From sausages to spray paint, beauty is in the eye of the beholder

This column published as "Works of Art" in November/December 2020 issue

David Matthews / November 11, 2020 / 3 minute read
David Matthews

When you think of Volkswagen, names like Golf, Jetta, and Beetle come to mind, but their best-selling product is actually their wurst.

Currywurst, that is. 

Volkswagen has been making the curry-flavored bratwurst sausages at its German headquarters for 47 years, and lately they’ve been selling more links than cars. 

At the 70 million sq ft VW facility in Wolfsburg, a team of 30 butchers produces 18,000 sausages per day (compared to 17,000 vehicles sales each day.)

About 40% of those sausages are consumed by Volkswagen employees at restaurants within their six German factories.

While the currywurst is most commonly served in links or chopped into bite-size slices drenched in ketchup, Volkswagen has also produced variations for its workers like currywurst burgers and currywurst pizza, as well as a vegetarian version.

The rest of VW’s sausage is sold through a major supermarket chain in Germany. Thanks to the popularity of its secret spice blend (only a few people within Volkswagen know the exact details), a package of five sausages and a bottle of Volkswagen spiced ketchup sells for around $12.

Unfortunately, you won’t find VW currywurst at any grocery store on this side of the Atlantic due to federal regulations—Volkswagen is not included on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s list of German companies authorized to export processed pork products to America. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to fly to Germany to sample what VW calls “the Bentley of currywurst.” Just get a job at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the only American facility authorized to produce official VW currywurst for its 2,400 workers. 

Street art

A British construction worker is using art to get his local government to deal with potholes.

After getting nowhere trying to get potholes repaired in his hometown of Ramsbottom, the man took to the streets and began spray-painting poignant works of political and social commentary. 

Wait, no, that’s Banksy, the world-famous street artist whose works sell for millions of dollars. 

The construction worker in Ramsbottom calls himself Wanksy and paints crude penis shapes around potholes in the hopes of motivating his town to repair them.

His work may be cruder than Banksy’s elaborate murals, but it’s effecting change in its own way. 

The self-described “road artist” posted a photo of a repaired pothole on Facebook with the caption “Been there 8 months at least. A bit of art and they are filled in 48 hours.”

Wanksy brushes off concern that some may find his work to be obscene. 

“I’ve yet to meet someone who’s offended by it,” he told Bloomberg.com. “They’re more offended by hitting the pothole, to be honest. [...] I think that’s a worse problem than comedy penises.”

Rude Awakening

Speaking of d*cks on the road, a new study has identified which states have the rudest drivers.

Data scientists at Insurify, an insurance quotes comparison website, reviewed the driving history of the 2.5 million applicants in its database, flagging infractions for what they considered to be the most extreme forms of rude driving behavior: failure to yield, failure to stop, improper backing, passing where prohibited, tailgating, street racing, and hit-and-runs. 

Then they looked at the proportion of drivers in each state with one or more of these violations. 

Based on this criteria, the national average for rude drivers was 30 per 1,000 drivers.

The states with the highest percentage of rude drivers are Georgia, New York, Wyoming, Idaho, and, rudest of all, Virginia, where 49 out of every 1,000 motorists has been cited for rude driving.  

On the flip side, drivers in Vermont, Mississippi, and Kentucky (Virginia’s neighbor) were found to be the politest. 

Researchers are interested in learning more about Virginia drivers, particularly why they’re so angry and why they’re always talking about hokies. 

About the Author

Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news since 2000. The stories are all true.

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