I´m old. I always wanted to have two, actually three children and...(6) Of course, as a parent, you always want the best for your children. Luckily, we were able to provide our children a good education. But, of course, if they hadn´t been intelligent enough to earn these degrees it is obvious that you love them the same way as if they were successful.

How do you show your status to other people?

Actually, I have to admit that I have never talked about financial things with other people...

May I interrupt you: so for yourself, you would say that status is only material things, money, financial possibilities...?

No, not only (1). Status is, of course, also my present situation. But I wouldn´t say that I talk about that to many people. Maybe I would talk about private things, private relationships with people I know but I wouldn´t talk about all those other things. I don´t talk about that.

You mean, other people should not care about the things you achieved in your life, they should not be interested in what is special about you, your expert knowledge?

No, that´s not important for me. Actually, I almost don´t care about the status, the financial status of a person, because for me the person is important as a human being. Of course, if some of the people I know would have problems with their status, health problems for example, and become sick, I would talk to them about that.

But in this case we´re talking about you. Don´t you want to show your abilities to other people, your special knowledge, don´t you feel the need to communicate this to other people? Not in the sense of boasting but simply of showing that you´re fit, that you´re able to do something and that you´re an expert in a certain area?

Actually, no, I´ve never done that (1). If, for example, my situation would change and I would meet someone, because right now, I´m a single, I would talk about that (2). But I´ve never talked about my financial situation or the profession I used to have.

At 57, you´re a bit older now – did your definition of status, or what you think that status is, change over time? If you think back to the time when you were young – did you try to show your status more, did this change? Because right now, you seem more introverted, as if you didnt´t want to show your status to other people.

No, this has always been like that. And when I was young, this was even less important to me.

Even less?

Yes, even less. Of course, when I worked, it was important for me to have enough money. One thing that was indeed important to me was traveling so I always tried to be in the situation to afford this. I always tried to save some money, which is not my strength, so that I could go on a holiday.

And was it important for you that this holiday wasn´t a standard holiday, that it was something special which perhaps differed from other holidays? Was it important for you to do something else than others?

No, not at all (2). The travels I did have always been normal. When I was young, I did some round trips, together with other people. But during those trips, I have never talked about personal things...

Yes, but it could have been that – regarding all the money that you saved – you tried to make a special holiday...

No, this was not the case. I mean those expensive trips I wanted to make – I wasn´t able to afford them... (6) At least when I was young.

How did your social environment change? Did your circle of friends at those times change from time to time and if yes – why?

At those times (1) – my social environment was very stable. I´ve never had many friends – back then and today but those friendships were very close. Two of them did not last – but they were pretty good – we´ve done a lot together. Sometimes we helped each other, for example when one of us moved to another place. But...

Do you remember any special incident which might have changed your friendship – were there people in your circle of friends whose behavior disturbed you so that you decided to turn away from them?

Well, the relationship to two of them, they were friends from school, broke up over time because one of them had a husband who was a bit difficult and with the other one... it just broke up over time. We have always been in touch though, after some months or some years but then it broke up over time – from both sides because our fault was that we paid too much attention to our partners and that´s why it broke up over the years... (5) All of us three identified ourselves too much through our partners and we showed too much respect for them.

So you and your friends gave up your own identity and your friends´ character changed so that you decided to break up with them and find someone else?

As I said, it was from both sides. It was me who let it break up over time but it was also from their side. Because... (6) back then I had a partner who did not like to be with them and who just wanted to be with his own friends. And that´s why I focused more on those friends of my former husband.

Did envy play a role in those friendships? Did envy cause the break up or were you not happy anymore?

No, not at all (2). Envy did not play a role – you mean envy regarding those other two partnerships?

No, envy in the sense that your friends had a partner who was wealthier and which caused you to feel envy?

No, they didn´t. They both had nice partners. It was just that it broke up over time – let´s say it like that. It has always warmed up from time to time but not that much.

You´ve certainly heard about the trend that people wear fake name brand products, clothes etc. What do you think about that?

Well, I think... I´m a bit undetermined. On the one hand I think... (1) In my case, I´ve never done that before...


Because I think if you cannot afford to have a Hermes bag or an Escada dress you should accept that and buy the clothes you can afford. And after all, you should define yourself through your personality and not through your appearance. That´s not important.

You think it´s not legitimate that people who are less wealthy buy fake products which do not differ from the original one?

Of course, it´s legitimate, since everyone can do whatever he wants to (2). But I think that someone who buys fake products maybe is a person who has an inferiority complex or who wants to be someone whom he cannot be because he lives in a totally different environment than someone who... (7) A wealthy person would never buy fake products and the one who buys those fake products always wants to be part of this social class.

What do you think makes people do this – apart from the aspiration of being part of another class or group? Do you think that certain people feel the need to have those products?

Absolutely, it is absolutely a kind of peer pressure. But of course this peer pressure is stronger the younger you are. At school for example, everyone wants to have the same clothes, the same name brand clothes. But I think the older you get the more you will learn to find your own way. Generally, I would not exclude to have fake products but I would never have several of them. One maybe, but it´s not that I need to have half a dozen.

Why do you think that age is important in this case?

I think that older people look at this different than young people. Because young people are in general more insecure and want to adapt to other people in their environment.

If I would give you a fake Rolex that I brought from Dubai – would you wear it or not?

To be honest, I wouldn´t wear a fake Rolex – but I wouldn´t wear an original Rolex either (2).

Why not? How come?

It´s because... First of all I don´t care about those things – I can wear a watch for 15 euros from Woolworth, I don´t pay attention to those things. For example, I couldn´t say which watch is valuable – I even don´t know anything about cars. Because for many people, a car is a big status symbol but I have to admit that, even today, it is very difficult for me to say which car is valuable and which is not because I don´t pay attention to those things at all, to those exterior things.

Was that different when you were younger or has this always been like that?

Yes, this has always been like that. If, for example, in our neighborhood, someone has bought new furniture or a new car, then everyone knew about that and I have always been the last one. Sometimes, I haven´t noticed for several weeks that some of our neighbors had a new company car, a Mercedes maybe, and before he had an Opel.

And, if, for example, you would get the opportunity to consume such a product – a fast car, a BMW for example – would you feel comfortable or proud with that or is this not important for you at all?

For me, actually, this is not important. For example I once had the opportunity to buy a good car... Or back then my husband used to have a Mercedes and he always said that I can drive it if I want but I never did. And even when he drove me I always felt uncomfortable because I always thought that all people look at you when you drive a car like that.

But why? For many people this is the reason why they buy a product like that because due to this effect that other people look at you their own status rises.

That´s obvious, people who drive a car like that or wear a Rolex, if these are original products, are often, in almost hundred percent of the cases, people who achieved a lot in their life and had to work hard for that. Of course, they have the right to show that. When it comes to me, this would somehow make me feel insecure.

Insecure? Why would this make you feel insecure? Do you think this would be too much for you? Would this impose pressure on you if you had the opportunity to consume a product like that?

(1) To be honest, I haven´t thought too much about that. I somehow felt uncomfortable in this car. Back then, I refused to drive this car myself because I thought they would observe the one driving this car.

But the reason for this is not that you did not earn the money yourself to buy those products? Or does this play a role as well for the things you buy?

No, I didn´t care so much about this point (2). It is more that I´m the type of person who likes to disappear with the crowd. I don´t like to stick out from the crowd.

Does it sometimes happen that you buy a product which exceeds your financial possibilities?

When I was younger, yes, certainly (2).

What kind of products where these?

Clothes. Back then, I haven´t earned that much but when I was young, twenty or so, exclusive fashion was very important to me and I went to these exclusive shops.

What do you mean with exclusive products? Brand name products or products of good quality?

No, back then these were clothes from Neuer Wall[1], Unger[2], where the label was at the back.

But that was at the back where no one was able to see it.

Yes, that was at the back. I cannot remember having worn something with the label at the front. At the back, yes (7), but this has also become less over the years.

So, after all your consumption behavior has changed over the years. This means, since you said that status has never been so important for you, you didn´t buy the clothes because of the status but just to do something for yourself. But you didn´t care about what other people thought.

When I was younger, obviously, I had my first earned money. When I worked, I used to work in a boutique, I got my money on Saturday, and then I spent my money on an expensive piece of clothes. This is indeed what I did.

And this made you proud, didn´t it?

