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When leaving a small shop in Germany, the storekeeper said “bitte sehen” to me as I was leaving.

  1. What does this mean?
  2. What would an appropriate response be? Could I reply by repeating “bitte sehen”?
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  • 8
    Are you sure he didn't say (Auf) "Wiedersehen"? If so, that's an appropriate greeting (See you again), and "Auf Wiedersehen" an appropriate reply.
    – Ingmar
    Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 12:53
  • That would make a lot of sense, and would explain why google turned up zero results for "bitte sehen". It's quite likely that she said "Wiedersehen" and I misheard. I'll accept that as the correct answer if "bitte sehen" has no meaning in this context (or at all).
    – apolune
    Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 13:04
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    The question resulted from a misunderstanding, which is off-topic imho.
    – user6191
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 1:32
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    @Grantwalzer: Resulting from a misunderstanding/question does not make the question off-topic per se (at least in my opinion – the respective meta question is only about typos anyway). In particular, if the misunderstanding causing the question is of general interest (as for example it is about a common phrase like this question), I do not think we should close it. Compare for example to the many questions we have originating from a grammatical misconception.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 10:47
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    @Grantwalzer In defense of my question, I spent a while on google looking at all phrases starting with "bitte", and I did not come across the one I thought I had heard. Additionally, I knew that literally "bitten sehen" means something like "please see", but that didn't fit the situation. Within a few minutes of posting my question on here, I received the correct answer ("Auf Wiedersehen"). In my mind, this stackexchange served it purpose perfectly: it helped me determine what it was I had heard.
    – apolune
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 15:14

5 Answers 5

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As mentioned in a comment above, I think the shop-keeper acctually said "(Auf) Wiedersehen"? That's an appropriate farewell (See you again), and "Auf Wiedersehen" an appropriate reply.

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  • To note, I have since determined that people are also saying "Wiederschauen". This is used in Bavaria as an alternative to "Wiedersehen".
    – apolune
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 15:16
  • The same is true for Austria.
    – Ingmar
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 16:37
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Most likely he said "bitteschön". Depending on the context this can have two meanings:

  1. "You're welcome" as an reply to "Danke." In this case you aren't expected to answer.
  2. "Here you are" when he opens the door for you or gives something. In this case you reply "Danke.".
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    Or "bitte sehr". I can imagine that the word ending -r and -en are misunderstood; but I cannot (so easily) imagine that a starting sch- is mistaken for a s-.
    – Chris
    Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 18:00
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Actually, what the shop keeper probably said was "Bitte sehr", which is simply another way to say "You're quite welcome" or "Here you are" as Florian mentioned. This does not necessarily require you to prompt him by saying "Danke".

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    He would not have said that "as the customer was leaving", though.
    – Ingmar
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 10:52
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What he meant was please come again bitte schön.

I was in Germany for 2 years. When you go into a restaurant, they will say bitte like please and you say danke and then when you're leaving you say Danke and they say bitte.

It all makes sense when you're there.

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Bitte is please and also you’re welcome.

Sehen as you spelt it was short for Wiedersehen.

I’ve noticed here in Austria they sometimes put words together.

So the shopkeeper was saying “You’re welcome and goodbye” in one word.

Just nod, smile and wave casually to acknowledge him.

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