Being an Oktoberfest waiter

By | October 1, 2011

I have sadly never visited the Oktoberfest, and it seems that the longer I stay in Germany the more difficult it is to find any of my Berliner friends who thinks it is worth visiting. Something about it being too touristy and the beer being ridiculously overpriced. Plus there is some distance between Munich and Berlin.

Anyway, in case you wonder what it is like to be a waiter at the Oktoberfest:

To be a waiter is probably the most arduous job at the Oktoberfest. A typical day starts at 8 in the morning and ends at midnight – a sixteen-hour shift. One person has to be able to stem around 10 steins (traditional beer mugs) on average at once, which is equivalent to over 20 kilos of beer. Nevertheless, Harry Maas, a waiter in one of the 35 tents, finds a joy in serving people. “I have always loved working at the Oktoberfest. I work as a waiter full-time so I love to serve people and especially the atmosphere here is exceptional. You meet all different kinds of people which is the most enjoyable part about it.” However, Mr. Maas is quick to address the myth evolving around his wage. Rumors that waiters at the festival earn more than 10,000 Euros at the Oktoberfest are patently false and way too overdrawn. “One would never be able to earn that much”, he says. The money earned would at best suffice for two months, but there is no chance that people are able to live off of their earnings from the Oktoberfest alone. As Mr. Maas points out, it is not the money that he works for but the special experience. For him, there is nothing better than his current job and the anticipation of working another five years at the Oktoberfest.

That is one of the less serious pieces on Fair Observer, a new commentary and analysis site that ‘seeks to bring clarity to the complex and dynamic world we live in,’ and aims ‘to provide a platform for voices from different disciplines, various philosophies and many parts of the world’. They’re actually still in beta mode, but they’re doing a nice job already. You should check them out.

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