The oldest profession is succumbing to the new economic reality, it seems. As the global economy continues to suffer shrinkage, prostitutes in Germany see their livelihood dangling precariously and are taking unusual actions to combat their flaccid sales.
Enter a new age of costumer service in Germany's legal prostitution industry. Gone are the days when you paid full price for, erm, full service. Customers are demanding more for their hard-earned money, and the country's prostitutes are having to relent. Enter everything from customer rewards cards to shuttle service to flat-rate fees - one club introduced a a 70-euro admission for unlimited food, drink and sex between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
That's about $93 to leave with a full stomach and a real sense of accomplishment. Or as the club marketing puts it:
"Our offer might sound like it's too good to be true, but it's real. You can eat as much as you want, drink as much as you want and have as much sex as you want."
These are hard realities for the Germany's 400,000 or so legal sex workers who toil in an $18 billion industry.
"Times are tough for us too," said Karin Ahrens, who manages the "Yes, Sir" brothel in Hanover, in a Reuters interview. Ahrens said revenue had dropped by 30 percent at her establishment and "We're definitely feeling the crisis. Clients are being tight with their money. They're afraid. You can't charge for the extras any more and there is pressure to cut prices. Everyone wants a deal. Special promotions are essential these days."
It's a worry for local economies, too, who expect to reap tax booty from the country's working girls - and a few boys, too.
But you have to wonder, if prostitute's are unable to make ends meet and are forced to whip out the marketing push just to get Johns' butts in the sex slings, what other formerly slam-dunk industries are next to jump on the desperation train?
Gift cards and free giveaways for every 10th bus ride?
Politicians that make campaign promises, then actually follow through?
A guaranteed number on every lottery scratch ticket?
One thing's for sure - this meltdown gives a whole new meaning to the Hot Girls signs blinking away in neon across Germany's cities and towns.