This made me proud, of course. And when I wore this piece of clothes, I was quite proud because I knew I earned the money by myself.

But proud – just for yourself or proud in the sense that you were able to show others that you were able to afford these things?

Partly, partly. Of course, to show others that I was able to afford that.

Did you feel kind of special in your group?

No, I didn´t.

So, in your circle of friends you haven´t been the only one wearing things like these?

It was not that every piece of clothes came from a boutique. Back then, C&A used to be very popular among young people like today H&M is. So there were many things from C&A, not just those expensive things, which I used to wear on a special occasion, when we went out in the evening, to the disco or to the theater, for example. This is what I wore because you wanted to stick out from the crowd a little bit... (6) So to say, in order to meet other people, by wearing something which is a bit more expensive.

But this means that you did this in order to impress other people.

When it comes to clothes, yes, indeed. But other things, jewelry, I never bought jewelry for myself. Sometimes I got it as a present, from my parents, but I almost never wore it, very rarely.

But you never spent more money than you were able to – if you think about what happened in America, with billions of houses that were bought on the nod which caused the crisis. This shows that many people consume more than they can afford – just to have a bigger house than other people. Was this the same with you – did you ignore what was on your account in order to wear those beautiful clothes or were you reasonably enough to say to yourself: Now I can´t afford it any more so I won´t spend the money.

Of course, I did. First of all, I didn´t earn that much, I didn´t have an overdraft from my bank and I have never borrowed anything (2).

So, this is unthinkable for you to borrow something just in order to be able to consume more of a certain category of products, to be better and to know more than others?

No I would never borrow anything for a better car, a trip, jewelry or clothes (2).

And what about immaterial goods such as education?

That´s a different case.

In what way?

Education that´s... (1) Do you mean my education or...?

If you´re interested in something which costs 20,000 euros and you weren´t able to afford it. Would you borrow the money for that? If you were totally convinced of something.

Well, education is something I would consider to borrow something. If I couldn´t afford it, of course, I would try to find something that doesn´t cost 20,000 but maybe 10,000 euros. Back then, when I was young, I often went to a course, language courses and so, English, book-keeping. These were the things I overdrew my account and the bank knew about that. But I never really overdrew my account for material things such as trips and things like that (2).

Is there anything you feel superior towards other people?

I have to admit that there is nothing...(1)

Isn´t there anything Don´t you wish there to be anything you are admired for?

No, I don´t know anything I have to be admired for... (1)

Would you be happy if it were so – when it comes to a certain subject and anytime people talk about that they would ask you, in your neighborhood for example, the lady knows a lot about...

That would be nice indeed. When someone has his topic and knows much about that... Sometimes, when people have problems then they would call me and talk to me. Because they´ve always said that I´m able to listen to them and when they told me something I always kept it for myself.

Did you listen to them because you were interested in what the people were telling you or did you do that in order to pretend to know everything in this area?

No, I did this because I am interested in what the people are telling me and also because of sympathy. When it´s about social things, diseases or personal conflicts. Or if someone has financial problems, then I listen to support the person in a moral way or to give him a tip or comfort him.

Does this make you proud?

I wouldn´t say that it makes me proud, but satisfied. Yes...

Satisfied, happy...

I feel good when I know that I can help someone just by listening

Ok, let´s change the subject... There´s a trend of giving instead of taking something from society, when it comes to the donation of organs, of money, for example for Japan... What do you think about that?

Well, I´ve always tried to donate, always when I was able to... I also had a godchild back then that was in Bangladesh. I started doing this quite early, to support its education. One day it was grown up of course and then this broke up. And I have always made donations, of course when people were in need like with the Tsunami...

Is it important for you that your name can be seen somewhere...

No (2).

So, you don´t tell anyone that you have donated an amount of x because you wanted to be involved in social activities...?

I never did that. Anyone knew about my godchild either.

Why didn´t you tell anyone about that?

Because I think that if you help someone, if you have enough money for yourself it should be a matter of course to give some of your money to other people. Not everyone is in the happy situation to have enough for himself and to care for himself.

Yes, but you also could take advantage of that by saying: listen, I engaged myself... Those pictures in the media were so upsetting... Don´t you think it would be good to do that as well? Look, how committed I am...

Yes, about those things like with the Tsunami, I did talk to other people (2), to the neighbors, indeed. You should make some donations; the situation of the people is so bad Or when this happened in St. Petersburg with the packages... It was everywhere in the media... Then I talked to other people and asked: did you send a package? Or we said, it´s Christmas, now it´s time for a donation... But that wasn´t a demand...

So you didn´t show off or pride yourself?

No, I didn´t. The donations were too small to pride oneself, they were very small.

But in this case, it´s the gesture which counts. As you said before, you don´t define yourself through money, you´re more introverted and try to show your status by gestures and your social commitment. But this is not the case either?

Yes, the social aspect is important to me. Because I think it´s important to be socially committed. Of course, it´s up to everyone how strong his commitment is but I think people shouldn´t ignore the big things which happen in the world.

In this context, is it important for you to regularly read the newspaper in order to know more than other people?

I do read at least two newspapers per day – sometimes three...

Because you´re interested in that or in order to tell other people the story of the day which they might have not read?

Partly, partly. Certainly, because I´m interested in that but also because I like talking about it to someone, asking: do you know what happened? This is what I do indeed (2), when I talk to someone on the phone...

Why is this is so important for you – to have your own opinion about something and to be the first who gets the message across?

Well, I sometimes think that I´m the first who gets the message across but I forget that the people aren´t behind times either, that they inform themselves via newspaper, radio, teletext, internet and so on.

And if, for example, you tell someone about that and he says: oh, I didn´t know about that before, you´re well-informed! Would this make you proud?

Yes, it would (2). It would make me proud to know about something which other people didn´t know before. Although, it´s obvious that they will know about this in the course of the day.

But you would like to be the first to know about this, the presenter of the news, wouldn´t you?

Well, yes, I would (2). I would like to be the one.

There´s a large choice of newspapers – is there any newspaper you only read in order to show that you´re reading an intellectual newspaper but which is actually too complicated for you?

No, I haven´t thought about that yet (1). I mainly read three newspapers and these are normal newspapers for the crowd. One of them also is a popular newspaper. I haven´t bought those high-flown newspapers yet.

But you wouldn´t sit down in the tram and raise THE ZEIT[3] proudly – like some people who pretend reading the newspaper but actually they look through the newspaper, staring holes in the air?

No, I´ve never done that. I also haven´t been to the restaurant or sitting at a bank reading the newspaper. When I did this, I did it at home.

Ok. Apart from that, is there anything you would do in public, just in order to show it to other people? I don´t know if you´ve already seen this – the people walking along in the pedestrian zone with those cups from Starbucks, watching out that the logo is in front?

No, I´ve never done something like that...

That´s not important for you.

… and I have to admit that I haven´t noticed if the cups are from Starbucks or from McDonalds.


Of course, there are also people who pay attention to cell phones, about who makes his phone calls with what kind of cell phone. But I haven´t paid attention to this either.

How important is it for you to make things that other people in your age are not able to do?

Of course, I would like to do things that others (1)... But that´s not so important to me... Because I´m not the type of person who wants to do something which all of my friends couldn´t do. I also know people who go on holidays four times a year and I cannot afford to do this but this is not a reason for me to feel envious or jealous.

Hm. There´s also a trend, I don´t know if you ´ve heard about that, that people tend to exchange their things among each other instead of buying them. Like for example tools, a hammer, or so. Because you buy those products but actually you only use them for several minutes while possessing them. What do you think about this trend to exchange products among each other or to borrow them from someone?

Well, I think the idea is not too bad – there is also the worldwide trend to exchange houses or flats for the holidays. Back then, many years ago, because I have two children, I thought about doing something like that. You can go to great countries while living quite cheap. Of course, you have to pay the flight but the rest... Obviously, it´s a matter of confidence because you don´t know who will come to your house or flat but I think I would do that, yes indeed.

But would you do this in order to have more money for other things or why would you do that? Why do you think it´s a good idea?

I think it´s a good idea because you can get to know the culture because if you can go to another person´s house or flat you can see everything what the people have. A hotel is always a bit anonymous. And when you do something like that you´re surrounded by the whole neighborhood, the ones who know the people who use to live in the flat and so you can make contacts. You will get to know the country as such more easily.

But you wouldn´t do that to have more money for other products? That would not be the reason?

