Oktoberfest Dublin – the scam

A friend invited me for a midweek beverage. This would be a rare Tuesday night excursion for me. However seeing as the location was in George’s Dock in the IFSC, close to my house I had no excuse.

Running for a fortnight at the end of September, is the German festival of Oktoberfest. This was our destination.

I’ve never been to the German version – although I am aware that it is massive beer festival originating in Munich in Germany, where the German delicacies of beer and bratwurst and lederhosen are celebrated. People drink massive steiners of beer served by comely farm wenches. Or something.

I have attended in Brusssels however – this party has become an international event celebrated the world over.

I walked through the marketplace outside the entrance – hot dogs and currywurst and sweets, all on display and emitting a pleasing smell. We sat at a table outside a bar in the old CHQ building – we had decided against going into the main tent on the dock –  as we were only out for a brief time we wanted to be able to hear each other talk. Shortly after arriving, we were approached by security, to tell us that if we wished to stay in the vicinity we’d have to enter the main space. The outdoor bar area was closing.

Morosely we moved. We entered George’s Dock – which is also used for the yearly Christmas market and Chinese New Year. Inside were the expected long benches, and sawdust, stalls, bars and loud schlager music.

In the performance space onstage, were a pair of drag queens dressed in Heidi outfits miming to a Barbra Streisand number. Apparently it was Pink Tuesday at Oktoberfest – an attempt to lure gay people to attend, to bump up the numbers on the graveyard evening of the week I guess. Nothing says acceptance more than an evening celebrating your community, outdoors, on the weeknight that everyone stays indoors.

Every expense spared in terms of the talent onstage also. Now Davina Devine and Dolly Grip, are doubtless lovely people, but they are not massively talented as performers. Unless you regard the art of lip-syncing as high art perhaps?

A paycheque is a paycheque, I suppose.

I approached the bar and asked for a beer, in a pint sized steiner.

‘That will be €11.50,’ said the barman.

‘You what?’ said I. Utterly horrified.

I know Dublin is a rip off but this was sinking to new depths of extortion.

‘Yes. It is €6.50 for the pint, and a €5 euro deposit for the glass, redeemable if you return it with this plastic token on departure,’ he said.

I forked over that enormous amount of money (the beer by itself is overpriced, never mind the glass deposit), with a feeling of resentment.

To be handed a plastic token, and a plastic beer glass.

I looked around in confusion. A fiver deposit for a plastic glass? Surely some mistake? Oh no. Looking around me I notice that all beverages were being imbibed from plastic glasses.

I understand that for safety reasons, real glass might be dangerous. But a fiver for plastic? That’s outrageous, considering it’s worth about twenty cents maximum.

I’ve been to events where a €2 euro deposit is required for a plastic glass, repayable when you return it. It’s a good idea – the glasses will be recycled, and litter will be reduced.

But this Oktoberfest deposit seems like a shakedown of the attendees.

Let’s ignore the fact that beer is overpriced – I suppose they charge what they can get away with.

But to have to pay a five euro deposit for a plastic glass and token, when you can’t retrieve your fiver until you return both simultaneously (those tokens are small and easy to lose remember)  seems to be designed as a rip-off.

If you lose your token, and decide to leave with the plastic glass that you’ve already paid for in full, via your deposit, then it will repossessed by the security guards who search your bags as you leave the event.

As if it was made from cut glass crystal

That’s a new one – to be searched on departure. Just to up the air of mistrust?

We finished our drink, as the token burned a hole in my pocket.

We left.

The whole design of this smelled odd – it felt like a scam on the part of Oktoberfest Dublin, to steal money from attendees.

If it looks and smells like a scam, then it more than likely is a scam.

Oktoberfest runs until Sunday. You should go, if you are in the mood to be fleeced by a shower of grifters.

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