#77: Right-wing arson, therapy waits, Easyjet layoffs
And what we think about a local cafe charging for tapwater
Hey 20 Percent!
Staying hydrated is a key political platform of Millennials and Gen Z so it seems all that much weirder that getting a glass of tapwater in Berlin restaurants is so difficult. The way some waitstaff react you’d think you were asking them to rent you a corner of their Neukölln flatshare.
But a nearby cafe found what seems an OK solution: A small carafe of tapwater costs €0.60. I was at first insulted when the waitperson told my Gen Z daughter of the policy after she asked for tapwater but then I thought: Sure, why not? Despite my constant kvetching about all things German, the last thing I want is more North America in Europe — if I wanted everything to be the same, I wouldn’t have moved. And besides, Germans must occasionally be right — they did create this thing we call Berlin.
Sixty cents doesn’t mean all that much to me and there is infrastructure and service involved with getting my daughter that tapwater. And if it leads to one less eyeroll in a city that prides itself on eyerolls, then it’s a bargain. Maybe extend it to the checkers at Lidl — 60 cents gets you a non-Olympic paced cashier and a counter with room to pack your goods — or the elderly woman who recently berated me when I gave her directions to the U-Bahn. “Finally!” she screamed at me in what sounded like an accusation. Maybe 60 cents would have spawned the “danke” that every other human on the planet would have uttered.
It’s a Friday after a holiday and so I just want the Germans around me to know this: I’m willing to compromise.
And if you’re looking for a laugh, visit our sponsor, Crazy, Stupid, Berlin (more info below).
Have a good weekend!
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, May 27
Received booster: 61.1% (61.1% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 25 (2,184 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,608 (+4 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 202.2 (250.2 Tuesday)
🟡 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 4.3 (6 Tuesday)
🟢Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 3.6% (3.8% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Easy layoffs at Easyjet
Discount flyer Easyjet this week said it would reduce its fleet at BER to 11 from 18 planes for the coming 2022/2023 winter schedule and lay off up to 275 Berlin-based employees to offset weak demand for its flights. Lufthansa’s discount unit Eurowings will supposedly offer jobs to the soon-to-be former Easyjet employees. Union officials say the move isn’t about lower interest in air travel but rather profit — the planes earn more money elsewhere. BER bigwigs are fretting the move because it would mean an estimated 2 million passengers (and €30 million) fewer every year, according to Tagesspiegel, putting a planned return to profitability next year in jeopardy. The company that runs the airport is waiting on €1.7 billion in cash from its three owners — the states of Berlin and Brandenburg as well as the federal government — otherwise it will reportedly have to declare bankruptcy.
Right-wing arson in Neukölln?
A series of arson attacks near the iconic Horseshoe Estate residential development in Neukölln reportedly has residents concerned about a resurrection of right-wing violence. Four cars were damaged in an arson attack late Saturday, the 13th since October 2021. Despite initially denying a political motive, police later handed the case to a unit that specializes in crimes with a political background, according to the Morgenpost. The fear is that the attacks are connected to anti-semitic graffiti that appeared on the home of a Jewish family in the area on November 9, the same day as the Nazis’ 1938 Kristallnacht attacks. Two right-wing extremists are currently facing charges for a series of 70 attacks aimed at left-wing politicians and supporters between 2016 and 2019.
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Wait for shrinks longer than insurers think
People looking for psychotherapy covered by their Krankenkasse must wait a median 12 weeks between an initial meeting and the actual start of therapy, much longer than public health insurer Barmer estimated in a recent study, according to RBB24. Patients often actually wait a median 18 weeks — over four months — for therapy when wait times for initial chats are included. The broadcaster looked at 123 therapist offices around the country, including 54 in Berlin and Brandenburg. The results are problematic. “Anyone who needs therapy can never wait that long,” psychiatrist and University of Kiel professor Arno Deister told RBB24. The situation is supposed to improve: The committee that establishes the number of psychotherapists needed recommended the addition of 2,400 new offices in 2019 but only half have reportedly been opened so far. Hopefully the rest will soon follow.
Berlin is home to 126,300 canines with 118,000 owners, according to Berlin tax officials, up from 111,000 dogs in 2019. The dogs lead to €13.6 million in Hundesteuer (dog tax). Owners have to pony up €120 for the first dog each year and €180 for every other subsequent beast.
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Event recommend: Dating comedy
Finding a partner in Berlin is like looking for a flat: All the nice ones are taken, and the rest are outside the ring. There is one thing to do, laugh about it! Our Comedians shall provide Jokes, Funny Stories and Relationship Advice with the help of the audience.
When: 8pm, May 31
Where: Cassiopeia Sommergarten, Friedrichshain
Tickets: Right here!