No, that actually wouldn´t be the reason. The reason would be that, for example, you could go to a country, America for example, or Russia, which you couldn´t see otherwise because it´s too expensive due to the costs for the hotel or an apartment.

Do you think that you are ahead of other people by doing this? Do you think this would be something about which you would talk to other people proudly, such as: look, I´ve found someone with whom I exchange my house and you have to go to the hotel, somewhere without getting to know the culture of the country... Is this something that would make you proud?

Well, not in the sense of proud (1) but of course I would talk about that and say why I did this, yes indeed. But I wouldn´t show off or talk someone down because he stays in a hotel or in an apartment.

One final question about status symbols – do you think that your own appearance, your behavior can create status?

No, I would say that my appearance is absolutely ordinary. I wouldn´t say that I stick out from the crowd.

One important trend is esthetic surgery – everywhere you can see those manicure studios, people go to the hairdresser every three weeks instead of six in order to be neat and beautiful...

Yes, of course, somehow that´s important, indeed (2). I regularly go to the pedicure studio, to the hairdresser as well, maybe not every three weeks but every month or every second month. But I definitely wouldn´t have an esthetic operation (2). I´m more the type of... You can see those pro age advertisements everywhere... that you have a certain age and that you should accept that instead of forcing yourself to be young.

Do you talk about that to other people – that you use those products, pro age, for example?

No, I don´t talk about that.

That´s not important for you.

I know that many people in my age use those products. But I don´t know anyone, except for one person, who has had an esthetic operation.

Hm. But you don´t use those products because many of your friends use them?


That´s not important for you at all.

Yes, because these are very ordinary products which are not very expensive, products which you can buy at Budnikowsky[4], not those expensive face creams with caviar or with these anti-aging effects...

Why don´t you use anti-aging products?

I do use anti-aging products, face creams for example. But not those expensive creams. There are anti-aging products from the lower price segment – these are the ones I use because I want to avoid getting too many wrinkles when I´m old of course.

Hm, all right. One final question – did your definition of status change over the time? Has this stayed the same or did you never really think about that?

Now that I´m older, of course I think less about things like these. Back then, when I was young I identified myself through several things, like the clothes about which I talked. When I went to the disco I felt more secure with that. Today this is not so important to me. Of course, it´s important to me that I look neat when I would go dancing or to the theater or to the opera, I wouldn´t try on the most expensive piece of clothes – the most important is that it looks good.

So your definition of status has changed over the years?

Definitely, yes (2). What is new and what I didn´t think so much about when I was young is financial security, the rent and things like these. When I was young I didn´t think about things like these at all.

All right, then you have answered all of my questions to my fullest satisfaction. Thank you very much and have a nice day.

Thank you, the same to you.


(1) hesitating

(2) determined

(3) laughing

(4) gasping

(5) short break

(6) long break

(7) stumbling

(8) mumbling

(9) sighing

Interview 2

illustration not visible in this excerpt



First of all, I would like to ask you a general question: how do you define status for yourself?

For me, status is that I... how do I define that for myself (1)? … (5) that I, when I look at the people I know... (6) No, for me, status is that I´m happy, that I can have a good life that I´ve got a great house, a car and a family who support me. That´s enough for me. I think there are people who need a great car, a car that is really great. I´m fine with my Golf IV[5]. That´s what makes me satisfied, I´m quite modest at that level.

Do you compare this with other people or don´t you compare yourself with other people at all if you talk about status? Or do you look at other families or do you just define for yourself what satisfaction is and how you define your status?

Yes, I defined that for myself. Of course, I do look at what my friends have but I don´t begrudge them and for me, it´s not that important that I have to achieve the same. I´m satisfied with what I have.

Did this change throughout your life, was that different when you were a teenager or...?

No, actually, I´ve always been (1) satisfied with what I had but I must say that I always got a lot, my parents are great and they gave me a lot and maybe this is why I never wanted to compare with others and to have more than them for example.

Did you often show the things you got from your parents to other people – products, material and immaterial things such as emotions and love? Was that something you wanted to impress other people with?

No, I can´t say that, I never did. I got a car from my parents and of course I was happy about that but It´s not that I wanted to impress other people with that, not at all. What my family gave to me was, I think, lots of love and I´m the kind of person who likes to pass on these things.

But you can see a relation between emotions you get from your family and the concept of status. Isn´t status something you need to see in relation to others in order to stick out from them?

Yes, of course. When it comes to material things, that´s right but for me satisfaction is also... (1) I would say that this also belongs to that.

Do you also find this satisfaction through consumption?

Yes, of course (2).

In what way?

I think everyone likes to consume and when I can buy something special for me without turning every penny twice... When I don´t have to think about that then I´m pretty satisfied and for me, this also means that... that I´m satisfied with what I have.

If you buy certain goods, articles – what is important for you? That these articles are brand name products? Do you pay attention to other people who may wear articles like that? Do you observe these trends that, for example, many, especially female customers walk around with fake Louis Vuitton bags or don´t you care about this at all?

Well, I do pay attention to quality, that´s important to me and I don´t buy at H&M, I pay attention to that when it comes to clothes... I wear a lot from Benetton, Esprit, but just because I think that´s quality, no junk, that´s important for me. Especially in my position, I work with graduates, you need to dress correspondingly. That´s why this is important to me, to buy labels, not the most expensive ones like Chanel or something but it´s important to be dressed correspondingly, to adapt to my clients. If people wear fake Louis Vuitton bags – I don´t care about that at all.

So the price does not play an important...?

No, no.

This means, you pay attention to original products...

No, I didn´t get that right, no, no, I mean when a friend of mine would have a fake bag then I´m happy for her that she´s got it but for myself, I probably would... (1) No, I think I would buy an original product. But I´m not the type who needs to have those labels which are really expensive such as Louis Vuitton. I also take a bag from Esprit which is cheaper that´s what I pay attention to.

If I gave you a fake Louis Vuitton bag tomorrow, would you use it or would you not want to have it just because it´s a fake?

I would be happy about that and I would wear it. But for myself I would say I´m too stingy for the bag… Maybe that´s a difference to other women but I wouldn´t buy it because it´s too expensive for me. Maybe also because, I don´t know, I don´t earn 300,000 a year. Maybe it´s also because of the salary, I don´t know. But I´m very stingy when it comes to that and I have other things I want to achieve such as a great property, one day I want to drive a bigger car. At the moment, I´m satisfied with what I have but I have my goals for which I want so save my money and I´m a person who saves his money.

So for you it´s more important to save your money for something bigger, something valuable, instead spending the money on smaller things.

Exactly, I want to achieve a better life standard and I do this by refusing to consume. When I have a bag from Esprit that´s enough for me, I don´t need a bag from Louis Vuitton or Chanel which will cost ten times as much as my bag from Esprit.

Are there certain strategies that you use such as sharing certain goods with other people in order to have more money for bigger things? Sharing in the sense that you share your car with other people or, that´s a trend, by trying to rent your flat to others when you´re on holiday? So that you don´t need to book a hotel when you´re on holiday because you can stay in the flat of someone else in order to save money?

No, I don´t do that, no.

Not at all, so you´re absolutely… OK. Talking about the refuse to consume – what do you mean with that?

Well, I have my things I want to achieve, such as buying a property or I´ve been dreaming about an Audi estate for a long time, that´s a lot of money to save. And one day I want to be financially independent. To afford this, I need to save in these areas so I sometimes refuse, for example... For example I think about how many times do I go out for lunch? Going out for lunch every day is quite expensive I needn´t tell you, so sometimes I eat a sandwich for lunch so I can save the money. Or, for example, when I go shopping and see something nice, I say to myself, no, you´ve got something like that in your wardrobe, you don´t need that. I think about that – do I really need that? Then I´m also very modest, I don´t need to have expensive jewelry. Of course, I go shopping regularly when I need some new clothes but I´m very good with that, I can deal with my money very well and I don´t spend too much of it. This is what also satisfies me, watching my money grow on my account and that I can turn my dreams into reality – major dreams.

Well, I see, you do this step by step and very strategically. You´re probably not the type of consumer who consumes on the nod and who spends more money than he can afford. That wouldn´t come into consideration because of your job.

No, I hate having debts. Another example that comes into my mind is when you go to a party: if you celebrate and drink a lot, you spend 100 euros just for one evening – that´s not worth it. Then you can also have a nice evening at the cinema or a restaurant but just for a drinking party where you spend lots of money – that doesn´t give anything to me. Because the next day I will lie in my bed and I´m fed up and sick and I´ve spend 300 euros that night. So I better save the money – that´s why I think about that before.

