ANYONE who believes the national stereotype of the Germans as humourless might like to ponder the following Teutonic rib-tickler: How did the Grand Canyon originate? Answer: A Scottish tourist lost a 50-cent piece.I understand why this sort of thing annoys many folk (as detailed in the article), but on balance I agree with this observation:
This, and dozens of jokes like it, is popular in Germany, where the stereotype of the tight-fisted Scot is alive and well.
As well as provoking mirth, the alleged meanness of Scots is also a powerful marketing tool. The phrase Schottenpreis - literally ‘Scotsman’s price’ - is used in countless adverts to persuade German consumers that something is dirt cheap.
Ted Cowan, professor of Scottish history at Glasgow University, said the Scots should live and let live. "I think that of all people, the Scots should know how to have a sense of humour. There are worse things which can be said about people than that they are rather too careful with money."We should take advantage of this image. Shouldn't Scottish financial institutions be proclaiming our reputation for financial prudence in their advertising campaigns and try to expand in the German market?
Better still, why don't we slash Scottish government expenditure and encourage German firms to move here to enjoy a "Schottentax"?