Thursday, October 16, 2014

Essen: Drink and be merry

Prost! If you'll clean our room for us;
A project is underway in Essen in which alcoholics are paid in beer to clean up the city's streets.
And Deutsche Welle had no trouble finding out how it's going;
"I'm not doing this just for the beer,” Jürgen said. "I can find beer on my own. I can get drunk anytime I want. This is something that allows me to help the people around me, and it gives me a chance to give back to my city."
 Not that everyone agrees;
Simone said she'd been here in Essen for the past 18 years, a period in which the "drinking and drug scene" around the main station has steadily grown.
"People that hang out here are addicts, but it's not only alcohol. Many of us are junkies. Heroin, cocaine, crystal [methamphetamine], you name it, you'll find people here that use it," Simone said, adding that alcohol abuse among drug users at the Essen station was a kind of common denominator.
She doesn't, however, approve of the new project.
"I don't have a job because I don't want one, and I doubt that anybody would want to hire me in my current state. But am I going to take part in a charity scheme that pays me one euro [an hour] to make a fool of myself? I can get more money begging in 10 minutes. And, quite honestly, a beer costs 25 cents here. Am I going to sweep the streets for three beers? No chance."
 It's Die Opportunitätskosten, dumm Kopf!

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