In your job as a financial consultant – do you think that you can also benefit from your experience, your expert knowledge in order to exceed others?

Yes, indeed.

How do you make that? How do you try to show this to others?

Due to my profession, I´ve got a lot of experience in the business area so I know what´s up at the market. And of course I´m not in the situation that everything will be great, everything will be fine if something happens. So I try to pass that on to my clients because that´s my job, I´m the consultant who helps them to be in the perfect position. I give them the information they need so that they are in the same situation as me. Was that your question?

Yes, that was the question. So you´re trying to benefit from your knowledge you have been gaining over the years in order to benefit from that financially and personally. Does this make you happy?

Do you mean that I got the question wrong, that, for example, I give advice to my customers so I sell something and that´s why I´m happy?

Yes, for example. Or that it makes you proud to have a function, to be in the position of a consultant where you can exceed others when it comes to your knowledge.

No, that doesn´t make me proud (2). Then I got that wrong. I always have this need to help other people. I know how the market works and what we can expect for the future, let´s say through our demographic problem so not many people know what to... Or you can read it in the media but it´s always pushed away. Our future is not bright and I know: when it comes to health insurance – if you don´t make that step, for example by a optional tariff ...(8), you have that as well, I try to make my customs save things that are important to them so that, one day, they can have a private insurance so that they won´t have any disadvantages. That´s always very important to me, that my clients are happy and satisfied. And I prefer to be in the background. I do this to make my clients satisfied and that´s what makes me satisfied when I can see that they are. That´s my success. Does this answer your question?

Yes, that will answer my question.

Then I didn´t get that right before.

OK. Do you make a difference between your professional and your private function? When you talk about your knowledge privately – does this have another reason or are the factors and criteria the same?

Well, in my private surroundings I also talk about these things but I don´t do this because I want to be the big boss. I want the people to pay attention: watch out, there´s something happening or something will happen to us and you should take care. I inform the people and I sensitize them so that they get it and say: the lady´s right, I need to do something.

Then I would like to change the topic. there´s the trend of giving something back to society in the form of donations, donations of organs or of money instead of taking.

I think that´s great.

Why do you think so?

I´m a very social person and I´m rather someone who likes to give. I would say I don´t take as much as I give and I also make a donation every year. Last year, for example, I made some shoe boxes for little children for Christmas. And right now, I want to take a little dog (15 min.) from the animal home. That´s how I am, I want to do something good in my life and I think that´s great.

So you show this to other people, what you´re doing on a social level.

For example, I´m also registered with DKMS[6] and when they found out that, hey, my... eh... (7) kidney would fit, then I would say: yes, I´ll do that. I´m absolutely painless with that. If I can help someone, I´ll do that.

And would this make you proud if you would do this?

Yes. That would make me proud (2).

Would you create a status message at Facebook?

No, I don´t need that (2).

So, others don´t need to know what you´re doing. If you make a donation – you don´t talk about that, you just do that for yourself.

Well, my family knew about that, my mother because I asked her if she has some shoe boxes for me – that´s why she knew about that. But I didn´t even tell it to my siblings. My boyfriend and my mother knew about that.

How many daily newspapers do you read?

Oh, not so much at the moment, shame on me. Well, at the moment I always watch Tagessch… Tages…(7), it´s called Heute[7], on ZDF, I think that´s well done and compact. If I can catch a newspaper during lunch break, I´ll do that and read the headlines or what I´m really interested in but at the moment I must say that this is not one of my priorities.

So you´re not the one who would sit down in the underground, take out DIE ZEIT or another sophisticated magazine and start reading it.

No. I just take a regional newspaper or sometimes I read Spiegel online. Or if it´s there, also Welt kompakt[8] or so, that´s what my colleague sometimes has and I´ll read a bit. But I have to admit that this is really not my priority at the moment. And since I´m on the road with my car very often, I cannot sit down in the underground and skim the newspapers, I´m quite busy at the moment. When I come home in the evening, I´m done and then I´ll watch TV and get all that information as well.

Do you sometimes go to the coffee shop?

I don´t drink coffee at all.

Not at all?

No, not at all (2).

No chai latte as well?

No, not at all (2).

What do you think about consumers who show their status in public? Whether material goods, such as a car, or creating status messages at Facebook about everything what could make them envious.

I think those people have a strong need for recognition, there must have been something wrong in their childhood, they didn´t have enough attention. Of course, if you´ve really been busy and you achieved all that on your own you can show that. But I think it´s a bit to much to say, hey I´m the big... I don´t know. I always like people who are modest.

So you don´t feel the need to consume more than others in order to be satisfied?


If you decide to buy a certain product, to consume a product – what kind of role does your personal environment play? Do you often talk to other people if you want to make a major purchase or does this not happen very often?

It depends what it is. And when it is what I absolutely want and I set my mind on it then I don´t care about what others think about that. And if it´s a smaller product, a bag or so and there are three great types of them which I really find great then I would ask other people: what do you think suits me best? But for the rest I am very decisive and I can decide that on my own.

What kind of criteria are important for you if you decide to buy that bug?

First of all it must look good so the look is important. Then it mustn´t be junk that´s what I pay attention to – that it is a small label... (6) And it just has to suit me.

But the label must be visible?

No, it needn´t be visible. But you can see the difference if it´s a bag from C&A which has been produced in China or when I... What I pay attention to, I have to admit, is if the product is produced in Germany.


Because I feel better to support our economy than the Chinese or the Czech one or whatever. And I just have the feeling, maybe it´s kind of stupid, but I think the quality in Germany is better. Two years ago, for example, I bought a mattress. I could have bought it much cheaper but they told me that everything has been produced in Germany and so I bought a slatted frame and a mattress for 1,300 euros but I could have had it for 900 euros.

Because quality is important for you...

And because that´s how I am, I want to support Germany. I also pay attention to that when I buy food that the products are from Germany. Apples etc. because I know, I grew up on a farm, how the standards are and all that mischief which is done abroad, of course, in Germany as well, but I think you need to support German farmers, when it comes to food for example. That´s why I pay attention to that, when I buy fruits I buy seasonal fruits, apples from Germany. Of course, that´s not possible with bananas. Or milk, for example, I try to buy milk from regional production.

You just said that you grew up on a farm – is there anything you are especially proud of?

I´m proud of my father and my mother. Because they started from the very beginning and they became very successful because they were busy – that´s what I´m proud of.

Why did you move to the city and didn´t stay there?

Because I have four sisters and my little sister took over the farm because she really likes that. I also like animals but I don´t know anything about the machines. I also work in the fields but it´s not that much fun for me I have to admit.

Can you imagine going back one day?

To the farm?

Yes, if it´s successful? Or which factors would make you decide to go back?

Hmmm, which factors would make me decide to go back? (1)

If the farm would be very successful for example, when they would produce a certain product which is only made there perhaps? So that they can also be economically successful?

Well, I could imagine going back to the farm if my sister said she doesn´t want that any more. Then one of us others has to do that and I think then I would do that as well. I just don´t want to make a financial loss but I certainly wouldn´t make that. But for me, it was important to leave the country, the flat country, that´s pampa, there´s nothing, so I wanted to see something else so today I´m in Lüneburg[9]. Lüneburg is a beautiful town I like it a lot. When I´m in Hamburg, Hamburg is also great, but I´m also happy when I leave the city. Too many cars, too many people, too much noise in the end...

Indeed, researchers have detected a trend that more and more people go back to the country, also graduates, and say to themselves: here I´m happy, here I start a new life, I don´t care about the prize and what others think about that. Do you think that your decision to leave the country and go to the city to make your training, to study has also something to do with the fact that you wanted to compare yourself to others?

No, (1) back then, I haven´t been a model student I have to admit. During my orientation stage, however, I had a friend and I have also seen others who wanted to go to the Gymnasium[10]. So I thought: oh, that´s what I want as well! (2) And then I did my best and was very busy so I had an excellent certificate at the end of the 6th grade. And then my teacher said to my mom she wouldn´t recommend that to me because she thought I wouldn´t stand it. So I went to Realschule[11] and I´ve always been average because I haven´t been busy. There were other things to my mind, I´ve worked at the farm a lot, I´ve been quite successful at horse riding which took me a lot of time so I didn´t work very hard at school, it somehow worked liked that. But then in my 10th grade I said to myself, that´s not all yet because I´ve got an elder sister who had friends who were even elder and I saw them, they were lawyers or they have been studying and so on...

