Outside, temperatures in Friedberg, in the German state of Hesse, have been hovering around 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) for days.
The city, like most of Europe, has been buckling under unseasonably warm temperatures for weeks. But temperatures in the cold-storage room at Lars Koch’s Edeka supermarket are a cool 6 degrees Celsius.
Last Friday, Koch decided to advertise a rather unusual offer: Customers could pay to spend time in the room. The cost: 3 euros for 2 minutes; or 5 euros for 5 minutes. Those wishing to spend more time can purchase 10 sittings for 20 euros. Hardcore fans could spend 2 minutes in the freezer-room (-20 degrees) for 5 euros.
When word of Koch’s offer started to get out, many on social media thought it was a gimmick. When Koch was asked by Germany’s Spiegel magazine if the offer was a joke, he replied: “Well, let’s say it is a serious bit of fun. A few crazies have actually taken me up on it.” Though, he said, so far no one had actually spent time in the freezer.
Asked about the logistics of allowing sweaty citizens to cool off in lounge chairs set up in a room intended to store perishables, Koch said he tried to keep the room free for half-an-hour around lunch time, when most customers dropped in. After they leave, Koch and his team disinfect the room and move the food back in.
Asked about what he plans to do with profits generated by the steep rental rate, Koch replied: “We haven’t made all that much, maybe about 20 euros. So far, what we have earned has been invested in cleaning materials for the space.”
Although, Germany’s current heatwave is expected to ebb over the next few days, temperatures are set to rise again next week, so Koch may yet have the opportunity to make a few extra euros before the summer is over.