green and sustainable business

Sunday feeling: German brothel goes green

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BerlinbrothelIn this particular business it’s all about sustainability and energy reserves, more than most others.

A bordello in a Berlin red-light district is going green, largely out of economic necessity, a sign of our flagging economic times.

The country’s flaccid sex-for hire industry could learn  a lesson from the Maison d’Envie, or House of Desire, which is offering discounts to customers who bicycle their way to to the brothel’s door.

“It’s very difficult to find parking around here, and this option is better for our environment,” says Regina Goetz in an AFP report, a former prostitute who with husband Thomas owns and operates the brothel.

The global economic crisis has slashed the Goetz’ turnover by about one-half in the last year, but the green discount program is proving successful. Under the eco-discount program, 15 minutes in the brothel costs 25 euros ($37) rather than 30 euros ($45). To get the discount clients who come by bike must show their helmet or their padlock key. Those using the bus can show their ticket or monthly pass. They haven’t come up with a way to extend the discount to walkers, however.

Local residents in Prenzlauer Berg — a part of former East Berlin that is now home to many trendy boutiques, restaurants and clubs — staunchly supported the Green party in recent elections and have welcomed the bordello’s offer to emphasize the environment.

Quoted in an AFP report, Goetz says the brothel is a “business like any other. In these tight times, we are cutting costs. We’ve binned the tax advisor, reduced the hours of the cleaning lady, and I only buy low-cost cleaning products.”

Indeed, prostitution is big, and legal, business in Germany with some 400,000 workers, working like Trojans.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)  Brothels and prostitutes must be registered like normal businesses or it’s considered tax evasion. In general, police officers are not interested in the clients but if you’re game you must have a photo ID, such as a copy of your passport, with you.

It’s definitely a business with ups and downs, especially in dysfunctioning economic times. The House of Desire’s eco-discount is a win-win incentive all around: biking to a favorite sex spot is great foreplay if done correctly, it helps the environment by reducing certain noxious emissions, and saves gas, meaning more money and energy available for, well, you know.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

1 November, 2009 at 2:41 pm

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