So you´ve already had role models!

Exactly, I´ve had role models and as I said: oh, that´s what I want as well! (2) I don´t want to finish Realschule and that´s it. So I started to do my best again in my 10th grade and did my final exams at Realschule due to which I could go to the Wirtschaftsgymnasium[12] There I did my best again and then I started my training. After the Abitur[13] (school leaving examination qualifying for university admission) I didn´t really know what to do, I don´t know if you know that: I didn´t think about that at all, about what to do with my Abitur from the flat country where there aren´t too many possibilities. And then I thought: I like traveling, insurances... I applied for an apprenticeship with DAK[14] and AOK... I made three applications and the travel agency took me. So I said to myself, I´ll do that. Then I did my training but then I saw that, somehow, I didn´t like that and I saw that my elder sister began to study again so my role model was my sister again.

So, before you didn´t plan to study but you saw that your sister did that so you did that as well.

During my training, I noticed that I didn´t like that so much. I´ve worked a lot but, I´m a very busy person, but they never said something nice to me and they also exploited me a bit. That was also the reason why I don´t really like that. And then I started to study business administration with a major in tourism management and marketing and so I thought that´s the right thing for me and then I began to work in the free finance service sector and I found out that this is the right thing for me and that I like doing that. But of course, my elder sister has always been my role model and I loved what she did and I wanted to achieve the same. Now my sister has achieved more than me, she´s a tax accountant which is one of the most difficult trainings.

Would that be something for you as well?

No (2), I´m happy for her, that´s she did that but I don´t need that. For me, that´s enough now (2).

And why do you compare yourself to your sister primarily and not with your boyfriend? Or with friends?

I have no idea why. I think my sister´s great and she has always been a kind of pioneer for me. I use to say: where there´s a will there´s a way. Maybe I also could have become a tax accountant but actually the topic isn´t mine it´s a bit dry. Although: finances as well (3) but I like finances. My boy-friend is an insurance agent with Concordia, he has his own agency, and actually, when I look at my education, because I have an academic education and I´ve also finished my studies at MLP[15] to be a financial senior consultant, these are two more years at the Corporate University in Wiesloch which is a state-approved university, I´m better than him, but I don´t care about that at all, if his status is not the same as mine.

You don´t care about that at all?

That´s not important to me. Actually, my sister as a tax account is better than me as well but I don´t care about that either.

If you would see that one day you wouldn´t proceed any more in your job, in your career – would you define your status differently in order to be happy somewhere else? Because I can hear that you´re proud doing this and that this is related to a certain status for you. If you see that you cannot proceed, would you be able to say: I step back or I go somewhere else and that´s why I also change my definition of status so that I can be happy again.

Yes, I would do that indeed (2).

How would you do that? Would you say: from tomorrow on, I don´t define my status through “I´m a successful financial consultant” but through “I´m a successful consultant or workforce in another company”? Do you think that´s easy?

Of course, there must be a plan, you can´t do that from one day to another. Do you mean I´ll step back?

It must also be related to satisfaction if you do this step back, if you go somewhere else so that you´re happy there. My question is: how would you try to find this satisfaction, how would you do that? Would you also change your circle of friends and try to find a new social environment in order to have different comparison criteria?

No, I wouldn´t change my circle of friends at all (2), that´s far to important to me and they also support me, I know that. When it comes to my profession and I´m not happy with that, then, in my opinion, this has nothing to do with my environment. If I´m not happy with MLP then I would try to find another challenge for me. If I have a job x and it makes me happier then I would prepare myself to go to the new employer whether this is a permanent position or a freelance job, I don´t know. When I think that this is the right step, whether I step back or ahead, but it makes me happy then this is okay for me.

I´m talking more or less about the social environment, the social group to which you belong and also your social rank which is certainly related to your social position and which certainly will change if you change your profession. If you see that all of your friends, all of the people to whom you are related are somehow better than you... whether their profession or something else – would you try to find other people compared to whom you would seem more important again or is this not important to you at all?

I think that wouldn´t be important to me (2). I have to admit that the branch in which I work is not so popular and I hear that very often in my circle of friends but meanwhile they accepted it and they see that I like that. That´s why it´s accepted what I do. I would say it´s important that I´m happy (2) and what my friends or my siblings say...

… is not important to you at all. And you also don´t talk about success and financial things with your friends?

No. If they ask me, then I will answer their question. In the beginning, we talked about that, why I´m doing this and then I had to explain them the difference between MLP and other finance service providers. That we don´t do network marketing but that MLP works a bit different etc. That was a bit hard in the beginning but I haven´t been deterred because I´m convinced of what I´m doing.

Finally I would like to change the subject and talk about the Internet in general and especially about social networks. Do you use social networks?

I´m at Xing[16]. I don´t know how this came (1) but I think it´s okay, for your job or to make social contacts. But I have to admit that I´m not very active, people always write to me and this already annoys me a bit. But I also think it´s not too bad to be there, just to keep contact to different people. I always get information about changes in interest rates from different banks and about groups who want to invite me, which I find interesting and who organize events. So I think it´s not too bad, you should be in some of those social networks.

Do you also enter you profession?


Why do you do that?

Because they ask me to do that (3).

Well, just like that, ok. And are you at Facebook or Twitter.

No (2).

Why not?

Because that´s enough for me with Xing, this flood of information, there´s a friend request by him and her etc. and you think: do I want this at all? And then you do it after all. I don´t want to reveal so much about me. At Facebook, you can look at pictures etc. Somehow I don´t need all that stuff. I just want to have some peace and quiet.

And you don´t want to upload some pictures of you so that your friends can see them?


Are you friends at Facebook?

Yes, lots of them. They always invite me but I always delete their invitation.

And if they ask you why you don´t register – are you honest or do you say that it´s also for data protection or maybe also because of your profession that you don´t register?

No, if they ask me, I say I´m at Xing. I also get them at my MLP address where I get those messages like “he or she sends a contact request”, “he or she has changed that and that” etc. and so every day I get two or three e-mails and I almost don´t manage to read my private homepage, eh account – I almost don´t go there. I´m writing e-mails all day long in my job and that´s just so much information which is send back and forth during the day, that´s overload for me, I just want to have some peace and quiet and that´s why I say I don´t do that.

Do you use internal communication tools from your employer such as blogs or wikis? Is there something like that?


To communicate with your colleagues... via intranet?

Yes, there´s intranet, I use the intranet.

Why? Because it´s convenient or because you can communicate about job satisfaction?

I don´t know, sometimes it´s just about where to go for lunch (3). We work on two different floors and I always have to go upstairs or sometimes when I cannot reach anyone because I try do everything by phone instead of writing e-mails, that will last too long. All this writing back and forth, I don´t like that too much, sometimes I do that but usually I try to do it fast by phone so that I can solve the matter immediately.

So you don´t like using new media too much where you can show to others: I´ve written so and so many comments...

No, not at all (2).

I´ve reached this and this online status... I´m the king of the thumbs...

No, I also think these online forums are awful (2), where everyone writes what he thinks, I prefer to go to an expert. For me, it´s simply a question of time. I just want everything to work fast and easy. So for example, an expert, when I want to buy something, a voice recorder for example, should it explain that to me because I don´t want to read the manual so long. Well, I´m... my time is much too valuable.

Isn´t this attitude quite conservative?

Probably, yes (3).

So that´s how you are.


OK. One final question: In Germany, there´s a trend that people want to live more and more healthy, with more regard to fitness and to compare with other people when it comes to fitness. What do you think about this trend? Fitness, on the one hand, and a healthy lifestyle with healthy nutrition on the other hand?

Regarding myself or what I think about other people doing this?

First of all in general and later I would like to know about that regarding yourself.

Fitness... (1) I have to agree that there´s a trend because people want to stay fit, I can also observe that in my circle of friends. And nutrition or ecological awareness... or what did you say?

Yes, nutrition, ecological awareness, exactly.


The eco-trend for example...

In my circle of friends, it´s not that much.

And what about you... What do you think about this trend? Do you think – because in the beginning you said that made in Germany is very important to you – is this maybe also the case with eco-products? Since they´re produced more environmental-friendly...

Yes, indeed.

Is this why you consume more of these products and are you willing to pay more for them?

No, I have to admit that when it comes to eco-products in agriculture... I come from a traditional (7) farm and I know how this works and I also know what is done in eco-production. We also have eco-farmers and there´s a lot of mischief. In my opinion, there are lots of intrigues... when I look at factory farming... it´s piggishness (3) what they get for that although it´s very similar to what we do... and... of course when they didn´t use pesticides or so but I also know that eco-farmers are not allowed to bring slurry from traditional farmers to their fields. But those farmers whom I´m talking about do take slurry from traditional farmers who inject penicillin and so on and this is brought to the field. But they sell their products as eco.

Maybe that´s a bad example because you´re an expert at that.

(3) And that´s why... I do pay attention to that, that I don´t use to much current, that, when I go to the supermarket I take my gunnysack (3) and not a plastic bag. I would also be happy if there was a corner shop where I could stop-by and bring my Tupperware container for milk or curd. Back then, in the country, there was a dairy where everything was fresh and I had everything in my tins. Then I could clean them at home and go back again. All this garbage... I found this really great and I wish it could be like that again. And I´m convinced that... this must be possible – because we have this big eco trend.

Maybe you should make your own business with that?

Yes (3). If this doesn´t work here...

If you – you were talking about bags before – how important is this for you what´s written on them?

Not at all! (2)

If you bought a nice perfume at Douglas [17] – how important is it for you to leave Douglas with this bag?

Well, sometimes when I go to Hamburg to work here and I have to take a lot of stuff – then I take a big bag with me, right, and then I pay attention to what is written on it.

So, it shouldn´t be a bag from Aldi [18] .

No, rather not. I rather take one from Douglas or Tchibo[19].

Ok, and why?

I don´t know – Aldi, Tchibo, right? (1) Somehow Tchibo has a different status... I don´t know, it´s... (7)

Because Aldi is low-price, discounter... You don´t want to be placed in that group.

Probably, yes. I do pay attention to that.

So it also has something to do with quality, because you said that you pay attention to that when it comes to food.

Hm, exactly.

And do you also go to Douglas, for example, and do you use perfume?


How important is it for you to get a sample and walk around with a nice Douglas bag?

Mhhh... Just the sample?

Do you think it makes other people envious? All the stuff which is around – the bow, the packing, the bag and then you go outside with the bag?

No, that´s too much. Then I would rather say: give me the sample and...

But the bag is important?

No, I can also put in my handbag. (3)

So that´s not important for you to get this turquoise bag so that you can walk around in Hamburg...

I would rather become upset and think – what rubbish do I have again? (3)


(3) I don´t walk around with my perfume bag.

So for you, the bag is rather something practical...


… also when you go from Lüneburg to Hamburg...

It shouldn´t look to shabby.

… not too shabby. Ok. Maybe one more final question: what do you think about consumers who show their status in public, to show off... Do you think: let them do that or do you think that they are strange? What do you think about that?

Well, I would say – if they need this... (6). In my circle of friends there´s nobody like that, nobody who shows off like that but I think these are not the kind of people I need.

Does this put pressure on you if there´s someone who takes up much space by his boasting?

(1) Hm, does this put pressure on me?

There must be a reason why your attitude towards that is rather negative...

No, my attitude is not negative (1). If you know, you achieved all that on your own, then this is great and then you can show that, right?

Ok, so those millionaires in Monaco with their yachts and their daily champagne parties...

I think that´s too much.

But if they worked hard for that by being busy for so long...

Then, that´s legitimate, but I always think it´s better to stay on the ground... and I don´t know, maybe that´s my eco way of thinking, is that necessary? Of course, I like to have a nice holiday sometimes but there are so many things that are useless...

Does this put pressure on you when you see that other people are successful, having parties, being able to afford that? Or don´t you pay attention to that at all?

No, not at all. (2)

Ok, then thank you very much for the interview and the time you took for that.

You´re welcome.

and have a nice evening.


(1) hesitating

(2) determined

(3) laughing

(4) gasping

(5) short break

(6) long break

(7) stumbling

(8) mumbling

(9) sighing

Interview 3

illustration not visible in this excerpt



First of all, I would like to know how you define the concept of status for yourself?

(1) That´s difficult to answer for me right now... The questions that you asked... I don´t know what status you mean.

Do you have a special definition of status? Is status for you if, for example, you have the feeling to be better than someone in a certain area? Do you define this through material things such as a nice car?

No, certainly not (2). It´s rather your inner values, to be satisfied with yourself and of course to achieve a position through that since status is also something exterior, material values can only be achieved if you have your inner values, if you aspire for that and if you have an education. For me, these things are relevant.

What kind of immaterial values do you think about? Immaterial values?

Yes. Immaterial that´s also education, your graduation and... your manners in general, how you behave... your manners, yes.

How did you try to achieve status for yourself through education?

(1)... Well, in my case that´s different, it´s always different if you focus on family, that´s different than when you are a single. And if you have a family, status is limited to this small circle. You aspire for having some position, to be a honorable person but it´s... (1) as I said, material things are important but not the most important for me.

Hm. How do you try to... How many children do you have?


How important is their education for you?

Very important. (2)

Do you also try to benefit from their education? So that you can say: oh my daughter has finished her studies...

No, I don´t show off with that.

… and this may also have advantages for me.

No, no (2). Not at all. Advantages in the sense that I´m proud of them but I don´t benefit from that. Because I think everyone has his own life, the parents are responsible for... because this is what they can give to their children: education. Money can be earned by anyone – of course it´s not wrong if you inherit it. But I think young people should be given the opportunity to prove themselves.

Yes. How did you decide to have two children? Was it important for you to educate them as best as you can, accepting that you don´t have so many children... or...

I was raised an only child and that´s why... I did not finish my studies due to this coincidence, because I expected my daughter. I was not able to finish my studies, my husband did, he´s a business economist, and that´s why it was difficult to continue my studies. (1). It took some time, my daughter was seven until we decided to have a second child. Because we thought: one day the parents will pass away and then the siblings will support each other. But it was very important that they... More children? No way! (2). No! (3)

But you took this decision...

… consciously. Not my daughter, that was a coincidence, but the second child was a conscious decision, it really was. A well-conceived decision.

Ok. How did your perception of status change throughout your life? Did this change at all? Did you look at this differently when you were younger?

Well, (1), actually not because you have your experience and you think you can achieve

(5 min.) this and that with money but I know lots of people who have a certain position and who are wealthy but somehow they are not happy. Happy in the sense of being satisfied with yourself.

As a teenager, as a young person – didn´t you have a circle of friends, a group of people to whom you belonged, where it was important to have the most beautiful dress, the best label, the most expensive dress?

No. No, no (2).

That wasn´t important for you.

We´ve been part of these circles, and I was one of those persons who actually (1)... Yes, of course, you dress and you pose as... But not to the environment but for yourself! (2) You need to feel comfortable with that. And what does it give to me if I wear those expensive things when I´m not satisfied with myself?

So it doesn´t give you anything if, for example, you´ve got a Gucci bag and you can see the logo?

No! (2)

That´s not important to you at all.

No (2).

Because sometimes you can see those bags from Louis Vuitton in the street...

Right. But not for me.

But that´s not important for you.

No, not for me.

Do you sometimes buy...

Yes, of course. (2)

... things and spend more money than you can afford?

I can afford many things.

But... The more you can afford the more it becomes a habit.

Then you become addicted to it No, then I try to control myself.

So you don´t try to buy more than your friends to eventually say: I´ve got something that´s better...

No, no way. (2)

Ok, I´ve seen that you´ve got an iPhone – how come? Why do you have an iPhone?

Because that´s useful.

But In order to make cell phone calls you can also buy a cell phone for 20, 30 euros.

Yes, but why not? Why can´t I have this little toy? I like it.


That´s what it is! (2). It´s not for the public but for me.

So it´s not that you show the phone...

No, I put the phone into this bag... So nobody can see it.

I see... What did you cause to spend so much money for a cell phone?

That´s not much money, not much money at all. That´s a certain contract, it costs 50 euros per month that´s not (7)...

So you did that for the long run.

Exactly! (2). But even if you spend 600 euros at once... It´s not that I´m poor.


I´ve got a bit... But...

But for you, it´s not important to show it.

No, if I could afford it and if I had a bit more money, I would have bought an Aston Martin.

Ok, why?

Because it´s a great car! I used to have a Z4[20], I was very pleased because I like driving fast... But not for the public – that´s it! I don´t have to show off with that.


I just like that.

So this gives you inner satisfaction.

Inner satisfaction? No! (2) It´s not that.

Does it make you proud, happy? What´s the reason for that?

It´s fun.

Just fun – for so much money, ok.


Ok, but the feeling to be unique – since an Aston Martin is a pretty unique car which is not driven by many people...

That´s superficial.


Right. That´s my attitude. As I said, during the last time, the last ten years I got to know various people and there are so many superficial people, there are lots of them.

And with disregard to that, do you think that some people could feel envious towards you?

I don´t care about that. I don´t feel envious towards anyone. In my opinion you should aspire for the things you would like to have and that´s it for me, the status. But not for all those other people, like I´m like that and I have... but for yourself.


If you... that´s ambition...

So, it´s ok to be ambitious so that you can afford more and more...

Yes, but for yourself and of course for the people you are close to. But not in order to show that to other people – yes that´s me, and I´m like that and that... I´ve got it.

But if 90% of the people, so most of them, drove a car that is much better than an Aston Martin, would this have the same significance for you or, if the car, let´s say, would be like a Trabbi compared to this car or compared to what´s on the market?

I wouldn´t have bought a Trabbi[21]. (3)

Yes but I mean when it comes to the performance, when a car usually costs 200,000 euros and you buy a car for...

I see. I´m talking about the shape. For example, I would have bought a Jaguar or a BMW 6. It´s just the shape. An A5. That´s the category. I wouldn´t have bought an A8. Really, there are some cars which I like and which I would like to drive. For example, there´s one person who has a certain car and I don´t like that car.

So you don´t care about how much the car costs.

No, that´s not important. I sometimes also drive with that because I need to do some things but, really, this is... I like the sound a lot... that´s a bit like those male... (3) But I don´t like the shape.

Ok. So you use the car in order to be more powerful, more powerful to the public...



No (2).


No! (2)

Not at all.

Definitely not.

Have you noticed that among the people you know that someone only uses products because of the status?

Yes, lots of them...

And how did you react to that?

Right, lots of them and there are people... Once, I have to say that, some years ago, when I got to know those people, because I used to be quite isolated when the children were small, but then you start observing the people and then I noticed: this is fascinating, all this showing to other people – I´ve got this and this an this... it impressed me a bit. And then I noticed: those people only show off but in the end, they have nothing. There are so many superficial people who want to compete with other people who´ve got something. They are like parasites on a whale and want to benefit from it. And then they show off: oh, I know him and him and him... But they have no own values. They can´t say: I´m this and this person and I achieved this and that. And that´s sad.

And how did you react to that? Did you turn away from those people...

Yes. (2)

…or did you try to talk to them?

I´ve known these people for quite a long while... But I distanced myself from them again and again... No, these were posh people, pretending that everything´s fine but this is definitely not my world. (2)

So all those camera flashes – that´s nothing for you.


So those people who´ve been to the media because of a bagatelle...

Yes, many people are longing for that, to be next to a celebrity and to be on a picture with him. But no, that´s not my thing. That´s not necessary. If that happened, yes, but I wouldn´t... I wouldn´t become stronger through that.

Do you think that through your experience with the people you knew – did you change through this? Did you learn something through that – did you say: I don´t want to be like that?

No, I´ve always been like that, that´s how I´ve always been (2).

And probably your friends as well.

Yes, they as well. Those people I knew, those other people, I was fascinated in the beginning, I was impressed, definitely, but if you´ve seen what´s behind that, if you looked behind the beautiful facade, you noticed: I don´t want to be in touch with these people.

So you think this experience is necessary to...


… to define yourself and to find the right group of people with whom you feel comfortable.

Definitely. (2). You need to have your experience but it´s very important to... In my opinion, in your youth, you get a lot from your family, the first three or four years form you a lot and values are passed on. And depending on how the child is raised, these values are carried on. It´s not that... you don´t have to live in poverty... It´s that the family passes on something to the young people and these needn´t be material values.

Of course. But anyway, in your opinion you need to have this experience in order to say: I don´t want to live like that and to find out that for yourself. I think people are formed in their first three years, by their values and their education but they need to have that experience...

That´s normal.

…so that they can come to the right conclusion.

Exactly, that´s right.

Well, and... Do you sometimes have the impression that other people consume more than they can afford?

Oh yes, indeed (2).

What do you think about that?


Don´t you care about that at all or do you feel sorry for those people?

Do you mean consuming in the sense that they eat more?

In the sense that they buy things on the nod – they spend more money than they can earn, they use credits...

For me, I don´t know (1)... I think those people don´t have any self-esteem so they need material things in order to feel better, to feel stronger...

Do you think it´s a downward spiral, a consuming spiral in order to compete through consuming? One of them consumes more and then...

Yes, of course. (2) You become addicted to that, it´s an addiction. If you´re not strong enough... and if you get to those circles... One friend does this, the other one as well... They outperform each other. And then that´s like an addiction.

And what do you think – how can one escape from that addiction? Because that´s quite a strong word...

Yes, that´s what it is, for me it is (2).

And, as I understand you, it´s scaring... What do you think the people can do to escape from that addiction? In order to be rational and find the right way for themselves?

Take a sheet and write down what they earn and what they spend (3).

Ok, the economic way.

Yes, of course (3). To stay on the ground.


There´s no other way. Or to ask someone for help.

What do you think about the trend that more and more people tend to buy fake products which do not differ from the original ones – such as fake watches, fake jewelry?

Yes, I see.

That´s nothing for you.

No, I don´t care about that. If someone needs that... (2) So, you mean trademark protection?


If someone needs that, then he should buy it. And if the producers, the bootleggers, offer this – why not?

Do you think that people want to make themselves better than they are – in the material sense?

Yes, definitely. The people who buy that... because... depending on what they buy this for... If they want to have a fake Rolex because it´s golden or it shines golden and they show off with that... Well, for me these people are... (1), well I don´t think so much of them.

So if I would bring you such a watch, a fake Rolex – would you wear it?

No, because, first of all, I don´t like any watches...

And if I would bring you a bag?

(3). If so – a bag... which I like (2) – I must like it but it doesn´t have to be a label. It just has to please me and then I´ll take it.

Ok, but you don´t use that in order to stick out from other people by saying: hey, I can afford a bag from Louis Vuitton...

No (2).

Although it´s probably a fake... But nobody can see this...

Of course not.

You wouldn´t spend less money for a fake article if the other people didn´t know that it´s a fake product. You prefer original products...

No (2). I don´t prefer original products. I prefer things I like. Also if these are fakes – but if they really look good and they suit my outfit or certain equipment – then I would buy them, indeed. And if I can have them cheaper than the original ones, then I would take them, of course. (3)

Ok, so you would look at the price and take the things which look the same.

That´s right.

Because for you it´s important how the product looks like and not if you can impress others with that.

That´s right.

So, it doesn´t make you proud to say: look, if got the same bag which looks the same for 200 euros less – that´s not important for you at all?


If someone asked you if the bag is original – what would you say? Would you be honest?


You wouldn´t care about that?

No, of course not (2).

If other people say: hey, the lady buys fake products – you don´t pay attention to that?

No, that´s the same as... My daughter and I have been abroad recently, where we always buy shoes (3). And these shoes are excellent – normal labels, here for this area that´s always a no-name brand, but these shoes are really super, with a red sole... (1), absolutely perfect. My colleagues also said they´re top. Here, I would have to pay maybe 800 euros for shoes like these. And there I paid 60, that´s not a fake, but it´s really a good shoe, an eye-catcher. That´s important for me – even if this is supplementary, something which not everyone has in the street, maybe this is why those labels, the status that not everyone can afford those expensive things, because some people say I: oh, I can afford this and that, I also can have a Louis Vuitton bag for 3,000 or 4,000 euros but this is something which not everyone can afford. And maybe that´s the point!

So is this why they important for you, these eye-catchers?

Yes, of course, it´s important for me to stick out. Because you don´t talk to every person immediately. To stick out in the sense that I create awareness. That´s it maybe.

But then it´s the same with the car you were talking about...

No. I also drive the BMW 3.

So you rather mean the products you wear?

Yes, exactly. That´s it.

Because that´s directly related to myself, yes.

Ok. So for you it´s enough to have a little feature such as a little brooch that is beautiful?

Some little something...

That´s right. Something special...

An eye-catcher, a unique feature...

Yes, something special. For example, I wouldn´t drive an Opel Corsa, no way.

Why not? Because of the prejudices?

I don´t like it. It´s too small and, well... (2) Then you would say... (3)

So the appearance does play a role...

Yes, of course. I wouldn´t... I don´t like it and no (3)... it´s not the right thing for me.


I need something that is better. And back then when I had the Z4, I had fun at the beginning and then I thought: if you´ve had that already and if you had fun with that and then you noticed: many judged you according to this, oh she drives this car, maybe she´s got bucks, why should you pretend being something?

What many people do, especially foreigners who live here in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg[22] and drive a beautiful car... and that´s all they have.

You see. And I, I´ve built a house, I payed it off, I´ve got two cars, I go to work normally, and if, tomorrow, I won 10 million euros I would go to work as well.

But you said that other people talked about you sometimes...

Yes, of course! (2)

How did you react to that?

Not at all. I don´t react to that at all. I just know that they talk about that: why does she have so much money? They talk about that. You´re a topic for them. But I don´t care. Also if I dress well when I go somewhere, the things needn´t be expensive: sometimes I´ve got an outfit for 400 euro, all in all, but it´s combined as if it would cost 2,000 or 3,000 euros. But as I said that´s... I sometimes buy my things at Esprit, it needn´t be Dolce & Gabbana, it needn´t be a dress from Boss, although sometimes I buy that, it depends... My daughter, she used to sit on the plane, to go to the customer, then she needed things that were very elegant because that´s for her job, but also because it´s not rumpled because if she sits there and goes to the customer – how will this look like? That´s why you also pay attention to that.

So you were talking about different manufacturers – but you wouldn´t go to H&M, would you?

(1) Hmm... To buy a t-shirt, yes.

Ok, so a t-shirt which you were under something else?

(3) Well, these things are not bad... (1)


For the summer... yes, yes, I´ve also bought that.

And if you go to the point of sale and you get your H&M bag and, in your other hand, you´ve got a bag from, let´s say Gucci...

That doesn´t disturb me.

...that doesn´t disturb you, you wouldn´t put your H&M bag into your bag from Gucci and say: that´s what I bought at Gucci...

No, no. No, no, no (2).

Ok. And if, for example, you walk along outside and you would have the choice between a bag from Aldi, from Lidl or from Rewe[23] – would you care about that or would you pay attention that it´s not a bag from Aldi.

I would pay attention that it´s not a bag from Aldi.


I don´t know... Maybe it´s because of the status (3)... Aldi.

Yes, so you don´t want to be in the same group as those people...

No, not with the people (2).



But you think you´re a bit better than the typical Aldi customer.

When we came here, 22 years ago, I also went to Aldi.

Hm. But you want to show that you achieved something during those 22 years and that you don´t go to Aldi anymore. Or what´s the reason for that?

No, you can still go to Aldi, those products aren´t bad at all. But I don´t have to walk around with an Aldi bag. Well, generally, I don´t like to walk around with those things, with a plastic bag... (6) from the shop. It doesn´t need to be... It´s something else if you buy clothes, they often put the things into a bag but if you buy food... Yes, meanwhile you go buy car and you just put the things into your car. Eh... but if you buy food you take a bag. But, let´s say, if I go somewhere and I don´t have a bag, anything, then I would also take one from Aldi and walk around with that. And I wouldn´t be ashamed. No, no no.

No? Ok.

No, no no. I´ll say that.

Before you don´t take any bag...

No. Yes exactly – because where shall I put the things? Under my arm?

Hm. Do you drink coffee?

Eh... (1) Rarely.

At Starbucks...

Yes, yes, I do that... cappuccino, espresso... yes.

Do you take it with you when you´re there or do you always sit down to the café and drink it there?


How important is it for you to go to Starbucks and probably pay three times or twice as much as in another coffee shop – just to be there?

(6)... That depends... if I just go on my own, and if they were right next to each other, I would also go to Balzac Coffee[24] (1)... it also tastes very well... But to go there especially... Well, if you go together with some people, you just go there to watch. You sit down and drink a coffee but not in order to be seen.

Not to be seen. You can also see that people take a coffee to go...

That´s right.

…and they walk along Spitaler Straße[25] in order to show: I´ve been to Starbucks...

No, no, no no. Yes. No, no. No, I don´t do that, no no.

Ok, but this is supposed to happen. (3). How many daily newspapers do you read?

Well, the daily newspaper... I regularly read Abendblatt[26].

Always Abendblatt. Ok, so you don´t read...

Yes, sometimes Handelsblatt[27], it depends, Die Welt[28]... it depends.

How important is it for you to be seen with that? Do you think this says something about you if you´re seen with that – like: oh, the lady knows a lot about economy?

Well, no... (1) but I would never, for example, sit down in the train and read Bild[29].

Ok, that´s interesting. Why not?

Just because...

If you read the Bild in the train...

I don´t read Bild at all (2)...


But for me, it´s the same as with Aldi. For me Bild is... I don´t know...

Describe it.

(3) I´ll try that... (5). Maybe I sometimes think the same... When I walk by and there´s someone sitting, someone who is dressed well, and is reading Bild... then I would think: what´s that? That doesn´t go together, that´s not appropriate for that person. Ehh... and I don´t want to, although I´m not like that, classified as a Bild reader.

This means, if you sat down in the tram in the evening and if there was a Bild...

Then I would skim it through...

So you would do that?

Yes (3).

But then you would be seen as well...

Yes, but I wouldn´t have bought it...

Yes, but nobody would know that... After the next station, nobody will know if you found it or if you bought it at the kiosk.

Yes, but I know that. I haven´t bought it.

So, you don´t care about what other people think about that?

No (2)! That´s not the case...

Ok, but if they see you on the train, with the Bild opened and the typical headline in front... So you don´t feel insecure in the sense of – what kind of superficial person...?

No. That´s not the case. But I wouldn´t have bought it myself.


But if it was there, I would have skimmed it through.

And the other way round: if you found the Handelsblatt in the train...

Of course.

… and you opened it...

But not just like that but to read it.

Just to read it.

And not to show it.

Ok. So in your case, to return to that example with the Aldi bag, you make a difference, just for your own satisfaction and not to show other people: I don´t want to be classified like that, I´m a bit better – but not for others, just for yourself.

That´s right. I wouldn´t read Bild deliberately and I wouldn´t put my things into an Aldi bag deliberately... (6). If there are some, of course, but not if I had the choice. (2)


[1] The ‘Neuer Wall’ is a famous shopping street with a lot of luxury stores in Hamburg.

[2] Unger is a very expensive German shoe manufacturer.

[3] ‘DIE ZEIT’ is a weekly German newspaper, which is mostly read by older people.

[4] Budnikovsky is a German drugstore

[5] She means the Golf from Volkswagen

[6] A registry for for bone marrow donor

[7] News of the day (‘ZDF’ is the second main television channel in Germany)

[8] Newspaper for the mass market

[9] Lueneburg is a city with about 80,000 habitants 70 km in the South of Hamburg.

[10] Similiar to a high-school.

[11] School that leads to a secondary certificate.

[12] Commercial High School

[13] School leaving examination qualifying for university admission

[14] DAK and AOK are insurance companies

[15] Another insurance company

[16] Professional social network (similiar to linkedin)

[17] Famous perfumery in Germany

[18] Biggest German discounter

[19] Famous German coffee company

[20] A model from BMW

[21] Avery old traditional German car

[22] Wilhelmsburg is a relatively poor area in Hamburg with a bad image (crime, drugs etc.).

[23] While Lidl and Aldi are discounters, Rewe is rather a higher priced supermarket.

[24] A Hamburg coffee shop; direct competitor with Starbucks

[25] A famous shopping street in Hamburg.

[26] Hamburg newspaper

[27] Mainly economic news / well-educated readers

[28] Mass newspaper

[29] Mass newspaper; mainly lower educated people as typical readers


ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Paperback)
1.8 MB
Institution / Hochschule
ESCP Europe Business School - Campus London – Lehrstuhl für Marketing
2011 (Juli)
anhang impacts interdependencies strategies individual increase relative status exploratory study

Titel: ANHANG zu: Impacts of Interdependencies between Strategies on an Individual's Increase in Relative Status - An Exploratory Study